Sanath Jayasuriya may have been axed by the national cricket selectors for the Test series against India, but the country`s highest run getter in both forms of the game says he`s far from over and vowed to fight back for his place in the team.
Speaking for the first time since his dramatic axing from the Test squad after a 6-1 drubbing in the One Day Internationals, the 36-year-old says that he will use the domestic matches to good effect to return to form.
`The day the team left to India I was feeling somewhat disappointed. The team that I have been a part of for the last so many years was going away but I was playing a club match,` Jayasuriya told `The Island` at his Barnes Place residence.
`Injury and form have deserted me and now I am keen at working hard on my game and getting back into the side. It`s actually a bit difficult to cope with it when you are out of the side but it`s a part of the game when you are a professional and I am cool about it,` the left-handed opening batsman said on losing his place in the side since becoming a permanent feature in the Sri Lankan batting order in 1995, with a scintillating hundred against the Australians at the Adelaide Oval.
He also said that despite the recent setback, he still has firm hopes of being a part of the squad that will play in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies. `Nothing has changed about my ultimate goal. I still want to play till the next World Cup,` he revealed. `When you are 35 or 36, the fact is you have to always perform and be among the runs,` he added.
To return to form Jayasuriya is taking part in the domestic matches fiercely and is even scheduled to meet the selection committee early next week. `I am playing in the domestic matches at the moment. I am keen on getting more runs and my confidence back. I have got a game on Wednesday in Dambulla and will try to get back to form.`
`The shoulder is on the mend and the physiotherapist says I will be 100 percent okay in two weeks time.`
On losing his form in India during the one-dayers, he said that several reasons, from lack of confidence to injury prevented him from being at his best. `The problem in India was I was getting starts but after that I got out. I really couldn`t make a big knock. Lack of confidence didn`t help me too, but I have put all that behind me now and I am trying get back into the side.`
`The ODI series was one of the worst tours by a Sri Lankan team in recent years. Nothing went right for us from the start, but whatever they (India), touched turned to gold. The top order, including myself, didn`t bat well and we didn`t bowl well either,` Jayasuriya remarked, on the areas Sri Lanka failed to deliver.
The former Sri Lankan captain has a very good record against the Indians in both forms of the game and in Tests alone the left-hander has scored close to 1000 runs in 10 matches at an average of over 60, including his top score of 340, a 199 and another hundred. `I have had a lot of success against the Indians and whenever I play them my confidence is high as I have done well against them over the years. But then, if I can`t give 100 percent, it`s not good for the team,` he said.