Axing of Test matches forces Samaraweera to retire
By Ryan Francis | March 6, 2013
Sri Lankan middle-order batsman Thilan Samaraweera has said that he was "shocked" by his recent omission from the Test squad, and added that his decision to retire from international cricket was also prompted by the cricket board's decision to postpone two Test series this year.
Samaraweera, who only plays Test cricket, was axed for the Test series starting this week against Bangladesh by Sri Lanka's new selection panel headed by Sanath Jayasuriya.
The new selectors are expected to bring to an end the careers of a number of seniors during their term.
"I was shocked with my omission from the squad against Bangladesh," Samaraweera told reporters in Colombo today.
The 36-year-old said that he had been informed by the selectors of their intent to possibly utilise him later this year in the Test series against Pakistan, but Samaraweera said that "there was no point in waiting for nine months" for that series.
"I respect the decision of the selectors to go with young players, and decided it was the right time for me to retire," Samaraweera said.
He said that he declined the opportunity of playing a farewell match in the two-match series against the visiting Bangladesh side.
"I never wanted a farewell match," he said. "If you're not good enough to be in the 15-man squad, there's nowhere in the world you can play in the first XI.
"I didn't want to be selfish and deprive a youngster of his place by requesting to play in a farewell Test."
In order to make way for the two T20 tournaments — India's IPL and Sri Lanka's own SLPL — the Sri Lankan cricket board postponed two Test tours scheduled for this year, including a home series against the world's number-one ranked Test side, which has had drastic consequences on the careers of players like Samaraweera who only played the five-day format.
"I may not have retired so early if the Test series against West Indies and South Africa had not been postponed," Samaraweera said.
"Because, as a cricketer, you would always want to play against the number-one team, which is South Africa at the moment."
Samaraweera was seriously injured during the terrorist attack in Pakistan in 2009, and was one of the worst casualties of that incident.
With 14 Test hundreds and 30 Test half-centuries under his belt, he boasts of a Test average of nearly 50 after playing 81 matches. He has also played 53 ODIs, making 862 runs at 27.80 with two centuries.
Last month, Samaraweera was signed by Worcestershire as their overseas player, and he will head to England next to play in his first season of county cricket.
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