Jayasuriya completes 20 years in international cricket


New Delhi: It has been 20 years since Sri Lankan heavyweight Sanath Jayasuriya began his international career and skipper Kumar Sangakkara lauded his achievements Saturday, saying he had a massive influence on the game.

Support TwoCircles

Jayasuriya,40, made his international debut Dec 26, 1989 against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

But he caught the imagination of the cricketing world in Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning campaign in 1996 when he tore apart every bowling attack while opening the batting with pint-size dynamo Romesh Kaluwitharana that set a new benchmark for other teams in the ODIs.

“Sanath has been an inspiration for the Sri Lankan cricket from 1996 onwards, when he turned ODI cricket upside down. He is a valuable player and there was a time when we were over-dependent on him. The whole dressing room would be silent after his dismissal and he created an atmosphere in which you feel that if he is with us, you are invincible,” Sangakkara said.

Jayasuriya is the second highest scorer in ODIs, next to Sachin Tendulkar. In 443 matches, he has 13,397 runs with 28 centuries and 68 half centuries.

“For all his services, he has deserved all the accolades he has received,” Sangakkara said.

Though Jayasuriya does not open the batting now, Sangakkara said the team looks upto him as a mentor.

“His presence in the dressing room has helped us move on from the dependence on him, and we learnt to win matches without him. It doesn’t undermine Jayasuriya as a player for us, as he has added responsibility now. It has been a great journey with him and he has enjoyed it.”