Sri Lanka news June 15, 2012

'Mahela may have to lead till 2015' - Dilshan


Tillakaratne Dilshan, the Sri Lanka batsman, has said the current captain Mahela Jayawardene may have to lead till the 2015 World Cup in order to provide sufficient time for a successor to be groomed.

Angelo Mathews, the 25-year-old allrounder, is widely seen as a leading candidate to take over when Jayawardene steps down. Mathews has established himself in all three formats, but has struggled with injuries during his three-year career. Dilshan cautioned against thrusting the leadership on Mathews too soon.

"You can't give someone the captaincy all of a sudden. He (Mathews) has to be groomed under a good captain for two to three years," Dilshan said after a training session at the R Premadasa Stadium. "Not just on how to handle things on the field, but also off the field. Those are some of the things I learned. It's not easy, mind you. I hope Angelo will be a good captain, but he has time. He has to work under Mahela.

"Kumar [Sangakkara], Mahela and I are nearing our retirement age. After the next World Cup we would be gone. I think Mahela will have to shoulder the burden till the next World Cup."

Dilshan also defended his decision to step down as captain five months ago, following the tour of South Africa. He had never spoken publicly about the main reasons for quitting and said he wanted to remain tight-lipped about it till he gives up the game.

"There were many reasons for me to step down. I don't like to discuss them at this point as I am still involved in the game," Dilshan said. "But when I retire I will reveal why I quit."

Dilshan took over as captain from Kumar Sangakkara after the 2011 World Cup, led his team on tours to England, the UAE [against Pakistan] and South Africa and at home against Australia. His captaincy came under severe criticism as Sri Lanka lost both the Test and ODI series against all the four countries.

His form with the bat also dipped during his captaincy. Dilshan led Sri Lanka in 11 Tests since May 2011, of which his team won one Test and lost five. His own average during his tenure was 33.60, well below his overall average of 40.89. In the same period, he led in 21 ODIs, winning eight and losing 13. His batting suffered even more on the ODI front, as he averaged 20.95 against his overall figure of 34.68.

"At that point, with the way things were going, I felt that it's good to give up the captaincy and concentrate on my game," Dilshan said. "During that eight-month period I learned a lot of things. That experience taught me who people were. I think it was the right decision to step down."

Dilshan said he was the only realistic choice to captain Sri Lanka after Jayawardene and Sangakkara both had leadership stints. Mathews, who was named vice-captain before the home series against Australia last year, wasn't seen to be experienced enough to take over the leadership. Dilshan said he accepted the role because of the lack of options. Jayawardene took over for his second stint at the helm early this year before the one-day tour of Australia.

"I didn't want the captaincy and back then no one wanted to take over the captaincy," Dilshan said. "There was no leader and that prompted me to take over the leadership."

Reflecting on the positives of his captaincy, Dilshan said winning the Durban Test, Sri Lanka's first Test win in South Africa, gave him tremendous satisfaction.

"When I took over as captain, I wanted to give younger players opportunities. Most players made most of those opportunities and I am glad that those players are taking the initiative these days to win us games. That's my biggest achievement as Sri Lanka captain. The other thing that I look back with fondness is being able to win a Test match in South Africa which no captain has been able to do. Even that ODI series in South Africa we could have won, but we lost unfortunately due to rain."

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 18, 2012, 12:09 GMT

    simple mathwes rocks no matter what other says

  • Dummy4 on June 18, 2012, 12:05 GMT

    well there was noreason to drop dilshan as captain he did weel as far as captaincy is concernes but now after t20worldcup mathwes should be made permanent t20 captaion and make him bat @3 in t20 4 @odis and 5 at tests.for me after jayasuriya and mahela he is the best srilankan cricker ever.

  • udaya on June 18, 2012, 5:24 GMT

    Very true. Hope our 'foolish SLC' realize the importance in this & allow MJ to continue until 2015.

    After Arjuna (Unfortunately Ranjan didn't have a long stint, otherwise would have been the best ), Mahela is the best captain SL has produced by far. He deserves it from all angles.

    Anjelo has time to learn under him & will do a good job with experience. Dilshan has become mature & same thing happened to our 'legend-Ara' at the beginning.

    All the best TO YOU, 'our lions'. Keep the SL FLAG HIGH.

  • Dummy4 on June 17, 2012, 23:52 GMT

    he is correct..But we should groom a one anyway..By the time our 3 great retires Chandi,Mathews , Bhanuka ,Thirimanne , Tissara will be world class..More youngsters are coming through too..Upul , Kula will be there too

  • Lester on June 17, 2012, 12:39 GMT

    Dilshan as a Nation v luv u man.. I dont think Mathews can be a good captain coz he's struggling to find his place, i would say he shud b dropped,even he struggled at IPL. Perera is enough as a All Rounder.

  • Eranda on June 17, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    No blames for Dili but the SL cricket board must take the blame. the rubbish decisions they make cause SL cricket. and the involvement of president and his family to the cricket make it worst. decision has to made by some one who knows about cricket very well and not the politicians. hope SL cricket will be strong day by day under the captaincy of Mahela and there will be a day to take the captaincy responsibility for Mathews and he will be good enough to lead the team.

  • amasha on June 17, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    Yeah,Dilla is right but mathews is gonna need play at no.4 or n0.3 cuz you can't have a captain playing 2 or 3 runs and bowling 3 overs!!

    and mathews got to play...C'mon man u were our match winner but now it's perera. u are the v.captain play up wi llya????

    What's gotten in to u????

  • KH. RAFIQUE on June 16, 2012, 15:53 GMT

    I dont think Matthews would be a good choice for captaincy of SL........He got the injury problem....Then his commitment towards the game as his intention is more clear to play in IPL rather than country.....It was clear out when he found to bowl in IPL without worrying of his current injury.......At that time SL cricket board also showed their unhappiness regarding the issues.........So, I think CHANDIMAL might be a good choice.......

  • S on June 16, 2012, 15:03 GMT

    @Vihanga Vithanage-dude give it a rest. The next worldcup is 3 years away. lol. And it's Aussies who're favorite. I wouldn't be even surprised if Bangladesh does better then SL. Look at your team's current record. @Mayan Priyadarshana-Yeah Mate, those Indians have repeatedly destroyed SL. They're ok against Aussies, but the mammoth against SL.

  • Adarsh on June 16, 2012, 14:21 GMT

    After Mahela goes, Matthews should be captain with Chandimal vice.

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