Sri Lankan batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan expressed his happiness for his contribution to Sri Lanka cricket after hanging his boots from One-Day International following the first three ODIs against Australia. One of the most devastating batsmen of this generation, Dilshan scored 42 runs in his final match. While the Sri Lankan team failed to give one of the finest batsmen of their country a fitting goodbye, there is no denying the fact that the inventor of ‘Dilscoop’ will always be remembered fondly by cricket fans all over the world.
“I took the decision a few days back. (I’m) really happy with the way I finished, really happy with what I did for Sri Lanka cricket. Just like my Test retirement, one morning I woke up, on the 25th, and realised this was the time to go. I think it’s the right decision, the way I finished my career,” Dilshan said while being honoured during the presentation ceremony after the game.
Dilshan, who made his ODI debut against Zimbabwe in 1999, played as a middle-order batsman in his early years. In 2007, he and Sanath Jayasuriya opened the innings for their country and there was no looking back for him. He scored 10,290 runs and took 106 wickets in an illustrious ODI career.
“I’m really happy I contributed in all three departments. I discussed it (retirement) with my wife and other people,” he said.
“There is also no cricket for almost six months after this and it’s a good time for giving youngsters a chance. If a youngster can take Sri Lankan cricket forward and score some runs, I’ll watch it at home and be happy,” Dilshan reckoned.
Talking about his roller-coaster of a career, Dilshan said:”When I started in 1999 I was a youngster. Every moment I wanted to do something for the side. If I failed in batting, I wanted to bowl or contribute in some other way. Even today I didn’t feel I’m old but I’ve taken this decision and I’m happy. It’s not easy after a 17-year career.
“Around 2008 the selectors dropped me, not taking me to the Australia tour. Then I thought I could do more in the side. I called Mahela, the captain at that time, and said don’t pick me as a middle-order batsman and pick me as an opener. He said, ‘okay, so go and open in domestic competition’. In the first game, I scored 190 and finished most games 30 or 40 overs. Then I went to Pakistan and scored well. Since then I have continued to bat at the top,” added Dilshan.
Dilshan’s will wear the Sri Lankan jersey for last time in the two T20Is against Australia, scheduled for September 6 and 8 in Colombo and Pallekele respectively.