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Mahela: Always tried to play in right spirit

New Delhi: As his illustrious innings in Test cricket came to an end, the artistic Mahela Jayawardene wished he could play more matches in Australia, England and South Africa and built his reputation of being a connoisseurs’ delight the world over.

“It is true my average away (outside the sub-continent) is less than that at home. Of course, I would have ideally preferred that not to be the case.

“When I look back, I feel that I would certainly have loved more opportunities to play more Test matches in England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa,” the 37-year-old Jayawardene said a day after his retirement.

Asked if he is completely satisfied with his 17-year international career, the soft-spoken Jayawardene tried to put things in perspective. “In hindsight, there are of course a few things that I would have done differently. But I always gave my 100 per cent and tried to play in the right spirit.

“I think I am very fortunate to have played so long for Sri Lanka. It’s been an absolute honour playing for my country and I will always cherish the great memories I had along the journey,” he said.

Quiz him on the special moments of his career and the emotional side comes out. “Saying goodbye to my fans after the end of match was very special. But seriously, there were lots of moments. Winning the World T20 beating India this year was very special.

“Being able to share the dressing room with so many greats, like Murali, Vaasy (Chaminda Vaas), Sanga (Kumar) Sangakkara and Sanath (Jayasuriya) was a privilege. Captaining the team between 2006 and 2009, and then again in 2012 was a very special experience,” he said.

The owner of nearly 25,000 international runs (24,988 runs to be precise) felt that since Sri Lanka will not play any international cricket for a year, he thought it was the perfect time to leave.

“I am sure I will miss Test cricket like anything. But my gut feeling said the right time had come.” (PTI)