Sanath Jayasuriya has recalled the three seasons he spent playing for Mumbai Indians, stating the team is like a family to him and the city close to his heart. He went on to reveal his experiences from the time, including those of playing alongside Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh.
Sanath Jayasuriya was one of the pioneers of an aggressive style of cricket that has become the norm in today's T20 era. He had nearly 7,000 runs for Sri Lanka in Tests at a strike rate of 65, while the 13,000 ODI runs were struck at rates over 90. He was a natural fit for the game's shortest format and therefore thrived in it immediately, ending up playing over 100 games in the format maintaining a strike rate of 140.
The Lankan legend is mostly remembered for his stint with the Mumbai Indians among all franchises he played for as he spent the first three seasons of the Indian Premier League with them. Across 2008, '09 and '10, the 53-year-old had 768 runs at a strike rate of 144. He was also the first ever centurion for the Mumbai side, scoring an unbeaten 114 to take them to their first win over the Chennai Super Kings. Jayasuriya has revealed he maintains deep connections with the club and it was their freedom that allowed him to play his best game.
“Mumbai is my second home. In and out we were there and playing. The team and the team owners were really good and they looked after all the players. It’s like a family,” he was quoted as saying in an interview with Sportskeeda.
“It’s about keeping things simple. We didn't complicate things and they always wanted me to play my natural game. So I needed to be smart to make sure that I tried and get a big score,” Jayasuriya added.
Along with Sachin Tendulkar, Jayasuriya formed one of the most fearsome opening pairs in IPL history. The two legends demolished bowlers at will when they got going and were covered capably in the bowling department with the presence of Harbhajan Singh.
“Batting with Sachin was quite relaxing as he would always come and say what to do. He always kept talking about ways to execute and win matches,” Jayasuriya recalled
“Harbhajan Singh always used to come up with nice humour, making us laugh all the time and he kept the dressing room alive,” he concluded.