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Jehan Mubarak: After 30, you're forced to think about retirement

All-rounder Jehan Mubarak provides a glimpse on how cricketers are treated in Sri Lanka

Jehan Mubarak would be one of those rare Sri Lankan international cricketers to work with grassroot kids despite being in the scheme of things for the national team.

Sri Lankan cricketer Jehan Mubarak plays with a football during a practice session at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in July, 2015, ahead of the third Test match against Pakistan. PIC/AFP
Sri Lankan cricketer Jehan Mubarak plays with a football during a practice session at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in July, 2015, ahead of the third Test match against Pakistan. PIC/AFP

Last July, Mubarak was recalled to the Test team after eight years. The all-rounder played against Pakistan. He also played in two Tests (Galle and Colombo, PSS) against India in August.

Mubarak works with orphanages back home to help kids gain confidence in playing cricket. It is the same intention that brought the 35-year-old to play in a local T20 tournament at Police Gymkhana yesterday. “It is charity for me.

I don’t take money to play in such tournaments. It is something I do as a service. I look at helping those youngsters who don’t get enough opportunities to make a case for themselves,” said Mubarak, who will represent Ghatkopar Jets in the Mitsui Shoji T20 tournament at Police Gymkhana.

Mubarak eyes coaching
Mubarak gave a glimpse of how cricket is run in Sri Lanka. Unlike in India where international cricketers have the freedom to take a call on their retirement, Mubarak said it is sometimes forced upon in Sri Lanka. “You’re forced to think about it (retirement) in SL because once you past 30, there’s an impression that you are beyond your best stage and that there’s a tendency to look for young cricketers. So, I’m keeping an eye on other options as well,” Mubarak said.

Coaching is one option Mubarak he’s eyeing. “Maybe, that’s one thing that I’m thinking of. But I haven’t given it too much thought. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there,” he said.

Sri Lanka seem to struggle with the retirements of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. To make it worse, playing musical chairs with the selection committee is not helping Sri Lanka cricket stabilise. It was evident with the way they set their campaign to defend World T20 title, losing in the league stages itself.

‘Focus on cricket’
“Maybe, it affects, but in this region, it happens a lot. A lot of changes, it comes with the territory. Change in the Board, committees change, captains change. As cricketers, those are external things that should not affect us.

“We go there, we have to concentrate on cricket. That’s what we do. We try not to worry about those external things,” said Mubarak.

As far as handling the transition phase is concerned, Mubarak called for patience. “As long as we stick to one thing, we will get results in the end. It’s hard to say this is right (or) this is wrong. Each one has a theory and a policy behind it,” he concluded.

Mubarak's cricket stats

Tests - 13
Runs - 385
Average - 17.50
Highest - 49
Strike rate - 43.50

ODIs - 40
Runs - 704
Average - 22.70
Highest - 72
Strike rate - 63.13

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