Dhaka: Sri Lanka suffered a double blow over the weekend with two of its cricketing stalwarts -- Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene -- deciding to retire from Twenty20 internationals after the ongoing World T20 in Bangladesh.
While veteran left-hander Sangakkara informed thw world of his decision in an interview to a newspaper on Sunday, Jayawardene announcement came a day later in the form of a tweet from International Cricket Council (ICC).
36-year-old Sangakkara said he wanted to make way for younger players in the national team, but made himself available to play the shortest format in franchise-based competitions.
Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara
"Definitely, without a doubt, this is my last World T20," Sangakkara told the Colombo-based Sunday Island newspaper. "I won't be playing any T20 internationals after this.
"It's sad, but that's the truth. It's not the end of my T20 career though. I would like to play franchise-based T20s. Once your World Cup prospects are over, you should give the next crop of players an opportunity. It's a natural progression."
Sangakkara, under whom Sri Lanka reached the final of the 2009 World Twenty20 in England, has played 50 T20 internationals, scoring 1,311 runs at an average of 32.77 with seven half-centuries.
He has been in prime form of late, smashing a triple-century and a hundred in the second Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong last month.
Jayawardene's decision to reitre from T20 internationals was even more surprising, coming as it did a day after Sangakkara's and also not directly from the player or the Sri Lankan cricket board.
"SL legend @MahelaJay to join @KumarSanga2 in T20I retirement after the #wt20 2014," a tweet from the ICC said.
36-year-old Jayawardene has appeared in all four T20 World Cups till now and 2014 event in Bangladesh will be his last one. He was the captain of the Sri Lankan team which lost in the final of the last T20 World Cup at home against the West Indies.
Jayawardene has played 49 T20Is to date, scoring 1335 runs at 31.78, with a strike rate of 134.17. He has one century in the format -- a 100 which is also his highest T20 score -- which came against Zimbabwe in Guyana during the 2010 World T20. He has scored eight half-centuries in T20 international matches.
Jayawardene made his T20I debut in June 2006 against England at Southampton. He led the Delhi Daredevils side in the IPL last season but found no buyers in the players' auction this year.
Sri Lanka, the world's number one T20 side, are drawn with South Africa, England, New Zealand and a yet-to-be decided qualifier in the Super-10 round of the World Twenty20.