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Mahela Jayawardene to retire from shortest format after World T20

Posted on Mar 17 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, March 17 : Former Sri Lanka captain and batting great Mahela Jayawardene announced Monday that he will be retiring from the shortest format of the game after the ICC World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

The news comes a day after compatriot and wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara said that he will hang up his boots from T20 Internationals after the showpiece event.

The announcement came through the International Cricket Council's (ICC) Twitter handle, which posted: "BREAKING #SL legend @MahelaJay to join @KumarSanga2 in T20I retirement after the #wt20 2014".

The tweet also had a photo attached of Sangakkara and Jayawardene posing together with "Last World T20. Let's make it count" written in the background.

The 36-year-old Jayawardene said that the reason behind the decision is the same as Sangakkara's.

"The rationale behind retirement is pretty much the same as Sanga's. When it is clear that I can't see myself playing in the next ICC World T20, there wasn't much point in me occupying a spot. It makes more sense for a youngster to come into the mix and establish himself," Jayawardene told Wisden India.

Jayawardene has played 49 T20Is and is Sri Lanka's leading run-scorer in the format with 1335 runs at an average of 31.78 and a strike rate of 134.17.

"While I enjoy all formats of the game, and Test cricket is certainly the pinnacle for any player, the journey in Twenty20 cricket has been fascinating. In many ways it helped me get back to my roots, to bat like I used to when I was a schoolboy, for the sheer love of playing attacking shots and expressing myself with full freedom," Jayawardene added.

The former skipper also led his side to the 2012 World T20 final where they lost to the West Indies. His decision comes exactly 18 years after Sri Lanka won the 1996 World Cup.

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