What’s the matter with cricketers retiring way earlier in International Cricket? Do the National Cricket Boards pressurize them? Are the players only interested in lucrative T20 leagues? Or have the fitness test for national teams got way too harder, to the point that high-profile cricketers are losing passion for representing the country?
These questions are raised every time a talented cricketer calls it a day on international cricket way too soon. AB de Villiers is the prime example, perhaps the man most responsible for starting such debates, raising such doubts. Just days ago, de Kock announced retirement from Test Cricket stating that he needs to be with his family often more now. Latest entry to this long list is Bhanuka Rajapaksa, the swashbuckling left-handed Sri Lankan. Aged just 30, Rajapaksa has handed a letter of resignation to Sri Lankan Cricket, citing “family obligations.”
“I have very carefully considered my position as a player, husband and am taking this decision looking forward to fatherhood and associated familial obligations,” SLC cited Rajapaksa’s resignation letter as stating. Despite only a short period on the international stage, Rajapaksa has had his fair share of career highs and lows. Known for his explosive middle-order hitting, the left-handed batter first made news as a promising schoolboy cricketer. He most notably finished as Sri Lanka’s top run scorer in the 2010 Under-19 World Cup.
New Fitness Requirments too harsh for players?
Much of the noise surrounding the 30-year-old though has come from his clashes with the board surrounding his fitness. He was fined US$ 5000 in July last year after he criticised the board for his omission from the national team in an interview. This prompted then head coach Mickey Arthur to hit back, raising voice against Rajapaksa’s attitude. Rajapaksa had failed a mandatory skinfold test, while was also pulled up for poor weight management and substandard fielding.
Former Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga has been one of the notable voices asking Rajapaksa to reconsider his decision. “Representing your country at International level is not an easy task and players always face so many challenges. I truly believe that @BhanukaRajapak3 has a lot more to give to Sri Lankan cricket and I request him to reconsider his decision to retire from International cricket,” Malinga tweeted.