From pitch to politics Jayasuriya feels the ‘love’

HONG KONG, October 27, 2011 (AFP) – World Cup winning batsman Sanath Jayasuriya said Thursday his transition from the cricket pitch to the field of Sri Lankan politics had been smooth thanks to the “love” of his fans. The veteran batsman, who retired this year, said he had joined President Mahinda Rajapakse’s United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) party to make a difference in his home district of Matara.

“There’s not much difference for me between cricket and politics because the same public are involved,” he said at an event ahead of the Hong Kong Cricket Sixes, which starts Friday.

“They love cricket and they love me. I’m enjoying helping my constituents with developing roads and creating jobs. I promise small things I can deliver… people are tired of politicians who promise too much and fail.”

Jayasuriya won a seat in parliament in 2010 despite being a political novice. He has faced a mixed reception among Sri Lankans who remember him fondly for his heroics in the nation’s 1996 World Cup win but have been irked by his frequent travels to play in short-form tournaments.

The swashbuckling batsman also voiced hopes the inaugural Sri Lankan Premier League will take place in 2012 after an aborted