5 Sri Lankan Cricketers who took early retirement

International cricket is a place where many players come in, have their share of success but have unceremonious exits, because of one reason or the other, and the fans would better have them gone. But, then there are players whose retirement comes in as a shock as the move in their opinion is earlier than what they would have wanted to. So, here’s a look at the 5 Sri Lankan cricketers who took early retirement from international cricket.

1. Mahela Jayawardene

One of the most celebrated names in the world of Sri Lankan cricket and also the international cricketing circles, Mahela Jayawardene is one of those players of the Sri Lankan cricket team who decided to hang up their boots relatively early.

The Sri Lankan legend made his debut in the year 1997 and played a total of 652 matches. During the course of those matches, he made a total of 25,957 runs, averaging about 39.15, which by any standards are great numbers. And, when any of his fans or someone who witnessed the kind of player he was, it is certain that Mahela had a handful of years of cricket still left in him and took early retirement.

While it may seem that he had some more time left in him on the cricket field, the fact that he announced his retirement from all the formats at once, calling it a day on 18th of March 2015, makes it pretty clear that he and his body was feeling the burnout after playing for Sri Lanka over all these years, although there was no official declaration from his end about the same.

2. Shehan Jayasuriya

A recent entrant in this list of the Sri Lankan cricketers who took early retirement, Shehan Jayasuriya, after having played cricket for the Sri Lankan cricket team in March of 2020, did certainly have some runs left in him when he called it a day on his international career.

The batting all-rounder had started playing cricket for Sri Lanka in the year 2015 and played for the team for a period of 5 years, enjoying his share of success in the meantime. But come 2021, he decided to announce his retirement from international cricket, which came as a surprise to many.

During his stay with the Sri Lankan team, he played 30 international matches, where he scored 436 runs and took a total of 6 wickets. The announcement of his retirement came on the back of the fact that he was relocating to the United States of America along with his family, which meant that he would not be playing for the Sri Lankan team.

3. Kumar Sangakkara

Another legendary cricket player on the list, Kumar Sangakkara is widely regarded to have announced his retirement from international cricket, earlier than it was due. The biggest backing to this argument is that the wicket-keeper batsman in the later leg of his career was almost close to scoring six consecutive centuries in first-class cricket.

Even at the highest level in the last few matches that he played before that fateful announcement from him came by, he was in excellent form and had amassed over 500 runs in the previous World Cup that he had played in. While announcing his retirement, which came to be on the same day as Mahela Jayawardene, which is the 18th of March 2015, Sangakkara said, ‘I have had so much good fortune in my career, and I can’t ask for everything.

Sometimes you have to just do the best you can with what’s there.’ This shows that he had run his course in his career and did not want to run through with a couple of more years of play. A brilliant stroke maker, Sangakkara’s name would be cherished in the world of cricket in years to come, and it would have been a delight if he had stayed around for a bit more matches.

4. Upul Tharanga

Upul Tharanga joins the list of players who are the ones to be considered to have taken early retirement from international cricket. One can argue that he played his due course of cricket matches during the course of his 15-year long stay with the international cricket team. But, when looked at in retrospect, many would believe that he should have hung around a bit longer than he did.

Tharanga enjoyed the most amount of success in One Day Internationals where he was close to scoring 7,000 runs in total. Like his counterparts, in his official retirement statement he had stated,’ I leave behind a road travelled with fond memories and great friendships. I am thankful to Sri Lanka Cricket for always having faith and the trust vested in me,’ showing that in his mind he had accomplished what he had started out to achieve, having played his last international match on the 16th of March 2019. In the 31 Tests he played, he scored 1,754 runs, in ODIs, in the 235 matches he scored 6,951 runs, and in the shortest format of the game, T20Is, he scored 407 runs in 26 games.

5. Asanka Gurusinha

An unsung hero of Sri Lanka’s successful campaign in the 1996 World Cup, Asanka Gurusinha was an unassuming batsman who used to come in at number 3 in the batting lineup and wreak havoc in the opponent team’s dugout and walk off with a humble smile on his face.

The level of success that he enjoyed during his time with the Sri Lankan cricket team, made his retirement announcement a bit premature, and unwarranted. But, as it was, he went off the field with as much grace and silence as he used to be when he walked on it. He played in 188 international matches, scored 6,354 runs in total, took as many as 46 wickets while contributing to the team as a fielder too.

Things did not go all well when it came to Gurusinha’s retirement which came in the form of his last ODI against Pakistan at Sharjah on the 8th of November 1996, as at the time the decision came abruptly and was accredited to his differences with the captain of the team at that time, but he has stated that it had nothing to do with it.

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