Diaries DiariesRSS FeedFeeds

'Angelo Mathews is a tremendous asset'

Mahela Jayawardene on playing away from home, Sri Lanka's attempt to improve their general knowledge and the batting Powerplay

Mahela Jayawardene

March 18, 2011

Text size: A | A

Angelo Mathews celebrates the wicket of Tatenda Taibu, Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe, Group A, World Cup, Pallekele, March 10, 2011
'Angelo Mathews has been consistent with the ball against Pakistan and Zimbabwe' © Associated Press
Enlarge
Related Links
Players/Officials: Mahela Jayawardene | Angelo Mathews
Series/Tournaments: ICC Cricket World Cup
Teams: Sri Lanka

We are playing our next game in Mumbai and I would like to see it as a positive thing. Yes, it would have been nice to play at home with the home advantage, but it will be good to get used to playing away from home at this stage. You never know, you might have to play the quarter-finals or the semi-finals away from home, and this experience should hold us in good stead. Mumbai is a new venue and it's also where the finals will be played, and so, it's good to get a taste of it. When you play away from home, your preparations are different and you tend to spend more quality time together as a team. The security is tight, you can't get out, you don't have your local friends and other distractions, and you automatically spend more time together.

So what have we been up to in Mumbai? We've played cards and indulged in other such indoor-activities. Eight of us played poker while the rest played other card games. A quiz too is in the fray. It will have couple of rounds about sports, including cricket, and also some general knowledge. Yes, we are trying to improve our general knowledge you see! All these activities help in team bonding and allow us to get some quality time in. There are lots of youngsters, but you won't be surprised to know that Muttiah Muralitharan is still the livewire of the team. It might be his last World Cup but there is no mellowing down, I don't think he can ever do that.

Moving on to cricketing matters, I saw a couple of articles saying that Angelo Mathews has not had a good game yet. People tend to forget that he hasn't got the opportunities. He bats at No. 7 and our top order has done the work so far. He has been consistent with the ball against Pakistan and Zimbabwe. He is a quiet guy and doesn't get bothered by what is going on around him. He is a tremendous asset to us and we have no doubt that when the team needs him, he will deliver with bat and ball.

I have been asked about the trends in the World Cup in general and, in particular, about the batting Powerplay. It has been absolutely fascinating, to say the least. You still have to do the basics right in that phase; you see guys scoring eight or nine runs per over before taking the Powerplay and then they lose wickets and go down to four or five runs per over. The field comes in, the single options become less and they tend to look for boundaries. It's a huge temptation to do that but you have to stick to the basics. You are not going to get big overs, where you score 15 to 20 runs, every day. It's about playing smart cricket; yes lot of teams have got it wrong in most of the games and we, as players, are learning from it. Some days, you just have to be intelligent - make sure you get the six or seven runs per over, and you will get one or two big overs.

So why teams are wary of taking the Powerplay early? Why not use it in the 16th over or 20th over? It depends on the situation and the opposition. The risk in taking it too early is that if you lose two or three quick wickets, you are playing catch-up for the next 30 overs or so. That's too long a period to be doing that. If you take it after 30 or 35 overs, even if you lose wickets, you only have about ten overs of consolidation required before you can finish off the game. You are not playing catch-up for 30 overs and you are not lagging behind all the time. It finally comes down to the match situation - whether you are batting first or chasing, who is in, who are the bowlers likely to bowl in that phase - and hence I find the whole thing very fascinating.

Despite what's happened in the tournament, I still see that Powerplay as a huge batting advantage. What is exciting is that it's a great opportunity for the bowling sides also to pick up wickets. Tactically, you've got to get it right and it's an exciting thing that has happened to cricket as it gives both teams a chance to have an impact on the game.

The World Cup is wonderfully placed at this stage. Most of the big teams are coming through and that's what you want from a tournament of this stature. As a player, the greatest satisfaction comes when you beat the best. From here on, each and every game is going to be a cracker.

Mahela Jayawardene is former captain of Sri Lanka

RSS Feeds: Mahela Jayawardene

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Mahela JayawardeneClose
Mahela Jayawardene Elegant and prolific, Mahela Jayawardene is easily one of the best batsmen around. By a fair margin he is the highest run-getter for Sri Lanka, and on his way to becoming an all-time great. His excellent slip catching, and sharp captaincy - until early in 2009 - made him a big contributor to Sri Lanka's cause. He and Kumar Sangakkara hold the world record for the highest partnership in Tests, 624 for the third wicket, against South Africa in Colombo. Jayawardene is one of cricket's gentlemen: well-mannered, humble, intelligent and articulate.

    "As you get older, you come to appreciate the tough times"

Jimmy Adams talks about the West Indian love for fast bowling, batting with Lara, and living a dream for nine years

    Bhuvneshwar on course for super series

Numbers Game: Only 15 times has a player achieved 300 runs and 20 wickets in a Test series. Bhuvneshwar could be the 16th

    Time to pension off the seniors?

Rob Smyth: If England are going to win nothing, history suggests it might be worth their while to win nothing with kids

'Smith's record in India is an aberration'

Modern Masters: Rahul Dravid and Sanjay Manjrekar discuss Graeme Smith's terrific record in different conditions

Do India stick with the same team?

V Ramnarayan: Binny did well at Trent Bridge, but surely he must make way for Ashwin now?

News | Features Last 7 days

Ridiculed Ishant ridicules England

Ishant Sharma has often been the butt of jokes, and sometimes deservedly so. Today, however, the joke was on England

Vijay rediscovers the old Monk

The leave outside off stump has been critical to M Vijay's success since his India comeback last year. Contrary to popular opinion, such patience and self-denial comes naturally to him

England seem to have forgotten about personality

They have to see a glass that is half-full, and play the game as if it is just that, a game; and an opportunity

Ishant's fourth-innings heroics in rare company

In India's win at Lord's, Ishant Sharma took the best bowling figures by an Indian in the fourth innings of a Test outside Asia. Here are five other best bowling efforts by Indians in the fourth innings of Tests outside Asia

Another battle, another defeat on Planet Al

Alastair Cook has got used to feeling of the axe hanging over him. Only his team-mates can save England now

News | Features Last 7 days