Colombo: Sri Lanka's new chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya on Wednesday denied plans to target senior players in a major overhaul of the national team. "Straight away you can't make big changes," Jayasuriya said at his first meeting with reporters here after he was made the chief selector Monday, leading a five-member panel of former cricket players.
"The big task is to give confidence to the existing players in the team. It is wrong to say I have been appointed to remove certain players," he said. Jayasuriya, the 43-year-old star from the 1996 World Cup-winning Sri Lankan team, dismissed reports that he would axe Jayawardene and Sangakkara.
There was speculation that Jayasuriya, now a ruling party MP, would target both Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. The two senior players had opposed Jayasuriya being retained in the national team for the World Cup in 2011 which ended the former captain's international career.
One of the first tasks for Jayasuriya's panel is to pick a successor to Jayawardene ahead of the upcoming Bangladesh tour. Jayasuriya, however, said that Sri Lankan players lacked "passion" for the game and he wanted to encourage youngsters while having a healthy mix of senior players in the national team.
He said the selection panel would formally begin its work from tomorrow. Jayasuriya's new panel replaced the previous selection panel headed by Asantha de Mel.