Indian Premier League 2012 February 5, 2012

Jayawardene eyeing finisher's role at Daredevils

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Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, has said he will complement the big-hitting batsmen at his new IPL franchise, the Delhi Daredevils, and will try to play the role of a finisher. Jayawardene was one of 16 players from the terminated Kochi IPL franchise up for auction yesterday in Bangalore, and was bought by the Daredevils for US$1.4 million, making him the second-most expensive player on the day after Ravindra Jadeja. He said he was looking forward to playing with the likes of Virender Sehwag, David Warner and the newly acquired Kevin Pietersen.

"I will leave those guys to do the big hitting and do what I know best: control the innings and finish off games, if I can," Jayawardene told ESPNcricinfo. "Wherever they want me to bat is fine. I will try and find a role in the team."

The Daredevils struggled to make runs consistently last season, missing out on the playoffs for the first time, but Jayawardene said he was pleased to be part of a franchise with a consistent record. "Obviously, after what happened with Kochi, you hope that someone will pick you up and you get to play in the IPL. Delhi has had four good seasons. It will be good to be part of that."

The scrapping of the Kochi team means the Daredevils will be Jayawardene's third franchise in five years, but he said he was looking forward to the challenge of getting "used to how they do things and understand how they want to play". Describing the IPL season as a "rollercoaster", Jayawardene said the key to a successful season was getting everyone in the squad on the same page and chasing the same goals.

"You have to have a very positive mind to go through these five or six weeks of cricket. It is very arduous. How you manage losing as a team is very important. How you come back and win two games to get the momentum back ... it is a roller coaster. You have to enjoy it. There is no other way of doing it."

The demand for Jayawardene's services is proof that it is not just the thumpers that earn the big bucks in Twenty20 cricket. It helps that he is one of only three batsmen - Chris Gayle and Brendon McCullum are the other two - to have scored a hundred in Tests, ODIs, Twenty20 internationals and IPL games. According to him, the shortest version of the game requires both technical and mental adjustments. "You need to find what your strengths are and any areas in which you can improve. Everything happens so quickly. You have to adjust accordingly and make decisions with a clear mind. Everything you do is not going to be the right thing, but if you have a clear mind and make the adjustments you will do well."

One of the attributes of the IPL is that it gives players from different countries a chance to be on the same team and Jayawardene believes this has had a positive effect on international cricket. "We [the players] understand each other off the field, how we are as team-mates. You have that mutual respect for each other. It has definitely helped to have a better understanding of teams and individual players."

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • rony87 on February 8, 2012, 1:13 GMT

    @kavindeven - Please read my comment again.. its just a schedule of whether the marquee players like warner kp and MJ stay with DD for the complete season or leav early..

  • 3rd_man on February 7, 2012, 18:05 GMT

    @mark2011 take it easy man, just putting up my views here! I am independent cricket supporter who loves good cricket and sportsmanship. to answer your questions buddy , well why DD bought him for 1.4 mill.. I dont have a clue.., but its interesting to see how he handles his so called "finishers role bu ha haaaaaaaa!!!

  • dummy4fb on February 7, 2012, 12:15 GMT

    Right Choice for the DDs... looking forward to a new season of the IPL all sain and done ;)))

  • VijayaraghavanRavi on February 7, 2012, 11:03 GMT

    Delhi will have a better say in IPL only if it is played in Australia, having 9 -10 quickies in the squad . Wats the use in picking up mahela when you lack a quality spinner in the line up ? The very nature of subcontinent pitches has to be kept in mind before emptying your pockets !

  • Mark00 on February 7, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    His IPL record is pretty good. His powers of concentration are no longer what they used to be, it seems, for test matches.

  • Nuwas on February 7, 2012, 4:13 GMT

    Well, it's not fair to jump into conclusions without considering all the facts. As far as I'm concerned, it's just an answer to a question Mahela had given, caused so much of tension among the folks out here. It's all upto Mahela to prove his worthiness in DD & afterall not to forget his duties towards his motherland, which made him the cricketer of his caliber. heartiest wishes to SL Cricket...

  • xenon555 on February 7, 2012, 3:52 GMT

    I see a very good batting team in Delhi: 1) Sehwag 2) Warner 3) KP 4) Mahela 5) Naman Ojha+ 6) Venugopal Rao - The bowling will be okay with Morkel and Yadav but still there is NO spin outside Vandermerwe (oversees) and they may be forced to sit KP for Russell or Hopes.

  • dummy4fb on February 7, 2012, 2:17 GMT

    Many do not watch IPL here in Sri Lanka now, we would rather watch TRiangular in Australia or Pakistan - Engliand which is really competitive. First IPL I watched all matches, Second the final state, third none. Fourth none too. What do my Indian friends say ?

  • mark2011 on February 6, 2012, 20:51 GMT

    @3rd-man; then why the hell DD bought MJ at $ 1.4Million...are they mad orare u mad ?? why didn' t DD consult you before puting price on MJ???

  • Cannuck on February 6, 2012, 17:51 GMT

    Well said Viraj Dayananda! Lot of people are quick to blame players, but forget that it's the media who starts some of these issue, in order to sell their, magazine, TV show or web site. We live in a world where every soundbite is amplified. Few years ago athletes could express themselves freely. Today, they can't because every Tom, Dick & Harry has a cell phone with a mic/camera & can easily upload, create stories for their own agenda. Sadly some in the general public are gullible to believe everything that is reported. People need to think first for themselves. I am sure Mahela is doing his best to get the team prepared for the CB series & beyond, but what do you expect when Tariq Engineer decides to ask him his thoughts on his recent IPL auction? If he refuses to answer he will be branded as a big headed spoilt athlete, when he does some of us scrutinize him for talking about IPL. It's not a win situation for them!

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