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Jayasuriya quits captaincy

Colombo, March 22 (AFP): Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya has quit as skipper of the national side, he announced over state television here Saturday.

I have tendered my resignation to the minister of sports (Johnston Fernando). With my decision I have given the selectors to opt for a new captain with the 2007 World Cup in mind, Jayasuriya said.

Sanath Jayasuriya and the Sri Lankan team returned home Friday after losing in the semi-finals of the World Cup in South Africa. The team was knocked out by defending champions Australia in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

Jayasuriya took over the helm of the Sri Lankan team after its disastrous show in the 1999 World Cup, held in England.

Sri Lanka ended that tournament on a dismal note after failing to reach the Super Six stage of the competition.

Jayasuriya succeeded Arjuna Ranatunga as part of the then policy of the national selectors to infuse new blood into the team.

He led his country without break until his resignation Saturday. There was no immediate response from Fernando.

According to an earlier report, the sports minister was quoted in Daily News as having asked Jayasuriya to continue .

Johnston said he had urged Jayasuriya to stay: I see no reason as to why you should step down. We the national selectors, the sports ministry and the cricket board appointed you to lead and you should continue.

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