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Sri Lanka in Australia 2012-13

Jayawardene to decide on future after Australia tour

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

December 3, 2012

Comments: 33 | Text size: A | A

Angelo Mathews and Mahela Jayawardene at a training session, Colombo, April 2, 2012
Mahela Jayawardene: "I feel that it would be better for Mathews to be captain while there are some senior hands around in the team to help him rather than him taking over when there is no one" © AFP
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Mahela Jayawardene will seriously re-assess his future as Sri Lanka's captain and as an international cricketer at the end of the tour of Australia.

"I am going to take it one series at a time especially after the Australian tour I will have time to think," he said. "I took on the responsibility to lead the team for one year and that will end after the Australian tour."

He was speaking before Sri Lanka left for Australia on a tour which includes a series of three Tests, five one-day internationals and twoTwenty20 internationals.

"(After the tour) I can sit back and think what I want to achieve not just for myself but for the team as well. I have always said that I am not a guy who will just hang around for the sake of playing. If the youngsters take on the responsibility and do the job for Sri Lanka then I will be very happy to step aside and give them that opportunity but at the same time I don't want the team in a situation where it will have a harmful effect.

"I want to make that transition as smooth as possible. I don't want to let go all the good things that's been done all these years and just walk away from that. I will sit down and talk to a few people that I talk to usually when it comes to taking a decision and have a chat with the selectors as well especially with the captaincy position, then it will be much easier for me to make a call on what I want to do in my career."

Jayawardene is of the view that it would be the right time to hand over the captaincy to his deputy Angelo Mathews who has been groomed for the position over the past year or so. "Angelo hasn't had the experience of leading the team at international level I agree but the way he led the provincial and SLPL teams to reach the final was most commendable.

"As a deputy he has contributed on the field and off the field and that is something that the public and others don't see. He is very mature. The other important thing is he's earned the respect of all the players, the younger and older players.

"In a way personally I feel that it would be better for him to be captain while there are some senior hands around in the team to help him rather than him taking over when there is no one. You can look at it in different ways.

"You never know whether he can handle the situation unless you give him that opportunity. There were a few issues when I took over the captaincy and to a certain extent I've been able to settle them. The team is more focused on what they want to achieve now. It is a much settled set-up. It could be the right time to give Angelo the captaincy."

One of the priorities of the team is to win a Test in Australia. It is an achievement that has eluded many past Sri Lankan captains. Whether the present team has it in them to tame Australia at this moment of time seems questionable.

"No one gave us a chance to win in South Africa they were the No. 1 team and to beat them on their home soil was a very big achievement," Jayawardene said. "We have the capacity and the talent to go and win a match but how consistently we can do it is something we have to challenge ourselves, that's where we lack. We are definitely in a position to go and beat Australia and put pressure on them.

"When we played Australia in the last one-day series we actually handled their bowlers in their conditions. We do play much better when we are in that kind of situation when it is more challenging and the conditions tough. We've shown that in South Africa and in Australia in the ODI series when the Indians got bamboozled against the same attack we were beating. We didn't perform against New Zealand when we had a bad Test match. We had a couple of sessions that we didn't play well. It doesn't mean that if we challenge their (Australian) bowling unit and if we adapt and play better cricket there we can't hold them on level terms.

"It's very much a mental thing. You have to be mentally stronger to beat Australia. They will come at us. Everyone will know what you have to do in Australia so knowing how you tackle that situation is the most important thing. In a way it's like when you know what going to happen you sometimes know too much about it and then you fall into a trap rather than just concentrate on your strengths. That would be the way to go."

Whether Sri Lanka wins a Test in Australia or not Jayawardene stated that there was no substitute to winning a fifty-over World Cup. "Ask any international cricketer, winning a 50-over World Cup will be one of their priorities. That would always be my disappointment if I don't win a World Cup before I retire. Definitely winning a Test in Australia would be brilliant. We won a Test match in West Indies we've done that in South Africa, in New Zealand and in England. We haven't won a Test in Australia and India so we must try and get those two opportunities before I hang up."

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Posted by ygkd on (December 4, 2012, 8:03 GMT)

Australia is hard to beat at home, but if they've been vulnerable at any time in the past 20 years it is right now. Sri Lanka, however, do not have the ideal preparation - one 3-day game in Canberra isn't good enough. I just hope they can hit the ground running, because last time they were here (for an ODI series, I think) SL looked the better side. Personally, I'm looking forward to potentially a big series by Chandimal. If he was Australian, I doubt he'd even be a state player, because I don't know that we have the system that can successfully identify and nurture his ilk. And if I'm right, that deficiency is a crying shame. As for Mathews, he will probably be a fine captain, but he still has to, if he can, BOWL more! Sri Lanka need him taking wickets. Otherwise, he'll probably end up like Watson.

Posted by SLWATERBOY on (December 4, 2012, 6:25 GMT)

Some of you guys has to get your facts right. Mahela is not 36 years old right now. He is only 34. He will be 36 plus if he would play by 2015. Don't worry Mahela will leave at the right time. He will not hold on or block any of the younger players chances either. BUT Mahela will NOT LEAVE just like that IF he feels the Chandimal and CO is not ready to take the challenge.

Posted by Sageleaf on (December 4, 2012, 5:43 GMT)

Mahela is one of the best captains SL ever produced. I was lucky to have a chat before his departure to Australia, at the CMB airport. I know Mahela, Sanga and Dilshan has done great service to SL cricket but when aging your reflexes become little slower, that the fact and no one could escape. You have to train even harder to maintain consistency. I love Mahela, Sanga and Dilshan but at the same time if they don't perform well I'm one of the guys who will criticize them openly. I know it's not fare because I don't play the game and its easier said and done. But it's time for SL to go on a different avenue and Angelo to lead the side after the Aussie tour. Mahela, Sanga and Dilshan can assess their options and play any format accordingly. SL needs to breed in young blood and challenge their capacity. I also strongly feel SL might record their first victory over Australia in Aussie land for the first time under Mahela. No one can under estimate the heart of a true champion like Mahela.

Posted by denwarlo70 on (December 4, 2012, 5:34 GMT)

Asking a series win down under is too far fetched. I want to see a test win, just one test win down under. We've proved ourselves in the shorter format down under sending home bigger opponent and overrated opponents in many triangular series played there, we need to win a test down under and as I said, I'm hoping that would be achieved in this series. Thank you from a SL cricket fan

Posted by Test-is-the-best on (December 4, 2012, 2:32 GMT)

Mahela's intention to retire to give opportunities to youngsters is appreciable. The test team has got 5 veteran players age over 34 years ( Dilshan,Samaraweera, Mahela, Sangakkara & Herath). Its not easy to groom youngsters to fill these voids straightaway. Iremember Mahela backed the decision to cancel some test matches next year to stengthen the financial status of SLC. This will definitely endanger the future of youngsters and SL cricket. I belive this would not be better than the post retirement era of MIGHTY West Indies after the retirement of Sir. VIV Richards/Andy Roberts/Malcolm Marshall/Desmond Haynes /Gordon Greenige etc.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 2:22 GMT)

hey guys stop predicting the result its too early.I can feel bit lucky this time coz newly laid pitch on hobart most probably result will depend on luck.sydney bit help spinners and no test in perth,gabba so we will have chance to win a test .we clearly know sl players can be back to their normal performance levels within one match. So.....

Posted by ashangamage on (December 3, 2012, 18:17 GMT)

good move..but not only for mahela, like to see sanga ,dilishan, kallis,chandrapaul, also retire with more respect..

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 16:26 GMT)

Mahela should be concentrating on his retiremant.He is 36 years old right now.His performance has reduced through this year very clearly. When the next world cup is played he will be 39 years old. So players like Chandimal should be given more chances now. Jayawardane is blocking the oprtunaties for youngsters to perform.

Posted by 23061985 on (December 3, 2012, 15:58 GMT)

Thx to mahela,today we are in a gud position,please sir,reconsider about captaincy,we need your service more to srilanka.Thank you very much and also wish you all the best fr aussie tour

Posted by   on (December 3, 2012, 15:54 GMT)

Damn shame! The last player to play under Arjuna Ranatunga. With him, ends an era in Sri Lanka cricket

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