Tuesday 20 November 2007 

Atapattu Announces International Retirement

Sri Lankan batsman Marvan Atapattu has announced his international retirement following the conclusion of the Test series against Australia, which Sri Lanka lost 2-0.

Atapattu made 80 in the second innings of the second Test, before writing in a statement to Sri Lanka Cricket chief executive Duleep Mendis that:

"I write to inform you that I will be retiring from international cricket for Sri Lanka with effect from November 21st 2007."

The decision comes 11 days after he launched an attack on the Sri Lankan selectors, saying:

"Sri Lankan cricket, I think at this moment in time, is not going the way, the direction, it should be going. Especially with the muppets, basically, headed by a joker."

Atapattu scored 5,502 runs at an average of 39.02 in 90 Tests while he also played 268 one-day internationals.

Meanwhile, responding to the fact that in his retirement letter, Atapattu showed no gratitude to the Sri Lankan selectors, Ashantha De Mel said, "The controversy was uncalled for. I was unnecessary dragged into this. It is not worth commenting. I don't want to say anything on his retirement now"

"His retirement from the international cricket will be a loss to the country. He was a great batsman but everybody has to retire one day," the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) secretary K. Mathivanan said from Colombo.

His captain, Mahela Jayawardene said, "It's emotional. It was a bit of a surprise for us as well because he made a strong comeback after not playing for some time and was very determined to show what he was capable of.

"He proved that to a lot of people. The work ethic he had was incredible. It's sad, but he made a very good speech in the dressing room.

"He felt it was the right time to leave Sri Lanka cricket and give others the opportunity. He made that decision himself, that was great."

© Bipin Dani/Cricket World