Ranatunga pat for Tendulkar

Ranatunga pat for Tendulkar

Jayalalithaa should not mix politics and sports, says former SL skipper

Ranatunga pat for Tendulkar

Former Sri Lanka skipper Arjuna Ranatunga felt that if the likes of India ace Sachin Tendulkar retire from Test cricket, the longest format of the sport is bound to ‘die’.

The 1996 World Cup-winning captain, who was the chief guest of a Sri Lanka tourism promotion event ‘Get Sri Lanka’ed’ here at a mall on Friday, paid generous tribute to Tendulkar.

“If players of the likes of Tendulkar don’t play Test cricket, I think Test cricket will die. I was very happy when I heard that he quit the shorter formats to focus on Tests. That is something young players need to look at and learn from.”

The left-hander also said that the ‘Little Master’ could continue to play for a couple of years. “He is one of the most technically sound batsmen that I have ever seen. There is no reason why he shouldn’t continue playing. He may have slowed down a little bit but all those doubts will go once he scores some runs, and I genuinely think he is not too far away from that (scoring big runs).”

On Thursday, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa said that Chennai would not host the Asian Athletics Championship, saying Sri Lankan players ‘do not have place in the state’ after the alleged killing of slain LTTE chief V Prabhakaran’s son.

Ranatunga thought it was all a ploy to garner votes. “I really don’t believe in mixing sports and politics. The problem here is that, she is trying to get some mileage from the whole issue. They are all about elections and votes. Once again, they should not do that. They should leave sports alone,” said the cricketer-turned-politician.

Transitional phase

Ranatunga’s team-mate and former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya said that Sri Lankan cricket was going through transition and it will take some time before the youngsters take up the mantle.

“We’ve just started to introduce youngsters into the system. When Mahela (Jayawardene), (Kumar) Sangakkara, (Tillakaratne) Dilshan, (Thilan) Samaraweera go out, we will need youngsters to step in. That’s why we’re trying to blood them now. We need to groom youngsters. That’s why Angelo Mathews is the captain and Dinesh Chandimal the vice-captain,” said the fiery left-hander. Talking about Indian Premier League’s influence on the game, Jayasuriya said: “Sri Lankan people don’t like young cricketers joining the IPL.

They will change their technique and play differently -- it’s not good for the future. But when the experienced cricketers come here and play, it’s really good. The player should realise what is good for him.”

Meanwhile, current players Jayawardene, Dilshan and Lasith Malinga, who were also supposed to be part of the event on Friday, did not turn up.

The organisers, however, said that it had nothing to do with the blasts in Hyderabad the day before and that Jayawardene will visit the City on Saturday.

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