The dashing southpaw sounds confident of doing well in the forthcoming World Cup
The opener dismisses talks of the Lankans peaking too early for the World CupHe is looking forward to the landmark of 100 Test wickets
Colombo: Sanath Jayasuiya continues to roar at 37. He still sends the ball to the different corners of the ground, still manages to swing matches in his side's favour.
The former Sri Lankan captain came back from retirement in Tests to provide the side more depth and balance on the islanders' tour of England this year. He admits to being under pressure to perform.
``Yes, there were a lot of expectations from me. But I just played my natural game and the runs started coming,'' said Jayasuriya speaking to the media here on Sunday.
Skipper Mahela Jayawardene said, ``He has begun to enjoy his cricket again and you can see the results. He is batting now like how he was playing in 1996.''
Talking about the circumstances that forced him to retire prematurely from the Tests, Jayasuriya said, ``I was slightly hurt at the turn of events. I had always wanted to give my best for my country, always put a 100 per cent effort. But things have changed for the better now.''
The man from Mattara was appreciative of Jayawardene's captaincy. ``He was a vice-captain for long and learnt a lot of things. He has led well, made the right moves.'' Jayasuriya felt the Lankans were on course to a fine showing in the 2007 World Cup in West Indies. ``I don't think we are peaking too early. We have the momentum now after our performances in England and at home against South Africa.'' He had words of praise for young cricketers like Upul Tharanga.
Jayasuriya, who began his career as a specialist left-arm spinner, is now just four short of 100 Test wickets. ``Usually, I don't bother about records, but it would be nice to reach this landmark. I thought I would get it against South Africa, now I will have to wait a little longer. But I will definitely get there,'' he said.
Speaking about champion off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, Jayasuriya said, ``Murali is not just a great bowler. He is a complete teamman and a wonderful human being.'' And the man, whose all-round ability was a major factor in Sri Lanka's astonishing triumph in the '96 World Cup, is now eyeing West Indies with optimism.
``It should be an interesting World Cup. I am confident,'' said Jayasuriya.