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Sanath out to prove his critics wrong

SYDNEY, Friday - Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka's batting sensation who everyone here in Australia is yearning to see arrived in Sydney this, morning and in a exclusive telephone link up with the writer in Melbourne said that he is determined to hit back and prove his critics wrong.

"I have recovered from my unfortunate injury suffered in New Zealand where I hurt my shoulder. The treatment and rest has done the shoulder good and I am longing to get back to the middle and do my best for the team and country', said Jayasuriya.

If he plays, and there is no reason why he should not, unless the selectors would not like to change the winning combination that did duty in Brisbane where we beat the South Africans, Jayasuriya should be back in Sri Lanka colours.

Jayasuriya had a net with the team and was middling the ball as he usually does and did not show any discomfort when bowling and fielding.

Jayasuriya's presence alone will do the confidence of the team a lot of good.

On the previous tour here, Jayasuriya was the captain and a sudden dip in his batting form made Sri Lanka lose the early games.

But once he struck form in Brisbane and blasted a century the team returned to winnng ways and it was just one of those things that they failed to enter the best of three triangular finals that time. It was on this tour that everyone kept blaming the defeats on him.

He was so frustrated that when he got back, he offered to step down from the captaincy. But the President of the Cricket Board of that time Hemaka Amarasuriya prevailed on him to continue and it was only after the World Cup where he led them to the semi-finals, that he quit the captaincy but continued to play.

Sri Lanka scored a good victory when they upset the odds to beat South Africa in Brisbane, obtaining the bonus point in the process and did their chances of figuring in the best of three finals a lot of good.

If the selectors go for Jayasuriya's allround ability and play him, he is sure to give of his best.

"I like batting on Australian surfaces. The ball comes nicely on to the bat and timing of the shots come naturally.

On all previous tours, I have scored runs here, and I am keen on getting out onto the centre' said Jayasuriya who has the distinction of being the only Sri Lanka batsman to join the exalted company of a few who have scored triple centuries. He made a big 340 against the India at the R. Premadasa.

"I am extremely fit, and have a lot more years of cricket left in me. My one desire is to see that Sri Lanka's cricket gets to the top in both forms of the game. I am one who pays a lot of attention to fitness. At the moment I am as fit as can be and I am looking forward to scoring a lot of runs on this tour.

'Sri Lanka has never before entered the finals of the triangular series played in Australia and if I can help the team enter the finals this time round, it would be great' said the mauler from Matara.

From what I could gather, Jayasuriya is determined to stay fit, score a lot of runs, take wickets and maintain his good fielding and stay in the frame for selection for the next World Cup in the Caribbean next year. We wish Sanath Jayasuriya the best of luck.

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