Sri Lanka news February 12, 2009

Poor form a factor in quitting - Jayawardene

"There is an obvious successor to the throne" © Cricinfo Ltd.

Mahela Jayawardene has said his poor form in recent one-day matches was a factor in his decision to resign as captain of Sri Lanka. He said he had thoughts of quitting at the end of the Bangladesh tour but delayed his decision because of two unscheduled series against Pakistan and India.

"I was not making runs according to the standards I had set myself," Jayawardene said in Colombo, a day after he announced his resignation. "I have been thinking about it for a while and it was the right decision made at the right time."

Jayawardene, 31, has made just one half-century in his last 17 ODI innings. His resignation came three days after Sri Lanka lost 4-1 to India in their home ODI series, and he said it was so that his successor could build a team for the 2011 World Cup.

"This is the ideal time to leave my successor to make his own imprint," Jayawardene said. "He needs time to settle down, put his imprint on the team and have his vision for the 2011 World Cup. To do that he needs adequate time."

His decision to resign was not taken under any pressure, he said, it was completely his own. "It had nothing to do with the selectors. Actually they were quite baffled when I called for a meeting," he said. "They actually wanted me to stay on. But I said I had made up my mind and I hope they will respect that."

He said the selectors had even suggested different captains for the two versions of the game. "They tried to persuade me to split the captaincy and continue leading in Tests. But I felt as a captain it was easier to have both the captaincies because it gives you the extra bit of time to control things.

"And I believe the next captain should have the same thing. It is much easier to hold on to everything. It is tough for two different captains to do two different things because there will be certain players coming in and going."

Jayawardene further stated he didn't want to hold on to the captaincy for too long. "I had no aspirations of leading my country all the way to the next World Cup. I felt if I had to hold on to it much longer it won't do justice for the next guy coming in. As a captain, I managed to give more freedom to the younger guys to express themselves, rather than wait for somebody to spoon feed them. Their careers will develop much faster. Hopefully we can carry that forward.

"I've learned a lot being at the top because it's not an easy job but the senior players and the coaches I've had have definitely helped me make certain decisions. As a captain you need to make those tough calls. I didn't hesitate to make them."

He said there was an obvious successor but it was up to the selectors to make that call. "I won't have any problem playing under anybody because I know in my heart I've given more than 150% when playing for my country."

Jayawardene's long-standing vice-captain Kumar Sangakkara is the likely choice to take over the role.