Jayasuriya has promised to be fair and unbiased when selecting the national team
Former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya, who was recently appointed as the country’s new chief selector, has announced that fair selection will top his list of priorities.
Jayasuriya also spoke of the importance of having experienced veterans in the squad after weeks of speculation that ex-skipper Mahela Jayawardene may have been cut from the side after his heated dispute with the national selectors last month.
Another rumour revolving around wicketkeeper batsman Kumar Sangakkara, who is currently nursing a broken hand, stated that he would be dropped from the limited overs side, but Jayasuriya has assured everyone that he will not be prejudiced or biased in any way when making his choices for the national team.
Jayawardene had recently expressed his infuriation towards the media after a confidential letter to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) was leaked and printed by the Daily Mirror.
Jayawardene immediately wrote a letter to the Daily Mirror and was forced to defend and clarify the comments in his letter, especially where it noted that he had “lost all confidence in dealing with SLC”.
The SLC recently issued a statement, which revealed that Jayawardene’s letter would be reviewed by the board’s executive committee, but as of today there has still been no action taken.
Meanwhile, Jayasuriya continues to insist that the selection committee will not be swayed by past disagreements or politics and will look to only do what is best for the future of Sri Lankan cricket.
“I’ve already said that we need the senior cricketers in the set up,” he said. “Without senior players, it’s very difficult for the youngsters to go forward. As a selection panel, we haven’t had discussions yet, but the seniors have a role to play.
“We haven’t been appointed to cut Mahela or Sangakkara from the team, we’re here to make good selections. It’s good to introduce one or two youngsters in the team, but you can’t make big changes at once. We will work step-by-step with the seniors.”
Jayasuriya, along with Hashan Tillakaratne and Pramodya Wickramasinghe, both of whom have been given full-time selector roles, will closely monitor Sri Lanka’s club cricket league in order to unearth any talented players.
“What we expect from the full time selectors is that they play close attention to every match, with specific objectives in mind,” Jayasuriya said. “Maybe one of them will focus on Under-19 cricket and the A team, and the other will work closely with the national team and be there at training. The remaining members will also have specific roles, and we will be watching club cricket and will be informed about under-19 cricket as well.”
He also hinted at the possibility of sending a letter to all the clubs in the country to send their top six players to Colombo for a two-day training camp, which will then help the national selectors pick out potential future superstars.
“There might be cricketers in those clubs that are good enough to play for Sri Lanka, but they have been missed,” Jayasuriya added. “If we have a two-day period when we can observe them, we will have a good idea of who the talented players are. We can even form a database, and if someone starts doing well at club level, we already have an idea of how good they are.”
As of right now, Jayasuriya and the rest of the selection panel will be looking to find someone capable of taking over the ODI and Test captaincy, which was vacated by Jayawardene after the national team’s recently concluded tour of Australia.
Jayasuriya refused to comment on whether he favoured having a split captaincy and nor would he reveal any of the candidates SLC had in mind to take control of the reigns.
“There are a few names, but we haven’t discussed anything yet, and we haven’t talked about any captaincy issues,” he said. “There has been a lot of media speculation about what we have been discussing or who we will appoint, but there’s nothing like that. That’s a decision that needs to be thought out carefully and discussed a lot.”
The panel will also be responsible for naming Sri Lanka’s Test squad for their home series against Bangladesh, which is scheduled to begin on March 9.