Pakistan v Sri Lanka, 2nd Test, Lahore February 28, 2009

Jayawardene remains focused on winning

Cricinfo staff


Mahela Jayawardene: "It's not a bigger deal that I'll be leading for the last time" © AFP
 

The Lahore Test will be the last of Mahela Jayawardene's tenure as Sri Lankan captain but he is confident he won't be distracted by emotion and will remain focused on the task of winning the series which is currently level after the draw in Karachi.

"I don't think it's a distraction. I'm not feeling anything other than normal," Jayawardene said on the eve of the match. "It's a crucial Test match for us, so the focus and emphasis is on winning.

"It's not a bigger deal that I'll be leading for the last time. We had a successful one-day tournament in Pakistan and this is the second half of the tournament. It will be ideal for us to win both series so that will be our focus."

Jayawardene took over as captain from Marvan Atapattu in 2006 and has led Sri Lanka in 27 Tests, winning 15 and losing seven. He first captained in one-day internationals in 2004 and went on to lead his team in 94 matches, winning 54 and losing 35. He said that reaching the World Cup final in 2007 was a "privilege and honour" and it was "probably the highest" point of his captaincy. He picked the home one-day series defeats to India and England as the "most disappointing".

Jayawardene had announced his decision to step down before the series began and said he took made the decision because "it was the right time to step down". He did not want another opportunity to lead Sri Lanka in the future.

"Hopefully the captaincy opportunity won't arise because I think we have good guys to lead us in the future," Jayawardene said. "I made the decision purely on cricket matters thinking it is the right time for me to go, and for somebody else to take us to next level."