COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka middle-order batsman Thilan Samaraweera announced his retirement from international cricket on Wednesday after he was excluded from the squad to play Bangladesh in the first test this week.
Samaraweera said he made up his mind to end his 15-year international career after speaking to chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya and Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Nishantha Ranatunga about their plans for him, a day after they asked him not to rush his decision and invited him for talks.
The 36-year-old right-hander was not in the initial squad for the two-test series against Bangladesh because the selectors said they wanted to groom younger players. He also had a poor series against Australia — 79 runs in six innings — in December-January but kept his central contract after a great domestic season. Then he was drafted into the preliminary squad as a replacement for the injured Mahela Jayawardene.
Samaraweera said the authorities told him he was not going to play for Sri Lanka for the next 10 months, until a series against Pakistan which he said was too much of an interval.
“They (Jayasuriya and Ranatunga) said that they will be going with only two senior players in the series and also the coming Zimbabwe series. But they said they offered me a contract because they needed my experience for the Pakistan series,” Samaraweera said.
“As of late, it is Thilan Samaraweera who had to lose his place when the selectors opted to give an opportunity to a younger player or a change in the batting order. It happened this time, too.”
Of his career, Samaraweera said, “I need not lie saying I had no frustrations …”
He made his one-day debut in 1998 and in tests three years later, with a century on debut against India. After 81 tests, he ranks sixth in Sri Lanka’s list of scorers (5,462) and third on average (48). He racked 14 centuries.
Regarded as reliable and patient, Samaraweera underlined his strength of character after he was shot in the thigh during the infamous deadly attack in Lahore on the Sri Lanka team convoy during the 2009 tour of Pakistan. Within four months he was back on the pitch for his 50th test.
He also played 53 one-day internationals and scored 862 runs.
Samaraweera said he will play for English county Worcestershire this season, and thereafter will make a call on his first-class career with the Sinhalese Sports Club.