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Atapattu calls time on Test career

Senior Sri Lankan opening batsman Marvan Atapattu announced his retirement from international cricket in Hobart on Tuesday.

The 36-year-old opener issued an open letter to Duleep Mendis, chief executive of Sri Lanka Cricket, informing him of his decision.

Atapattu raised a storm during the first Brisbane Test against Australia earlier this month when he called his national selectors “muppets headed by a joker.”

The former skipper hit out at the politics that he said were ruining Sri Lankan cricket and let his frustration out on the selection panel, which initially overlooked the right-hander for the two-Test tour to Australia.

He was only added to the squad when Sri Lanka’s sports minister intervened and he cemented a place in the Test side with good form after premier batsman Kumar Sangakarra was injured.

The Sri Lankan board ruled out sending Atapattu home during the series, which Australia won 2-0 in Hobart on Tuesday, and said the matter would be dealt with after the tour.

But Atapattu got in first with the announcement of his retirement.

Atapattu will now not feature in next month’s three-Test home series against England.

He scored 51 in the first innings in Brisbane and 80 in the second innings in Hobart, and is reportedly interested in playing club cricket in Sydney.

Atapattu bows out after 90 Tests since 1990, scoring 5,422 runs at 38.73.

Skipper Mahela Jayawardene paid tribute to the opener and said it had been an emotional dressing room after the 96-run loss to Australia.

“It’s emotional. It was a bit of a surprise for us as well because he made a strong comeback after not playing for some time and was very determined to show what he was capable of,” Jayawardene said.

“He proved that to a lot of people. The work ethic he had was incredible. It’s sad, but he made a very good speech in the dressing room.

“He’s got a lot of future plans. I wish him the best.”

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