Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
“In many ways it helped me get back to my roots, to bat like I used to when I was a schoolboy, for the sheer love of playing attacking shots and expressing myself with full freedom”
Sri Lanka batsman Mahela Jayawardene has revealed that he will follow in Kumar Sangakkara’s footsteps and announce his retirement from Twenty20 Internationals following the conclusion of the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
“The rationale behind retirement is pretty much the same as Sanga’s,” Jayawardene told Wisden India. “When it is clear that I can’t see myself playing in the next ICC World T20, there wasn’t much point in me occupying a spot. It makes more sense for a youngster to come into the mix and establish himself.
“While I enjoy all formats of the game, and Test cricket is certainly the pinnacle for any player, the journey in Twenty20 cricket has been fascinating. In many ways it helped me get back to my roots, to bat like I used to when I was a schoolboy, for the sheer love of playing attacking shots and expressing myself with full freedom.”
Jayawardene has represented Sri Lanka in 49 Twenty20 Internationals and is the country’s top-scorer in the format with 1,335 runs at an average of 31.78 and a strike rate of 134.17.
After having lost twice in the final of the World Twenty20, Jayawardene is hoping Sri Lanka can beat the odds and return home with the trophy this year, just like they did when they won the International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup in 1996.
“That was a big day for Sri Lankan cricket and no one at home will ever forget it,” he said. “Every year we look back on that date with joy.
“Hopefully we can do something special here in this tournament as well. We always come into big tournaments such as this one with a view to showing the world what Sri Lanka is capable of. We take great pride in our performances and it’s no different here in Bangladesh.”