Jayasuriya was forced to quit Tests, says Sri Lanka’s selector

COLOMBO, May 8, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s veteran cricketer Sanath Jayasuirya retired from Test cricket last month after being handed an ultimatum to either quit or be sacked, newly-appointed chief selector Asantha de Mel said Monday

De Mel, who replaced Lalith Kaluperuma as chairman of the selection committee last week, blamed his predecessor for forcing former captain Jayasuriya out of Test cricket.

“The way it was done was absolutely ridiculous,” De Mel, a former Test fast bowler, told AFP.

“Sanath has done so much for the country and the selectors should have shown some respect for such a senior player. But they just called him for a meeting and asked him to step down or face the axe.”

Jayasuriya, 36, announced during a home series against Pakistan last month he was leaving Test cricket to concentrate on one-day cricket leading up to the World Cup in the Caribbean in March-April next year.

“If a player wants to retire we allow him to announce his retirement before a series,” said De Mel. “But this was done in between a series and I don’t think Sanath got the respect he deserves.”

Kaluperuma said it was a “collective decision” by the previous committee to persuade Jayasuriya to leave Test cricket.