Former national cricketer Thilan Samaraweera said that he had rejected a request made by the national selectors to continue playing for the Test team, instead opting for retirement as he had planned.
In a meeting with the committee, led by Sanath Jayasuriya, last morning, Samaraweera was asked to prolong his career by signing a new contract, but on the condition that he sits out the Test series against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, and return to the team for December’s series against Pakistan.
However Samaraweera felt that this was against his interests saying, “Ten months is a long time and it will not be easy. So I decided to stick by my original decision.”
Samaraweera, well known for his performances in the Test Matches, said that playing a Test match is the best way to learn cricket.
“Patience, courage and the mentality of a player improves playing Test cricket. For a beginner Test matches are the best,” he said.
Thilan Samaraweera began his cricket career at Ashoka Vidyalaya and moved to Ananda College. He played for the Colts Cricket Club before switching to the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC).
“I started my career 12 years ago and I got my Test debut in 1998. I played under a lot of captains and trained under several international coaches,” he said.
Responding to the questions raised by journalists he said that he never received a salary of Rs. 4 million a month, like some other cricketers were reported to be getting.
“I have never got so much money as a salary. I think a wrong impression had been made to the public. Players play for the country and not for the money.
There were few discussions with the board regarding the new contract. Players didn’t ask for anything new out of this contract, and the clauses were the same as what has been signed since 2009,” Mr. Samaraweera said.
He also admitted that there is a gap of communication between the two parties and said he wishes the gap was bridged more positively.
Responding to the media when asked if he will ever change the decision and will come back to the play as certain players did, he said this was a one-time decision and he would never come back again.
“I’m 100% sure that I won’t change my decision under any circumstances” he said. (Shehan Daniel and Lahiru Pothmulla) (Pix by Pradeep Dilrukshana)