Mahela Jayawardene retires July 15, 2014

A leader, people person and go-to guy

Former Sri Lanka cricketers, coaches and team-mates pay tribute to Mahela Jayawardene, who will retire from Test cricket in August

"As a leader, and a team man, there is no one you would rather have around than Mahela. Even when he's not captain, he's the leader of that Sri Lanka team, and I think Angie [Angelo Mathews] has learned a lot from him over the past few months. Everything he does is always for the team and for Sri Lankan cricket. There is not a selfish bone in his body. For any overseas coach he's your go-to guy, because he's thinking about everyone in the team - the seniors, the juniors, support staff - everyone. He's a real people person and that's his great strength. He is a world-class player and a world-class person. Sri Lankan cricket will not realise how much he means to the team, until he's gone."
Paul Farbrace, former Sri Lanka coach

"He's always been the ultimate team man, leading us brilliantly as a captain and always putting the team first. Everyone in the dressing room respects and admires his honesty, integrity, commitment, inner strength and great strategic vision. As a batsman, he's been phenomenal for Sri Lanka, always unselfish and committed to the needs of the team, and invariably saving his best for when we needed him most."
Kumar Sangakkara, Sri Lanka batsman*

"Mahela has given outstanding service for Sri Lankan cricket, and even when he was captain, he was someone who would always back the young players in the team. They learn a lot of things from him, and that experience he shares will help them do well in Test cricket as well."
Sanath Jayasuriya, current Sri Lanka selector

"He was always good off me, and I preferred him to be at slip because he had very fast reflexes, a good technique and good hands. I think taking slip catches off spinners is one of the hardest things, but he was the best at that. He started off at short leg, and he took a lot of catches there as well, before moving into slip. I always felt comfortable with him there."
Muttiah Muralitharan, former Sri Lanka spinner

"Sad to see @MahelaJay retiring from two versions. Easily the best captain I have played under. Lucky to have played alongside you! #legend"
Farveez Maharoof, Sri Lanka allrounder

"He is a truly great player and one of the nicest guys. I think what Sri Lanka will miss most is his mentoring of the youth. It's good to go when you have a little left in you - you'll always miss a player more when he does that. I think he's made a sensible decision."
Sidath Wettimuny, former Sri Lanka batsman

"Mahela was less of a planner - he was a man who made decisions on the ground. That made him an innovative captain who would come up with new options when things didn't go well. His influence in Sri Lankan cricket is phenomenal. He might not have been the most consistent player around, but there were matches where he would win a game off his own bat, so you've got to make an allowance for that. He will also go down as one of the most elegant players going around."
Ranjit Fernando, former Sri Lanka cricketer

"When I walked into the national team, he was my first captain. I learnt a lot by looking at him, and by what he is doing on and off the field - the way he handles situations. He's been tremendous for us in the past 15 years and I am very thankful to him."
Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka captain

"I first saw Mahela when he had just come out of school, and apart from his batting, he had a great attitude and always read the game brilliantly. I've enjoyed talking with him over the years and he's always happy to share his experience with other players. When I was coach of Nepal and I brought some of the Nepal players to Sri Lanka, Mahela would always come and talk to them and give some advice. He is that kind of person."
Roy Dias, former Sri Lanka batsman

"Mahela has been an amazing servant for Sri Lanka cricket. In his last four Tests, I'm sure he will represent them as honourably as he has done over the last 18 years. Definitely, he is one of the all time greats for Sri Lanka."
Hashim Amla, South Africa's Test captain

*Sangakkara's comments were added to the story, after he made them on Wednesday evening.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rahul on July 20, 2014, 7:46 GMT

    I am an Indian cricket fanatic but I Have been an unabashed fan of Mahela's batting. Aside from Sachin, and you'll understandably forgive me for that, Mahela's batting was a thing if beauty. Deft touches, lovely drives, beautiful timing and completely invulnerable when on song. The only other Sri Lankan batsman who ran him close was Aravinda, who also was immense. The Gavaskat and Sachin if Sri Lankan cricket, Though neither opened the batting. Thanks Mahela for the joy you brought us through so many years.

  • Isuru on July 18, 2014, 12:43 GMT

    The best i have seen in decades cuz he does not have the nicest job like sachin tendulkar or sanath jayasooriya or any other got. He is a middle order player who carrie the burden of reconstructing a fallen innings which he sucseeded and did more than well. That is the hardest job to do. If he fails it' s like the team fails. That is why i would rank his golden name from my heart in the top. Even though i had to rank MY HERO from not my heart, there will only be two or three at maximum beyond him.

  • Anshuman on July 16, 2014, 15:16 GMT

    Congratulations Mahela for a wonderful career. Happy retirement!

  • Dummy4 on July 16, 2014, 15:13 GMT

    Does anyone remember when playing a test in Australia, around early 2000, a seagull was hit by the ball and Mahela carried the injured (or dying) seagull in his hands to the pavilion? A great human being and a great cricketer!!!!

  • Dummy4 on July 16, 2014, 13:54 GMT

    Why does it say 'former sri lanka allrounder' next to Farveez Maharoof, does that mean he's retired from international cricket? I don't recall him ever announcing any retirement...

  • Pinidiya on July 16, 2014, 13:45 GMT

    There goes another pillar of SL cricket.... which withstood some cyclones to keep SL cricket standards high at all times, for many years! During the past years of his career, he had faced the......

    GOOD: through all the victories he brought to SL with his immaculate captaincy & unforgettable performances, mostly in big occasions..!

    BAD: some storms generated from SLC's bay of insanity....!!

    & THE UGLY: ungrateful, shortsighted, ludicrous criticism of some clueless SL fans..!!!

    Thank you Mahela for all the memorable contributions that you made with your bat & your masterminded strategies..! Our Slip cordon will never be the same and it will have a huge gap.... hard to fill without your safe pair of hands..!!!

  • Dummy4 on July 16, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    mahela jaywardene gr8 player. a superb team man well played & congratulations on a wonderful career!

  • Dummy4 on July 16, 2014, 13:11 GMT

    Yes... Mahela Jayawardene is a world-class player and a world-class person.And Sri Lankan cricket will not realise how much he means to the team, until he's gone."as Paul Farbrace said.. I agree

  • Dummy4 on July 16, 2014, 9:23 GMT

    I do give him my respect what he done for srilanka. i still remember the century scored in world cup final in India against India.That was best i ever saw from him. Good luck mahela

  • Android on July 16, 2014, 9:02 GMT

    very timely move i guess...... fr the team n fr himself..... yh hasnt been at his best recently..... cz thr r soo mny youngstrz knockng at d door, SL can nvr bear d retiremntz of both thr highest run scorerz at d same time.... since sanga is at his peak sl can groom sm young kid while sanga is still thr..... thtz y mahela is a team man.....

    nwy wteva said n done, he hs been a fabulous player.... those delicate late cutz...pullz along d carpet.... sqaure cut.... n d mere push cover drive....undoubtdly Slz all time best player f spi..thtz wt iv njoyd f him fr soo mny yrz.... bt if im nt mstkn he ws d most adaptd SL batsmn accross all formatz test,odi n esp t20... showd d world tht t20 is nt alwyz abt muscl n power.... thtz whr he is amngst d best.....

    a captain...took d team to 2 WC finalz.... spclly d 2nd tym... showd d wrld a diffrnt style.... d boring middle ovrz in ODI sddnly chngd wth attackng n run savng fieldz.... great player..... i hope tht he getz d best sent off he deservz