‘I Feel Very Let Down’ – Jayasuriya
Chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya has expressed deep disappointment at not having been told Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene’s plans before the players announced their Twenty20 international retirements to media. Sangakkara had told Sunday Island he would quit T20 internationals in a one-on-one interview just before departing for the World T20, while Jayawardene announced his retirement via the ICC’s Twitter Mirror campaign, after the team touched down in Bangladesh.
“I feel very let down by them,” Jayasuriya said. “I’ve been very transparent with them. If they’re even resting, I’ve been calling them and telling them what’s going on. I never ever dealt controversially with any senior player.”
Jayasuriya suggested he was particularly irked at learning the news second-hand, because he had respected the value Sangakkara and Jayawardene had added to the team. This, despite fears he would seek to omit the pair in retaliation for their supposedly having hastened his own retirement.
“When I became a selector there were a lot of stories and comments in the media, that we were going to do this and that, but we didn’t do anything of that sort,” he said. “I’ve always handled the seniors in a different way. Whatever respect should be given to that senior player has been given, as a selection panel.”
Jayasuriya had been more scathing in comments, labeling Sangakkara and Jayawardene’s actions “highly unethical”. “They should have had the common decency to inform the selectors who could then prepare Sri Lanka for the next phase,” he said. “Traditionally any international player takes an important decision such as retirement after consulting the selectors first. This shows they are ungrateful for what they got through playing for the country.”
The players had been locked in a tense standoff with SLC over player pay in the week prior to their departure for the tournament, but Jayasuriya had largely been sympathetic to the players’ concerns during the saga. “Whatever issue they had with Sri Lanka Cricket – that’s a different story,” Jayasuriya told ESPNcricinfo, “and I don’t want to bring that into it. But as a selection committee, they have never had any problems with us. If they wanted to do anything, they should have consulted us.
“They might say that they would have told me. But the players are always dealing by writing letters to the board and anyone else, but they have not given me a letter. I can’t remember at all them mentioning anything like that.”
Jayawardene spoke out via Twitter on Tuesday evening, ostensibly responding to the Daily Mirror story with: “I’m really sad & disappointed to hear what’s been in the papers back home. Why do people go out of their way to make things harder for us??”
Neither Sangakkara nor Jayawardene had given specific details of their T20 retirements before Sunday, but both had publically suggested they would wind down their international careers over the next 18 months. Although Sri Lanka’s approach to the tournament has been characterised by off-field strife, the team achieved a polished victory over India in their first warm-up match on Monday.