Colombo: In his 40s and an active politician, veteran batsman Sanath Jayasuriya today returned to the Sri Lankan One-day and Twenty20 cricket side after more than a year for the series against England later this month.
The left-hander, who turns 42 on June 30, has been picked to replace Upul Tharanga, who is facing disciplinary action for testing positive for a banned substance during the World Cup.
Jayasuriya, now a Member of Parliament for the ruling United People`s Freedom Alliance, was last seen in action in an ODI in India in 2009, which was abandoned due to a poor pitch, where he scored 31 runs.
Ever since the news of Tharanga`s failed dope test came out, there was speculation of Jayasuriya returning to the Lankan squad.
He was excluded from the World Cup team and also failed to retain his place in the Indian Premier League side Mumbai Indians.
Jayasuriya retired from Test cricket in 2007 with 6973 runs in 110 matches at an average of 40. His left-arm spin also came in handy for his team and he picked up 98 wickets.
In the 444 ODIs he played before this comeback, Jayasuriya made 13,428 runs at an average of 32 and a strike rate of over 91.
The veteran was left out of the list of 20 players who were offered central contracts by Sri Lanka Cricket in 2010. Though he was named in the provisional squad of 30 for the 2011 World Cup, he did not make it to the final 15.
The iconic batsman was a part of Sri Lanka`s 1996 World Cup winning side and was in fact instrumental in guiding the team to its maiden trophy.
Apart from Jayasuriya, the squad announced today didn`t have many surprises with Dimuth Karunaratne, a 23-year-old left-handed opening batsman, being the only uncapped player.
Thilina Kandamby, the left handed middle order batsman was named captain Tillakaratane Dilshan`s deputy. Angelo Mathews, injured since the World Cup, makes a comeback subject to fitness.
Sri Lanka Squad for the ODI and Twenty20 series against England: Tillakaratne Dilshan (Captain), Thilina Kandamby (Vice Captain), Sanath Jayasuriya, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh
Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeewan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suraj Randiv, Rangana Herath, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando.