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Jayasuriya got a taste of the traditional and the modern during his visit to Karachi. -Photo by APP

On his last day in Karachi Sanath Jayasuriya was a happy man. The cricketing icon from Sri Lanka was smiling again after wearing a grumpy look following the horrendous lbw decision against him by umpire Saleem Badar in the final exhibition T20 match on Sunday night.

Jayasuriya spent nearly two hours shopping in one of the new malls built on the Clifton beach and was truly amazed at what he saw. “I was stunned to see the mall. It is huge and is comparable to ones around the world.”

The former Sri Lankan captain filled nearly ten suitcases as he went on a shopping spree, the word is that he loves to shop in Pakistan and on the last day of a hectic four day tour he decided to indulge in one of his biggest passions, second only to hitting big sixes.

Whilst he prepared to leave the hotel and make his way to the airport, a security officer deployed there stated that Jayasuriya is a real shopaholic.

“When Sri Lanka traveled to Pakistan four years ago he was a real pain for us, every day he wanted to shop and we had to escort him to various malls across the city,” the officer joked.

Meanwhile, other than the umpiring howler, the man who spent nearly 20 years playing international cricket around the world had a memorable time in Pakistan. The captain of the international stars team that played two T20s over the weekend in Karachi stated that he would want to see international cricket return to the country immediately.

“I had a memorable time here. I would like to convey this to the rest of the cricketing world that cricket must return to Pakistan. The love and affection we were shown by the big crowd in both games is a clear indication that the fans of the game in the country are keen on the return of international cricket and are passionate about the game.”

He added that he was happy to make a contribution to the cause of the game in the country and feels that Sri Lankans owe it to Pakistan for the support that they were given during the 30-year war with Tamil Tigers.

“Pakistan supported us wholeheartedly during the war in Sri Lanka; we need to do the same and support them when they need us,” he stated.

Jayasuriya, who was the first Sri Lankan to score a triple century in Test cricket, also thanked the organizers who made this trip possible for him and vowed to return whenever an opportunity arose.

“I want to thank the government of Sindh, Dr. Shah and Bobby (Badar Refaie) who made it possible for this event to take place, I am keen on returning to Pakistan and if given a chance to take part in the Pakistan Premier League I would be as keen as anyone to make a mark.”

On a passing note, Jayasuriya mentioned the attack on the Sri Lankan team that caused the cessation of international cricket in the country. He thinks that the scars of the players involved have worn off considerably but they need time before they return to Pakistan.

“I think the players who were attacked in Lahore are still apprehensive about touring Pakistan, we need to understand their mindset. However, I will speak to them too and am confident that in due course they would be willing to travel and play here.”