Colombo: Sanath Jayasuriya has received another blow after being left out of the 20 players Sri Lanka Cricket offered central contracts for the current year. Muttiah Muralitharan, who will retire from Tests at the end of the first game against India at Galle on July 22, has been retained in the top category.
Jayasuriya, 41, who became a permanent fixture in the Sri Lanka side after playing a key role in the 1996 World Cup, found himself dropped from the list. The veteran of 110 Tests and 444 ODIs has stated that he would like to play until the 2011 World Cup before finally calling it quits. However, his recent batting form has been poor. In the World Twenty20 in the West Indies he averaged only 3.75 from six matches and in his last six ODI matches his highest score was 31.
"As I've said before we haven't let either Chaminda Vaas or Muralitharan out of our minds for the World Cup.", said de Silva.
He addedd that when the contracts were done and due to be signed in March no one knew that Muralitharan was going to retire. "To be fair by Murali he mentioned to us that we could leave him out of the contract and consider him only for the one-dayers if we require him, which I have basically from our side told him that we definitely require him for the World Cup," de Silva said. "We will evaluate the contract matter with Murali once we have a chat with him. He will have to remain because he will definitely be part of the World Cup campaign."
The two newcomers to the central contracts are off-spinner Suraj Randiv and batsman Dinesh Chandimal who have been placed in Category Six. Sri Lanka's captain Kumar Sangakkara, Muralitharan, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thilan Samaraweera occupy the top category.
The other contracted players are: Nuwan Kulasekara (Category Two), Angelo Mathews (Category Three), Upul Tharanga, Thilan Thushara, Rangana Herath, Prasanna Jayawardene, Ajantha Mendis, Chamara Kapugedera, Lasith Malinga, Thilina Kandamby (Category Four), Dilhara Fernando, Chanaka Welagedara, Tharanga Paranavitana (Category Five)