Sri Lanka wants Atapattu back for Australia

Oct 3, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s former captain and opening batsman Marvan Atapattu is set to make a comeback after being overlooked for the World Cup, chief selector Asantha de Mel told AFP here Wednesday. “We want Sanath only in the one-day team,” he said. “We need his experience in Australia. He has the technique and temperament to stay at the crease… It will be very important for the two Tests against Australia,” de Mel said.

He said Atapattu, if available, will be part of Sri Lanka’s plans in their quest to win its first Test match on Australian soil during the two-match series next month.

“I will talk to him about his availability,” he said, referring to a decision by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to release him from his central contract with effect from this month.

Atapattu, who has scored over 5,000 runs in 88 Tests with 16 hundreds, six of them double hundreds, sought release from his contract — a move widely seen as an expression of his frustration at being overlooked for the World Cup.

De Mel said if Atapattu was available, the selectors would leave out veteran batsman Sanath Jayasuriya for the Australia Test series.

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