London: Sri Lanka's most prolific Test and One-Day batsman Sanath Jayasuriya will join the squad currently touring England after confirming on Wednesday that he has reversed a decision to retire.
On the eve of the first Test match at Lord's, Jayasuriya, 36, handed a letter confirming he will be available for Test cricket to Sri Lanka cricket board chief executive Duleep Mendis.
Chairman of selectors Asantha de Mel met Jayasuriya and an emergency selection meeting was convened in the afternoon during which government approval was obtained for him to be sent to England immediately.
Jayasuriya's decision came too late for his inclusion in the first Test team but he will be available for the remaining two Tests beginning with the second at Edgbaston starting on May 25.
The news from Colombo emerged while the team were practising at Lord's and came as a surprise to the team management.
"I haven't been told so I don't know," team manager Michael Tissera said.
Jayasuriya, a flamboyant left-hand bat, has scored 6,613 runs in 102 tests at an average of 41.59. He retired after dislocating his thumb in the second Test against Pakistan.
The first indication that Jayasuriya might be reconsidering his decision came in an interview with de Mel in the Sunday Island newspaper last weekend.
De Mel told the paper Jayasuriya had been forced to retire by former chairman of selectors Lalith Kaluperuma.
"I have very reliable information that he was forced to retire," de Mel said. "On this instance he was forced to retire and for me it's totally wrong.
"He's a proven player and still has a lot of cricket in him."
De Mel was also critical of Sri Lanka's Australian coach Tom Moody, comparing him unfavourably with his predecessor and compatriot John Dyson.
Moody was forced on Tuesday to deny reports that he had lodged an official complaint about de Mel's remarks and said he had not discussed the issue.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Moody was again asked about Jayasuriya and again he said he knew nothing about his possible addition to the squad.
"I haven't had direct contact," he said. "Nothing has been said but who knows? I haven't spoken to anybody about that."
Moody did acknowledge that the speculation could be upsetting for his players.
"I suppose it's something in the back of their minds," he said. "But there's no point in looking over your shoulder."
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