Jayasuriya is my preferred opening partner – Dilshan

Tillakaratne Dilshan and wife actress Manjula Thilini were on a Sinhalese language talk show on Swaranavahini this past Sunday. It was an interesting show with several questions thrown at them both, but it was Dilshan’s response when asked who he would like to open batting with, that really drew me into the interview.

Although Upul Tharanga has been Dilshan’s opening partner of late, Dilshan told the presenters of the show that he preferred opening with Sanath.

When Sanath Jayasuriya made public his decision to enter politics, the Sri Lankan fans were immediately divided. Even Sanath’s long time fans found it unpalatable. There were those who claimed it was a dirty trick by a selfish player to try and get back into the team. This is of course if you thought he was out of the team.

Sanath has been an important cog in Sri Lanka’s Twenty20 team and the ODI team since his retirement from Test cricket. He was sent down the order during Sri Lanka’s tour to India in late 2009, and due to a loss of form he was not selected for a tri-series in Bangladesh. But, that never meant Sanath was out of the picture, or that he needed to become a politician to get back into the ODI side. Don’t forget he has not lost his place as opener in the Twenty20 side. Therefore, his performances in Twenty20s for Sri Lanka, and the fact that he is still a contracted player, means that he is just a knock away from selection.

TM DilshanDilshan didn’t mince his words, he told the talk show hosts on Sunday morning that he felt a great degree of confidence just seeing Jayasuriya at the other end. But fans will never get it. When you are a professional athlete trying to win games, words like the "future," "youth," and "giving youngster a chance," all become non-relevant words.

(Watch the episode ‘Coffee with Lahiru and Muditha’ here.)

Every player wants to win and they want match winners in their team. In a player’s eyes, the youth can work their way up just as hard as all the seniors did. Players themselves feel that if you are good enough you will make it, and Sanath isn’t holding anyone back.

Due to his age Sanath Jayasuriya has always been the first name on the chopping block, every time we loose we think that changing the team and sending inexperienced youth into the firing line is the answer.

Sure, Jayasuriya’s move to enter politics is ridiculous. But that’s his call. Everyone one of us is entitled to make our own mistakes.

Those who are crying foul at Jayasuriya’s entry into politics usually don’t see eye to eye with the ruling party, so they continue to tarnish the legend’s reputation. The misguided think that Sanath is trying to make his way back into the team.

For Sanath, this uncertainty and criticism has been part and parcel of his career.

Dilshan relishes brief stint with Northern Districts’ Knights

When asked about his stint with New Zealand’s Northern Districts, and how it felt to be flown into the venue by helicopter moments before a match, Dilshan said it was an outstanding experience and the treatment he received by the Knights gave him a lot of confidence and reinforced his own belief in his abilities.

Photo: Tillakaratne Dilshan playing for New Zealand’s Northern Districts Knights sports a pink uniform. Northern chose a pink uniform for New Zealand’s domestic T20 season in support of the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation. This image has been cleared for use on Island cricket by PHOTOSPORT. This image may not be reproduced without specific consent from PHOTOSPORT.

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