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Farewell hero Jayawardene still chasing World Cup dream

August 19, 2014 08:18 IST

Farewell hero Jayawardene still chasing World Cup dream

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Former captain Mahela Jayawardene left the Test scene on Monday vowing to devote his energies towards helping Sri Lanka win another 50-over World Cup next year in Australia and New Zealand.

Sri Lanka last won the World Cup in 1996 and were beaten in the final in 2007 and 2011.

The 37-year-old Jayawardene ended his Test career on a high as his team beating Pakistan by 105 runs to take the two-match series 2-0.

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Image: Mahela Jayawardene of Sri Lanka
Photographs: Robert Prezioso/Getty Images

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'For me right now the thing is to get myself motivated for the next World Cup'

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Victory sparked memorable scenes with the master batsman congratulated by Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa before being carried around the ground by his team mates amid the lighting of firecrackers.

"Right now I don't have any plans and I've not signed any contracts," Jayawardene told a packed news conference. "It all depends on what kind of interest I get in the next six months or so.

"For me right now the thing is to get myself motivated for the next World Cup, to get myself fit and ready. I can't guarantee I will be part of the squad but my focus will be to try to get another winner's medal."

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Image: Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene is carried by his teammates after winning their final Test match against Pakistan in Colombo
Photographs: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

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'The best day of my life was receiving my first Test cap'

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Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara were given a fitting farewell when they retired from Twenty20 cricket as Sri Lanka beat India in the final in Dhaka in April. Right-hander Jayawardene, who compiled 11,814 runs at an average of 49.84 in his 149 Tests, said the most treasured moment of his 17-year international career was getting his hands on his first cap.

He made his debut against India in Colombo in 1997 in a match where Sri Lanka amassed the highest total in test cricket - 952 for six declared.

"The best day of my life was receiving my first Test cap from captain Arjuna Ranatunga," said Jayawardene. "I place a huge value on that cap.

"I feel very honoured to wear this cap and it's not an easy thing to let go.

"This is a great thing in Sri Lanka cricket. Everyone wears it with a lot of pride and passion."

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Image: Mahela Jayawardene (left) with Kumar Sangakkara
Photographs: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

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'It's time for a new generation to take over and move on'

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Jayawardene said it is the "right time" to quit the longer form of the game.

"The decision for me to retire was something I have been thinking about for some time," he explained. "It was just a gut feeling but I've always gone with my gut feeling.

"Given the fact that we won't have any home Test cricket for another 12 months it's time for a new generation to take over and move on.

"I will try and help in that rebuilding process as far as I can but I don't think I have the patience to become a coach having played in the team for 17 years," said Jayawardene.


Image: Mahela Jayawardene
Photographs: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

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