A test of character for Sanath Jayasuriya

 As far back as I recall, since my childhood, I remember just one name which means "Cricket" to me. Being an Indian by birth, it’s obvious cricket is one sport we all Indians die for, and I was not an exception.

During my early days as a 10 year old, as every Indian does, I supported India. Kapil Dev was my hero.Then came the 1996 Wills World Cup. I got bowled by this legend, Sanath Teran Jayasuriya.

It took some time, like a few dog years, to unleash Sanath Jayasuriya on to cricket as a hitter, but the wait was well worth it. Sanath and Kalu unleashed terror during the ’96 WC, thereby revamping the nature of the game, a strategy which every team follows now.

He has entertained millions of cricket fans with his powerful hitting. You dont need to look at records to substantiate the fact that Sanath Jayasuriya has been the match winner for Sri Lanka for over a decade now.

Ironically, today he finds himself in a do or die position.

He hasn’t come up with a big one matching up to his standards. After the match winning knock at the Asia Cup finals, 2008, his form has declined and its time for Sanath to prove a point. To prove that he still has that capability in him to keep going at 40.

With so many youngsters knocking for a place in Sri Lankan squad, Sanath Jayasuriya’s wish to wear the Sri Lankan Jersey for the 2011 World Cup looks bleak.

Recently when the squad for the Tour of India was announced, members of the national selection committee, together with skipper Kumar Sangakkara, said  that they didn’t believe the 40-year-old has a future as an opener.

"What we expect from Sanath is that he should win one in three games for Sri Lanka, which he was doing in the past," Ashantha de Mel, Sri Lanka’s chairman of selectors, said. "But now that has reduced and we are a little concerned about it. In the Champions Trophy in South Africa his performance was below par .That’s the reason why we have gone in with the option of playing him as an allrounder."

Looking at his future as an international cricketer in serious doubt, veteran Sanath Jayasuriya vowed not to give in, saying his international cricket career is far from over. Even though he has always excelled as an opener, he has to adjust himself to play down the order as per team requirements. It’s something I believe isn’t best suited for Sanath. It would be foolishness on the part of team management to play this champion batsman down the order.

This series against India provides Sanath with an opportunity, maybe a final one. I’m not sure if he will be opening with Dilshan, or be playing down the order as an all rounder.

Captain Kumar Sangakkara shows faith in him ,

"He has been very successful against India as an opener and against all oppositions too. But right now he has a different role to play for us in the side, which will make him currently a performing and match-winning player. Whether he will bat at the top or in the middle order, can be considered," 

"Our responsibility towards the team and towards Sanath is to make sure that when he plays he becomes a match-winner and get the best out of him. He’s willing to make that change. It is an exciting time to play a new role".

Let’s wish that this Master Blaster from Matara finds his rhythm and fire once again against his favorite opponents India. We wish him the very best. Sanath, you may not play for Sri lanka if you fail this time, but don’t we all know, that there isn’t and won’t be anyone good enough to fill your shoes. 

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