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Sangakkara supports Jayasuriya's IPL take

Bangalore, Feb 24, 2013, DH News Service: 23:24 IST

Emphasis needs to be given to Test cricket, says Lankan ace

Close-up moment: Ashwini, one of the winners of a contest held by Sri Lanka Tourism, is greeted by former Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara in Bangalore on Saturday. dh photo
After the yesteryear cricketers -- Arjuna Ranatunga and Sanath Jayasuriya -- from Sri Lanka did their bit to promote Sri Lankan tourism, it was the turn of current star Kumar Sangakkara to take up the cause.

The former Lankan skipper, not unfamiliar to Indian cricket fans, attracted a fair bit of weekend crowd at a city mall here on Saturday afternoon. In between distributing goodies to winners of contests on Sri Lanka and signing autographs, the stylish left-hander spoke to the media on the transition the Lankan squad is going through, the new selection panel and skippers and of course the Indian Premier League.

“The people here,” he stated when a kid asked Sangakkara about what he most liked about India. “The warmth, the love we get here is amazing. Since we play in the IPL, we are a lot familiar here.”
Sangakkara has been one of the regular internationals in IPL since its inception and he even led two sides in the last three years. The IPL has led to many confrontations between Lankan players and cricket administrators there and the latest to voice his concern is their Chief of National selection panel Jayasuriya.

“Well I think that’s a valid comment because it is about technique,” pointed out Sangakkara when asked about Jayasuriya’s comments on Friday when he said Lankans didn’t like their players appearing in IPL. “Technique is very important for Test cricket and whoever plays the shorter version of the game, when they play Test cricket it is a completely different challenge. More technical accomplishment is required and that is why Jayasuriya said that and I completely agree with that. When you are a youngster you cannot get carried away by just playing T20. That’s why in Sri Lanka there is a lot of emphasis on youngsters playing Tests and then expand your repertoire to play the shorter versions,” he explained.

The veteran batsman felt there was a good supply line to the national side but maintained one needed to have a mix of youth and experience in the set-up. “I think you need the best younger players coming in all the time and at the same time you need the best performing players in your side as well. Performance ultimately is about winning or losing games and we have a great stock of younger players coming through and we are very, very happy that we play a big part in guiding them. At the same time, you are right our careers are coming to an end, sooner than later and by that time we should ensure that there are enough capable youngsters to keep on winning for Sri Lanka.

“I mean the term ‘senior’ is quite an interesting term. You only get it when you have performed. If you don’t perform you won’t be in the side. The pressure to perform is there on everyone and it does not matter who the selectors are, you got to perform.”

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