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April 30, 2014
Mahela Jayawardene has played down the impact Paul Farbrace's change of allegiance will have when Sri Lanka tour England this summer. Farbrace was Sri Lanka's coach for a little over three months before he broke his two-year contract to become England's assistant coach shortly before the tour.
"I don't think Paul going to England will affect us that much. All the teams know how we play," Jayawardene told the Daily Mirror. "We just have to adapt to the conditions and keep challenging ourselves to do well. I honestly don't think that's going to affect us."
Farbrace began his tenure as Sri Lanka coach on January 1 and the team lost only one out of 18 matches under his watch, winning the World T20 and Asia Cup. However, while acknowledging Farbrace's skills as a coach, Jayawardene said the process that resulted in those victories had been in place well before Farbrace.
"The team had been together for a long time and we became the number one team [in T20 cricket] before Paul came along. So it's been a gradual process. We worked with Graham [Ford] for two years and things were in place. Personnel and individual players chosen and all that."
"Paul is great guy, he is a good coach. He gives a lot of confidence to the players. That's what he brought to the table. It helped us. There were things in place for some time and the team gradually worked their way through to the World Cup [Twenty20]."
Jayawardene said Farbrace's decision to leave was disappointing but he was not about to dwell on it and stressed the need to move on under new guidance from interim coach Marvan Atapattu and former Surrey coach Chris Adams, who was signed by Sri Lanka Cricket as a consultant for the tour to England.
"As players this is something we can't control obviously. It is disappointing on both sides because we would've loved to have him [Farbrace]," Jayawardene said. "But he had made a decision. I think we just need to move on like we've always done as a team.
"We've got Marvan and the coaches who have been with us for the last two-three years. So there is continuity, which is great. He [Adams] will be a good addition to us - just to get insight of how the wickets are playing, how the conditions are, and for us to keep someone in our corner.
"Preparations have been very good. The practices we've had have been very well organised and a lot of input and practice done with purpose, looking at the conditions in England. Very proactive sessions. I enjoyed that very much."
The upcoming Test tour will be Jayawardene's fifth to England, where he has scored 614 runs in 19 innings at an average of 34.11. "I've always enjoyed playing in England, especially at Lord's. It is one of my favourite venues. We've got some very good young talent and with this young team I am looking forward to the challenge.
Sri Lanka are going to England under Angelo Mathews as captain and a new vice-captain in Lahiru Thirimanne, who replaced Dinesh Chandimal in the role. Jaywardene said Thirimanne was deserving of the additional responsibility. "He had two great years with us. Obviously he has been rewarded for all the good work he has done. He is obviously a very strong player mentally. He has shown that in all forms of the game. He seems a very calm, cool-headed person and obviously the leadership qualities are there. It will be good move for the team."
Sri Lanka's tour begins with two ODIs against Ireland on May 6 and 8, followed by a Twenty20 international and five ODIs against England. The two Tests against England begin on June 12 at Lord's and June 20 at Headingley.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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