Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart

Jayawardene to step down as captain after tour

Andrew Fernando in Hobart

December 13, 2012

Comments: 63 | Text size: A | A

Mahela Jayawardene has confirmed he will step down from the captaincy at the end of Sri Lanka's tour of Australia - a move he had hinted at for some months now. Jayawardene's second stint at the helm began in January, when he was called in to replace Tillakaratne Dilshan. The fifth ODI on January 23 in Hobart will be his final match as captain.

Vice-captain Angelo Mathews is the most likely successor, and Jayawardene said his decision to step down was largely borne from a desire to assist Mathews with leadership in Mathews' first phase as captain. Jayawardene will continue to be available for selection in all forms of cricket.

"I took over the captaincy for 12 months and that ends after this series, so I don't want to continue to captain Sri Lanka after this tour. This will be my last," Jayawardene said on the eve of the first Test. "I was going to wait until the end of the series but I thought I might as well do it now, having had a chat to the selectors."

Jayawardene had resigned from the captaincy in 2009 after four years in the job, and was reinstalled by the selectors after Dilshan's leadership had proven unsuccessful. The team had had a poor stretch of results since the 2011 World Cup, amid financial distress for the board and administrative tumult in Sri Lanka Cricket's first election in seven years.

Jayawardene's leadership appeared to restore Sri Lanka's on-field fortunes almost immediately, when they performed creditably in the ODI tri-series in Australia in February. Since then he has also led the side to a home win against then No.1-ranked Test side England, making a critical 180 to set up victory in March, before earning Sri Lanka their first Test series win in three years, in July. Sri Lanka then advanced to the final of the World Twenty20 under his watch, matching the runners-up medals they had also earnt in the 2007 World Cup, during Jayawardene's first stint at the helm.

"I hope I don't get any more SOS calls from them later on," he said. "This year has been brilliant. I've enjoyed and what I've achieved."


Angelo Mathews and Mahela Jayawardene at Sri Lanka's new team sponsor launch event, Colombo, September 7, 2012
Angelo Mathews is the most likely successor to Mahela Jayawardene © Manoj Ridimahaliyadda
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Mathews has been considered for the captaincy as far back as April 2011, when Kumar Sangakkara resigned from the job. Dilshan was considered the safer alternative then, given Mathews' youth and inexperience, but he has become a much more mature player since and has also had a successful brush with leadership in the Sri Lanka Premier League. Mathews was made vice-captain in all forms in July 2011, and has more recently been named Sri Lanka's Twenty20 captain. If he succeeds Jayawardene, he will be Sri Lanka's fourth Test captain in 24 months.

"I think Angelo is the one everyone has earmarked and I think he's good enough. If you see some of the other captains while they were young, you've got [Graeme] Smith, [Stephen] Fleming and a few others around - maybe the first few years will be tough for them, but they'll grow into the job. I think maybe if Angelo gets the opportunity, the transition will be much easier for him because he'll have Kumar, myself and Dilshan around him in tough situations. We can build him through that period and after that he'll be on his own."

Sri Lanka are light on Tests in 2013, thanks to five Tests being removed from their calendar next year, and a home series against Bangladesh will be the new captain's first assignment at the helm. The Champions Trophy looms later in the year however, as well as an ODI tri-series in the West Indies and a full away tour against Pakistan in December. "We don't have a lot of cricket next year - not many big tours," Jayawardene said. "So it will be a nice easy start for Angelo if he takes over."

Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent

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Posted by TYJAY on (December 16, 2012, 1:30 GMT)

Mahela was nick named as Maina during his Nalanda days. We used to hammer him. He is grown a lot since then.

Well good luck. But SL need to look forward beyond Mahela, Sanga and Tilan. I really hope IPL will be banned in SL and players can focus on for SL not their pockets.

Posted by dmqi on (December 15, 2012, 5:48 GMT)

@vinodgupte . Mahela's average is better than Tendulkar's average at the current home series against England in their own backyard and to many he is a better player, well respected all over the world.

Posted by Extraz on (December 14, 2012, 8:44 GMT)

Great selfless decision by Mahela one of most favourite cricketers from the sri lankan team.He's a true gentleman of the game Best of Luck Mahela and sri lanka from Pakistan.@Satanwish...mate we are talking about one of greats of the game show some RESPECT!!

Posted by soorajiyer on (December 14, 2012, 3:35 GMT)

He is giving up captaincy because he doesnt want to remain the captain.. He was asked to captain even when he was not interested. Lets face it, SL dont have a leader like him.. He can continue to be one for as long as he wants...

And same is the case with India too my friends.. We dont have a captaincy material player in test cricket.. So lets salute a guy of this calibre..

Mahela, Sanga, Sachin, Kallis all would be gone soon my friends.. Ponting is already gone and then we will see the quality of cricket left :(

Posted by Mahaanama on (December 14, 2012, 3:06 GMT)

I watched (and still remember) the first test match Mahela played in 1997 where SL thumbed India by scoring highest innings total(952) in the history. Now he steps down as captain. I can't believe how fast the time has flown.

Posted by On_The_Boundary on (December 14, 2012, 2:18 GMT)

Looking forward to seeing Jayawardene in full flight during the Aussie tour.

Not too many runs though, I want the Aussies to win!

Posted by LeftBrain on (December 14, 2012, 0:21 GMT)

This is what a true leader do. Think about future of country first and self glory second. Mahela has won my respect even more, and I am not Sri Lankan.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 22:37 GMT)

@Narbavi & Vineesh Vedsen: if Mahela is quitting due to 'cowardice' at the prospect of being defeated by the Aussies, it stands to reason that he'd have resigned the captaincy *before* the series rather than afterwards, doesn't it? The logical thought processes of Indian cricket fans never cease to amaze me.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 22:19 GMT)

A typically gracious & unselfish act by Mahela, one of the true gentlemen of the game. Contrast the attitudes of genuine team players like Mahela & Sangakkara with those of Dhoni & Tendulkar, who are hanging on to their places in the Indian Test team long past their sell-by dates & to the detriment of the team as a whole: selfish players intent only on maximising commercial endorsements & personal records. Watching Mahela, Sangakkara & Dilshan bat has been one of the cricketing joys of the past decade. Let's hope Sri Lanka can find adequate replacements for them. Chandimal looks as if he's cut from the same cloth, but where are the others?

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 21:13 GMT)

there are no replacments for great captains.. in my time i have seen border, graham smith,imran,arjuna, marvan were leading their own manners. trained the leaders like no one else . some players lucky enough to lead own teams to pinnacle of world cup win. i know you were so unlucky twice. but the history of cricket will talk about mahela a lot as captain and one of the best ever slip fielder .you are among very less captains in the world who can predict a score once checking a pitch .other than handling of malinga your bawler selection was the best .i personally like your simplicity. you were the same man we met at school time for ever .there is a time for every one . your time is not over for many years as a cricketer . it is the duty of authorities to talents of you, sanga as senior players for next 3 years and then as coaches next . we dont have to direct you all like vassy to lead other countries to beat our selves in our own land .

Posted by piyo_thanda_jiyo_thanda on (December 13, 2012, 19:31 GMT)

@Perera32 - Not sure if Mahela has been " great captain" and Dhoni "very lucky at times". Since you brought it up, I should tell you that Dhoni has won mutiple world cups, and Mahela has managed to CHOKE them all.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 17:24 GMT)

dhoni is not a captain.....mahela is true captain in any day dhoni is waiting captain have to make things happen

Posted by Cannuck on (December 13, 2012, 16:46 GMT)

It's ironic & laughable when "some" IND fans call MJ a coward for stepping down. Really? He didn't plan this yesterday anticipating a whitewash that may or may not happen, but an year ago when he took over the Captaincy. You may call him many things, but not a coward, because he is a man of his word. He said he would consider, & he has considered, made the decision. Many outside SL seems to respect that, except a few delusional neighbours. They need to address their own Skip, who is the real coward for not facing reality, giving excuses when his team is getting pummelled, bamboozled, whitewashed & humiliated. In subcontinent culture, specially in SL leaving a high position for the right reasons, be it sports or politics is EXTREMELY rare. Even great Arjuna & Marvan didn't know when to step aside without being pushed aside. Therefore people like Mahela, Sanga needs to be admired for doing the right thing & putting their team first. I have always written here, that MJ will leave on time!

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 16:36 GMT)

And also Mahela now should be concentrating on his retiremant..Almost 36 old now. When next world cup is played he will be 39 years old.

So now it's better to give more chances to young players like Chandimal to groom..We feel Mahel is blocking young players opertunaties to perform.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 16:26 GMT)

People do really need to be more charitable to Dilshan who led to one of only two away test wins by SL, that too against SA. He got the captaincy yanked out just when things were beginning to turn around. How do you measure success?

Posted by jackthelad on (December 13, 2012, 15:35 GMT)

Respect to Mahela, not only for his achievements but for having the integrity to stand down when he no longer feels he wants the job, and while a blooded youngster is ready to take over the reins. Good luck to Angelo - he knows he's got a big job ahead of him, but he's demonstrated the character to succeed.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 15:22 GMT)

Mahela probably is one of the best captains ever, especially tactic wise... well done Mahela

Posted by VinodGupte on (December 13, 2012, 15:11 GMT)

will he average more than 14 on the tour? i doubt. he can score at the SSC, colombo but not anywhere else.

Posted by nickcarter80 on (December 13, 2012, 15:01 GMT)

Great captain, great player above all a great human being. Great advice to people like Dhoni and Sachin (since they have not yet learned it from Dravid and Lakshman)

Posted by MrPud on (December 13, 2012, 14:32 GMT)

Saw his first ODI hundred at Adelaide against England in the match where Murali was no balled... a special innings by a special cricketer. Quite fitting that he push forward the next leader while there is plenty of experience to assist. Class all the way. Love the way that SL play. Throw the textbook out the window and promote the unorthodox.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 14:16 GMT)

hats off... mahela... such a great person and leader

Posted by CandidIndian on (December 13, 2012, 13:39 GMT)

Mahela has always been a great leader and pain for the opposition,he is surely amongst the top SL cricketers like Ranatunga, Sanga, Arvinda ,Murali who have great contributions towards SL cricket.I hope Mathews follows his footsteps.

Posted by CandidIndian on (December 13, 2012, 13:38 GMT)

Mahela has always been a great leader and pain for the opposition,he is surely amongst the top SL cricketers like Ranatunga, Sanga, Arvinda ,Murali who have great contributions towards SL cricket.I hope Mathews follows his footsteps.

Posted by Ramansilva on (December 13, 2012, 13:37 GMT)

It will be a very difficult for Anjelo to emulate Mahela, Sanga and great Arjuna. Right now I think SL does not have quality captain material. India is in the same boat so MSD can hang on.

Posted by Prem2248 on (December 13, 2012, 13:36 GMT)

Both P'withana(the Best Outstation S'lboy C'keter of the in 2001) & C'mal (The B' S'lboy C'keter of the 2009) have been known for their consistency from their age of 15. (There're enough similar type of young players than the 3) The same can't be said about the 3 and few other henchmen that have been included in every National Side. Despite their inconsistent performances, they are always given places overlooking promising youngsters. Why some players have represented SL is a puzzle for many fans. At times S'weera Atptu Ajantha's class players were dropped to make way for henchmen. Both S'kara & Prasnna are being in their mid 30 one of them has to make way for C'mal. If I were s'tor I'd drop S'kara, because P'sanna is a techniacally better equipped wkt keeper-batsman got less opportunities to represent the Country. At a time when young S'gara & D'shan couldn't win matches for SL what can we expect more from 36 olds, therefore the youngsters are the best choice for the future.

Posted by Dhushan on (December 13, 2012, 12:27 GMT)

It had to happen sooner rather than later. Although I would have wished to see Mahela at the helm for longer as he has said, better now so that Sanga, Mahela & Dilshan are all there to help Mathews. Hopefully SLC won't throw a curve ball & appoint someone else.

Posted by late--cut on (December 13, 2012, 12:20 GMT)

@satanswish, Narbavi ; Don't you get it ? Its not SL fans defending SL(in this case Mahela) here. Its English fans, Kiwis and many others who r defending SL here and at the same time praising Mahela 'n Co. You know why? Coz they r true cricket fans 'n real gentlemen. Everybody adores Sri Lanka 'n SL cricket coz Sri Lankans talk less and play decent Cricket more. People like Dhoni, Sachin don't have kinda qualities Mahela possesses. They don't wanna step down even though India is getting annihilated by poms in their own backyard in this very moment. They are just hanging on to their dear life. That is Cowardnes ,not steping down for the future of your team. Satanswish, are you alright pal ? It seems you need a reality check.

Posted by Ms.Cricket on (December 13, 2012, 12:12 GMT)

Jayawardene was an over-analyser and this led to many Sri Lanka losing many matches they should have won. You need someone who keeps it simple and clever and Mahela was not one of those.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 11:29 GMT)

Here mahela is not repeating the error which did by great Arajuna ,he wants to groom anji as the captain some more years under him (with out retiring as the captain).Its great to see he learn from Ranatungas mistake thats why he is one of the great captain ever in cricket Erina

Posted by Perera32 on (December 13, 2012, 11:18 GMT)

Mahela has always been a great captain throughout his career. Dhoni has been inconsistent and very lucky at times. In my opinion Mahela's best achievements as captain has been: 2006 England tour (SL won 7-1 tests, odi, t20 combined), World Cup 2007 runners up, 2008 Asia cup winning captain (Used Mendis brilliantly as a tactic), 2012 CB series and 2012 WT20. Im sure Mathews will take Sri lanka to good places in the future.

Posted by Bruisers on (December 13, 2012, 11:14 GMT)

Steps down from captaincy and few months later takes it back.. This is what will happen. LOL.. Mr.MJ, captaincy isn't like playing musical chairs xD

Posted by Perera32 on (December 13, 2012, 11:11 GMT)

A_HTIMAN: You're right and India lost 4-0 to England not 3-0 :p . Dilshan was not a natural leader whereas Mahela and Angelo are good leaders. Indian fans will go on about how Dhoni won in Australia back in 2007/08 but that was because India had great players like VVS, Dravid, In form Tendulkar, Kumble ect ect. But in reality he is a very bad Test batsmen and has lost 8-0 overseas and looks like 3-1 at home to quality sides. Jayawardene is a better captain than Dhoni any day.

Posted by A_HTIMAN on (December 13, 2012, 10:42 GMT)

@Lord.emsworth Absolutely correct. under Dilshan we even had the first T20 win in SL. We lost to Eng 1-0 where number one ranked India went onto a 3-0 defeat

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 10:34 GMT)

@satanswish and there are cowards like satanswish in this world too :P

Posted by lukecannon on (December 13, 2012, 10:05 GMT)

@Narbavi- Yea like Zaheer Khan right? The bowler who's even better than the Great Murali according to you. Hey.. I heard he got dropped ..care to explain that? You clearly are commenting in the wrong articles mate. Atleast these Lankans can win at home. lol @ your overhyped team. I m predicting 3-1 for ENGLAND!!!

Posted by lukecannon on (December 13, 2012, 10:00 GMT)

@satanwish- Did you read the article right? He's stepping down after the aussie tour because he wants to menor mathews in his early days on the job. And this didn't happen overnight. He only took the job for a year after SLC fired Dilshan after SA tour. Your stupidity amazes me.

Posted by Ramansilva on (December 13, 2012, 9:46 GMT)

@satanswish, MJ is not steeping down because he is a coward. He was one of the most successful and fearless in facing Aussies after the Great Arjuna Ranatunga. He knows better than MSD how to react. Read the comment of Kays789 below. That is the reason. That was the reason for Sanga to step down too. But they won't openly say it due to fear.

Posted by yorkslanka on (December 13, 2012, 8:10 GMT)

Mahela, as ever, you are true to word (i.e you said that you would reconsider your position around this time to allow the fools at SLC to try and plan) We Sri Lankans are so grateful for your services to your country and I would be amazed if there is anyone who doesnt agree with me that you have been an ambassador for Sri Lanka on and off the field...The time is right to pass on the reigns to Angelo and we all appreciate that you came back to help your country again when it needed you..Hopefully you will gain some form back for the series and see if off with style..good luck to you in whatever you do- hopefully running SLC and representing us within the ICC...

Posted by SanSL5 on (December 13, 2012, 7:29 GMT)

Thank You Mahela <3

Posted by GlobalCricketLover on (December 13, 2012, 7:27 GMT)

..but Mathews is on the doctor's bench more often than he is on the ground.. they would need to have one more person who can standin for Mathews almost once in every 5-6 matches. What's the longest stretch of matches Mathews played?

Posted by Narbavi on (December 13, 2012, 7:22 GMT)

@toffycoffy: Sorry but there are others like Dravid, Kallis and Kumble to name a few!!

Posted by satanswish on (December 13, 2012, 6:50 GMT)

Giving away captaincy coz he already knows whitewash defeat to come..what a coward!!

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 6:50 GMT)

@Metro-ant, you need to look in to the long term and need to know Angelo Matthews credentiels well. We need to start a building a team of young-youngish players who will be able to represent Sri Lanka with success for many years to come, and hence build a new generation of Sri Lankan Legends. Angelo Matthews is perfect for this havign already captained at international level (all be it at U19 level) and captained his SLPL side to thre final this year, having a level head (won marches for us from the brink of defeat) and offers so much with bat,ball and in the field. We need to build a new side, that's why players such as Eranga, Pradeep, Chandimal,Kanuratne,Thirammane,Dananjaya, Kaushal, Bhanuka Rajapaksa,Sachitra Serasinghe, Angelo Perera, Dulanjana Mendis, and to an extent the already tried and tested Ajantha Mendis and Sachitra Senanayeke as well as countless others.

Posted by denwarlo70 on (December 13, 2012, 6:23 GMT)

So, they did manage to scrap the SA test series next year for that stupid ODI series against India, I quote "Sri Lanka are light on Tests in 2013, thanks to five Tests being removed from their calendar next year," Un quote. It's a shame we cancel test series for ODI's with India. A thoroughly disappointed SL cricket fan

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 6:19 GMT)

Greatest captain of our generation :(

Posted by Lord.emsworth on (December 13, 2012, 6:16 GMT)

'Dilshan's leadership had proven unsuccessful'. SL won a test match against South Africa on South African soil in his tenure as captain. If that wasn't success then success ought to be re-defined. Dilshan lost the captaincy for other reasons...

Posted by Kays789 on (December 13, 2012, 6:03 GMT)

Sri lankan cricket paying the price for having one of the most corrupt governing bodies known to man kind. if it weren't for all these behind-the-scenes shady dealings of the SLC, mahela would've captained (very successfully might i add) for a very very long time.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 5:49 GMT)

We miss your great captaincy Mahela

Posted by jimbond on (December 13, 2012, 5:48 GMT)

I know it would bring him relief, but its sad to see Mahela relinquish captaincy. Easily the best captain internationally for the past several years (after Vaughan). While the other SL captains have not been too bad, Mahela left a huge gap which people like Sangakkara and Dilshan could hardly fill. Hope Mathews or whoever gets the job- does well.

Posted by Metro-ant on (December 13, 2012, 5:32 GMT)

This is just ridiculous SLC. There is no doubting Mathew's potential but tell me how many SL Under 19 players that don't? He has scored 1 century and averages 73 with the ball in 28 matches and he is the man to lead the country in test cricket? I reckon if Shaun Marsh was Sri Lankan, he would have been given the captaincy in all formats!

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 5:00 GMT)

Hats off to you Mahela!!! Did the job, the toughest period, and stepping down as a Gentleman.

Posted by Prabhash1985 on (December 13, 2012, 4:43 GMT)

A great gentleman of our time...

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 3:59 GMT)

He is already creating a ground for himself. He knows he will be whipped there, his batting would suffer too.

Posted by   on (December 13, 2012, 3:50 GMT)

tx Mahela... you are the best.. we salute you!!!

Posted by udarasl on (December 13, 2012, 3:34 GMT)

Need some corrections on "The second Twenty20 at the MCG on January 28 will be his final match as captain". Mahela is no longer the captain of T20 team, therefore his final match as captain should be the last ODI.

Posted by lupin on (December 13, 2012, 3:30 GMT)

one of the greatest capatins in the modern era..Sri lanka is so blessed and privileged to have Maiyya as a player and as a captain..hope he will long serve Sri Lanka Cricket..great inspiring leader..All the best Maiyya

Posted by nzcricket174 on (December 13, 2012, 3:22 GMT)

This is a very good decision by Mahela. Although he could have been a great captain right till the end of his career, he realises that Sri Lanka need a captain groomed by the time these guys retire. From witnessing Mathews bat against New Zealand, he showed maturity and played like a captain should. Best of luck to Sri Lankan cricket.

Posted by lupin on (December 13, 2012, 3:17 GMT)

Mahela has already stepped down from T20 captaincy..so the last match would be the 5th ODI not the 2nd T20..

Posted by 9ST9 on (December 13, 2012, 3:10 GMT)

Mahela was a great leader - it's a pity that SL lost the World T20 final, had they done so it would have been a tribute to an innovative skipper.

Posted by marlon17 on (December 13, 2012, 3:08 GMT)

Good decision by Mahela... :)

Posted by Alexk400 on (December 13, 2012, 3:08 GMT)

Jayawardene is a brilliant mind better tactician than Sangakarra. But he has nothing to show as a result. You are rated by the result you produce. For me jayawardene is better than dhoni any day but dhoni has supreme luck,

Posted by xChaos on (December 13, 2012, 2:38 GMT)

Personally, I really don't like Mathews, from the late games i have seen it seems like he has been kinda off....

Posted by toffycoffy on (December 13, 2012, 2:33 GMT)

What a class act. Most talented/deserving/unlucky player not to have won a world cup yet.

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