Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Veteran Sri Lanka spinner Rangana Herath has revealed that he will consider hanging up his boots after the 2016 World Twenty20 in India.
Herath, who will turn 38 during the World Twenty20 in March, admitted that his playing days are nearly over as he is struggling to stay fully fit due to recurring knee issues.
“With my age you cannot perform the way you did some 10-15 years ago. From my fitness I am doing the maximum with the injury, I am struggling a little bit on it,” Herath said. “I cannot give a guarantee with my bowling or my fitness. I am trying to retain whatever energy I have and to prolong my career I have reduced the number of one-day matches and play only Tests.
“If I put a target to end my career I will not be able to give my maximum to the team. Every time I play I look to give 100% to the team. But before long I will have to take a decision on my future. I will decide after the World T20 which is to be played in India next year. We are the reigning champions and we have a good chance of defending it with the present team although they lack in a bit in experience.”
Herath’s next assignment will be a two-Test series against the West Indies, but it is unclear whether his knees will be able to take the strain of two five-day matches. In an attempt to prolong his career, Herath had both his knees surgically repaired four years ago and, prior to the 2014 World Twenty20, he flew to Australia to get a C-reactive protein injection for each knee. However, the injection only seems to have worked for a short time as the pain has returned.
“I did an operation on both knees in 2011 for damaged cartilage,” Herath said. “I had a clean-up and I had no problem playing after that. But of late I have been getting pains. It is four years since the operation and the effect of it must have worn off over the years due to the wear and tear while playing.
“I sometimes get the pain on my knees when I start to run but not when I am bowling. I have been working with the physios, trainers and the medical staff how best to manage my injury and taking tablets and taping myself when I play in matches.”
Herath revealed that he currently offers captain Angelo Mathews a lot of advice as he is one of the most senior players in the side. However, the 37-year-old pointed out that once he does retire, every member of the national team will have to step up and help Mathews.
“Even when Mahela and Sanga were around as a bowler I offered advice and assistance to Angelo,” Herath said. “In future, Angelo will require the support of all the team members. As a senior player I also have a responsibility to support him especially from the bowling side. If you take our bowling unit apart from Dhammika [Prasad] and me the rest have not played many matches.
“When you play with an inexperienced bowling unit, the captain will need to have a lot of patience because you will not get the breaks every time you need them.”
Meanwhile, Herath has also vowed to improve his record against the West Indies during the upcoming Test series. The veteran spinner has struggled against the men from the Caribbean in the past as he has only taken eight wickets in five Tests.
“I am confident that I can do what I have been doing in the past and have great belief if I bowl well we have a good chance of winning the series,” he said.