Cricket News

INTERVIEW-Cricket-Jayasuriya wants focus to stay on his batting

MUMBAI, India, June 6 (Reuters) - Explosive Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jayasuriya is determined to keep the focus on his performances rather than age after earning a surprise one-day recall for this month’s Asia Cup in Pakistan.

Jayasuriya, who turns 39 on June 30, retired from tests in December.

He appeared to have played his last game for Sri Lanka after he was dropped for the one-day series in West Indies in April having failed to score a fifty in his previous 20 innings.

National selectors, however, recalled the former captain, rewarding him for his impressive performances in an Indian Twenty20 league last month.

“I realise I still have cricket left in me, but the thing is to perform,” Jayasuriya told Reuters in an interview.

“When you perform, age does not come into question.”

He added: “I accept I did not play well during the last six months. Getting 30s and 40s wasn’t helping the team (and) they dropped me, which was quite alright.”

Jayasuriya, the second most capped one-day player with 411 appearances, quit the national team in 2006 because of differences between the board and the selectors, but was persuaded to return.

The left-hander retired from tests in December after playing 110 matches but said he continued to find limited overs cricket challenging.

“I proved them (detractors) wrong, playing good cricket when I came back again,” he said. “Then I decided during the (2007) England test series that I should retire and make way. I’m happy I did that on my own terms.”

One of only seven batsmen to have surpassed 10,000 one-day runs, he marked his previous comeback by aggregating 467 runs at the 2007 one-day World Cup in West Indies to guide Sri Lanka to the final, where they lost to Australia.

A key member of the victorious 1996 Cup team, Jayasuriya can equal Pakistan batsman Javed Miandad’s record of six World Cup appearances if he plays in the 2011 edition to be staged in the sub-continent.

“I am not thinking that far as yet,” he said. “At the moment I am taking it series by series and let’s see how it goes.

“You need a lot more training and dedication when you come to this stage,” he added. “I’m working hard, I’ll see what I do in the next few series and see how it goes.

“I need to keep my performance high all the time.

“When you are 38-39, you need to perform on all the tours, otherwise age will be spoken as a factor.” (Editing by Martin Petty)