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Series against India very important - Sanath Jayasuriya

Series against India very important - Sanath Jayasuriya
Sanath Jayasuriya reckons the upcoming home series against India will be important for Sri Lankan cricket.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya feels that the upcoming home series against India is very important for Sri Lankan cricket given that they are going through a transition phase.

Sri Lanka recently had a disappointing showing against Pakistan as they lost Test, One-Day International and the Twenty20 International series at home.

Though Jayasuriya admitted that Sri Lanka’s performance against Pakistan was not up to the mark, he attributed it to the transition period that the team is currently going through.

“We didn’t do well against Pakistan and it was very disappointing overall,” said Jayasuriya.

“At the moment, you have to understand that Sri Lanka is going through a bit of a lean period after the retirement of most of our senior cricketers, (Kumar) Sangakkara, Mahela (Jayawardena) and (Tillakaratne) Dilshan.

“We didn’t do well, but we have enough cricketers to come back and do well. India coming to Sri Lanka is very important to Sri Lanka cricket."

This is the first time in over five years that India are playing Test matches against Sri Lanka, with the last series coming in 2010, which was drawn at 1-1. 

A veteran of 110 Test matches, Jayasuriya wants Sri Lanka to do well against India, exploiting the home advantage.

“I hope Sri Lanka plays good cricket during the three-Test series.

“It’s going to be tough for us for India plays good cricket and it is playing well at the moment.

“But in our conditions, our players are also good.” 

In the recently concluded Test series against Pakistan, Sri Lanka handed a recall to veteran Jehan Mubarak, who played his first game in the longest format in more than seven years.

Dismissing the thought that Sri Lanka are short on young talent, Jayasuriya feels that the inclusion of Mubarak was necessary to have an experienced player in the line-up, amidst the retirements of senior players.

“I know what you’re thinking… you’re thinking, we don’t have young cricketers.

“We do have, but unfortunately, sometimes, depending on the situation, we may have to try a little bit of experience in our batting order.

“After Sanga, Mahela and Dilshan retired, we need someone with experience to be in the side.” 

However, in the T20I series against Pakistan, Sri Lanka handed debuts to a slew of young players, in an attempt to build for the future.

Jayasuriya, who was the first Sri Lankan batsman to cross the 10,000 runs mark, maintained that the youngsters need to be given ample chances to prove their mettle.

Stating that chopping and changing will dent the confidence of the youngsters, Jayasuriya was confident that the players will come up with good performances eventually, if given an extended run. 

“I think we need to give youngsters opportunities. You can’t keep giving them one or two games and dropping them.

“If you start playing with youngsters, I think we have to give them about six months and make sure they get to play, only then will they come up with confidence.

“If you keep changing, they will think that they are getting only one match and they will be under pressure. I think they should give youngsters a long period if they are giving them a chance.” 

The three-match Test series between Sri Lanka and India will be played between 12th August and 1st September in Galle and Colombo. 

© Cricket World 2015