Jayasuriya still hopes to play in the 2011 World Cup for Sri Lanka [GALLO/GETTY]
Veteran Sri Lanka cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya is set to enter politics by taking part in the upcoming parliamentary polls in April.

Jayasuriya is aiming to become a Member of Parliament under the ruling coalition United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) in the south coast district of Matara, his hometown, after cricket authorities cleared his bid to stand.

Jayasuriya said he accepted an invitation from President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the April election in Matara.

"He (Rajapaksa) requested me to contest from Matara. I thought about it and decided I could help the people only through entering politics,'' Jayasuriya said.

"Matara needs a lot of help, we need to look after the people every way.''

Balancing act

The 40-year-old was recently dropped from the Sri Lanka ODI team but he has no plans to end his cricketing career despite his entry into politics.

"I have no plans to retire from international cricket at this stage as I believe I can successfully balance the workload of playing for Sri Lanka while also serving the people of Matara as an MP," Jayasuriya said.

Cricket board chief Somachandra de Silva says that he has agreed to Jayasuriya's request for permission to stand for parliament because the player's contract doesn't stipulate against him entering politics.

Jayasuriya said that he was confident of being able to balance politics and sports.

"I have retired from Test cricket and I will have some time to be with the people of Matara,'' said Jayasuriya adding that he is not planning on retiring from international cricket until the World Cup in 2011.

Jayasuriya's marathon international cricket career started in 1989 and has spanned 110 Tests and a record 444 one-day internationals.

Source: Agencies