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‘Kumar, Mahela made right decision’

Colombo: It triggered quite a furore in Sri Lankan cricket, but Arjuna Ranatunga has backed Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara’s decision to call it quits from Twenty20 Internationals, saying the duo’s timing was correct.

Jayawardene and Sangakkara were criticised by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) for not taking the body into confidence before announcing their retirement at the end of the ICC World Twenty20, which Sri Lanka won by beating India in the final.

In response, the two players, at a press conference held immediately after their return on Tuesday, blamed the SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga and CEO Ashley de Silva for demoralising them ahead of the tournament.

But Ranatunga felt the retirement was timed to perfection.

“The cricketers are the ones who know better than anyone, when is the right time to go. I’m sure they’ve made the correct decision,” Ranatunga told a magazine.

Speaking about the team’s World T20 triumph, Ranatunga lauded the collective effort of the side.

“If you look at the tournament, a lot of contributions were made by the new players. We should talk about Mahela, and Kumar Sangakkara, as well as Lasith Malinga, who bowled very well, but I feel that every player made a special contribution.

“Normally there are heroes in these tournaments, but what I saw was that young players and seniors were all contributing. That’s a great sign for the future of Lankan cricket,” he explained.

“Players like Nuwan Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Kusal Perera and Rangana Herath excelled. Sachithra bowled well throughout the tournament and Kulasekara delivered in difficult moments,” he added.

Ranatunga said all the players raised their game as and when the situation demanded.

“Rangana hadn’t played throughout the tournament, but from the moment he came, he was taking wickets and keeping the runs down. Kusal took the pressure off Sangakkara, Dilshan and Mahela, and put it on his own shoulders. He played the same role as Sanath Jayasuriya used to play. Sometimes it seemed like he played bad shots, but that’s his style,” he said.       (agencies)