After serving Sri Lanka for 17 long years, veteran women cricketer Shashikala Siriwardena decided to hang up her boots. In the ongoing Women’s T20 World Cup, she featured for the last time in a game against Bangladesh on March 02, which the Islanders won by nine wickets.
Siriwardena grabbed 4/16 and won the ‘Player of the Match’ award in her last international game and ended her career on a high note.
The all-rounder revealed that her teammates were the reason that she came back to the national side. She thanked her father and dedicated international career to him.
“It is not easy to go away after playing 17 years of international cricket. Never easy for a sportsperson. I played long, and hence, it’s tough. I love my teammates; it’s due to them that I was able to come back despite getting injured several times. Love you all. I’ll keep in touch with women’s cricket. It’s a long list,” Siriwardena said at the post-match presentation.
“I started playing since I was nine, and it’s not possible to take all the names. Big thanks to my father, he isn’t with me. He is no more, but it’s due to him that I was able to be what I am. My entire career is dedicated to him—also, thanks to my family, husband, who supported me to play after marriage. Thanks to the clubs I played for. My coaches, teammates, support staff, sponsors, SL media, our fans. All the captains I played under, including current captain Chamari Athapaththu. I wish all the best to our team,” she added.
India’s women cricket team also gratified the legendary women cricketer for inspiring and taking women’s cricket to fresh heights.
Thank you for doing what you do best for 17 Years and inspiring so many more to take up the sport. More than cricket, you'll be remembered for the amazing person that you are (:
— Jemimah Rodrigues (@JemiRodrigues) March 3, 2020
Here’s how cricket fraternity reacted on Siriwardena’s farewell:
Congratulations on a great career Shashikala Siriwardena. You have done great service to Sri Lanka and the game. Your inspiration will make strong a whole new generation of young girls and boys to follow in your foot steps. Wishing you the best
— Kumar Sangakkara (@KumarSanga2) March 2, 2020
Wishing Shashikala Siriwardena on her wonderful career… 👍 one of the most talented cricketers SL have produced . All the very best for her future https://t.co/022jFT5HwI
— Mahela Jayawardena (@MahelaJay) March 2, 2020
Weldone Shashikala Siriwardena on a fantastic cricket career. You have been a role model for many young girls to take up Cricket in Sri Lanka. Thank you and all the best
— Rangana Herath (@HerathRSL) March 2, 2020
Congratulations to Shashikala Siriwardene on a splendid career. Bowing out like a true champion in her last game ! A fantastic player, great competitor and a wonderful person . Wishing her the very best in life ! #T20WorldCup2020
— Mithali Raj (@M_Raj03) March 3, 2020
Gestures which legends earn with their on field performances and off field connections. Have a great 2nd innings Shashikala! https://t.co/5PHiZateoo
— Reema Malhotra (@ReemaMalhotra8) March 2, 2020
— Sri Lanka Cricket 🇱🇰 (@OfficialSLC) March 2, 2020