Sri Lanka pacer Suranga Lakmal has confirmed that he is set to draw curtains on his career after the upcoming tour of India in February-March 2022.
The 34-year-old submitted a letter to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Wednesday, 2 February, stating his intention to retire and thanking the board for their support over the year.
"I’m indebted to Sri Lanka Cricket for giving me this astonishing opportunity and having faith in me to bring back my motherland honour as it has been absolute pleasure to be associated with the board that shaped my professional life and also enriched my personal development,” said Lakmal in his letter.
"I have nothing but the utmost respect for all my players, coaches, team managers, support staff, administrative staff and all other supportive staff."
In an international career that has spanned over 12 years, Lakmal has so far represented Sri Lanka in 165 international matches across formats, scalping 285 wickets at an average of 34.94. He was a part of the Sri Lanka squad that won the 2014 T20 World Cup.
Lakmal was also the captain of the Sri Lanka Test team, leading the side in five Tests in 2018 in Dinesh Chandimal's absence, of which the Islanders won three matches. He led Sri Lanka to victory in the final Test against West Indies away from home, helping his side draw the series 1-1 while also picking up five wickets.
In his next assignment as captain, Sri Lanka completed a 2-0 whitewash over South Africa at home, making it three wins out of three in his stint as captain. He captained Sri Lanka in the final two Tests at home against England that year, though it was the visitors who emerged victorious, completing a 3-0 whitewash.
Lakmal made his debut for Sri Lanka in 2009 in ODIs, where he went on to play 86 matches and finished with 109 wickets at an average of 32.42. His best spell came against India in Dharamsala in 2017, where he helped knock over the home side for just 112 with bowling figures of 10-4-13-4.
On the same tour, in the first Test in Kolkata, Lakmal finished with figures of 4/26, which at one point read 6-6-0-3, reducing India to 17/3 in the first innings. He picked up three more wickets in the second innings, finishing with seven wickets in the match, his joint-highest wickets in a single match.
In the longer format, the right-arm pacer has 168 wickets in 68 matches at an average of 36.28, which includes four five-fors, with his best figures of 5/47 coming against West Indies in North Sound in 2021. He was an integral part of Sri Lanka's inaugural ICC World Test Championship campaign, finishing as their second-highest wicket-taker with 20 wickets in seven matches.
He will be hoping to add a few more wickets when Sri Lanka clash against India in two Tests in February-March.
"We take this opportunity to wish Lakmal the very best for his future endeavors, and looking forward to seeing him perform for the country during the Sri Lanka Tour of India, if the selectors consider him for the tour," said Ashley De Silva, CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket.
"Lakmal has been an excellent contributor for Sri Lanka Cricket and delivered some memorable spells during his national career, and his services will be remembered well,’’ added De Silva.
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