Sri Lanka news April 9, 2012

Mahela Jayawardene wants to find new captain

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Mahela Jayawardene has reiterated that his current role as Sri Lanka captain is a short-term job and he wants to find his successor as soon as possible.

He accepted a request to captain the team again after Tillakaratne Dilshan lost the post following the tour of South Africa and the results have been creditable so far, especially in the CB Series in Australia where they pushed the hosts to a third final, and then the Test series against England which ended 1-1. Jayawardene also claimed the Man-of-the-Series award after scoring 354 runs including two centuries.

However at 34, Jayawardene, who has now linked up with the IPL along with a number of his team-mates, knows he is coming towards the end of his career and sees a large part of his role now as ensuring a smooth transition to a new long-term captain.

"I've been given the challenge to lead the team and took that for 12 months to see what happens," he said. "I would love to groom another leader and hand it over to him as quickly as possible. That's the way Sri Lanka cricket should move on."

But Jayawardene has no immediate plans to reconsider his future in the international game. After a short-term slump in Test cricket, where he did not reach fifty in 12 innings, his results during the England series showed a batsman at the top of his game.

"After the World Cup I spoke to the selectors and said I'd take it six months at a time," he said. "It all depends on the hunger I have. So long as I'm performing to the standards I've set myself I'll play for a little longer, but when the hunger goes that will be the day I quit."

Sri Lanka's next engagement in Test cricket is against Pakistan following the IPL. There are a number of areas that they will need to address, not least the opening batting combination which failed to produce any solid starts. Lahiru Thirimanne was worked over by James Anderson while Tillakaratne Dilshan was stuck in one-day mode until the second innings in Colombo where he fell to a controversial review.

Jayawardene, though, does not want to jump to any conclusions about what changes may be needed and insists consistency will bring rewards in the longer term.

"I said before the series that Lahiru was given a chance in South Africa and I wanted to be consistent and give him a decent run before we make judgements on players," he said. "Now we've got a break before our next Test series so that gives us an opportunity to sit down with the selectors and discuss where we need to improve or if we need to make changes. It's a good place to be in because we've been consistent with our selections."

Rangana Herath, who took 19 wickets in the two Tests, will also need greater support in the bowling attack if he is not to be overburdened by the role of needing to take wickets and keep scoring rates down. Suraj Randiv partnered him well in Galle but struggled in Colombo where he was taken apart by Kevin Pietersen and by the end of the match Dilshan was the preferred offspinner.

"Rangana is the best bowler I have and you obviously bank on him," Jayawardene said. "The challenge I have is to try and not do the same thing we did with Murali (Muralitharan) and leave it as one bowler we depend on. We need two or three bowlers so we can take the pressure off him. But Rangana will keep delivering, he has the quality to do that on any surface."

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ashangamage on April 12, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    angelo or thirimanne ,they can lead sri lanka surely and sri lanka must give kaushal lokuarachchi,dimuth,sachithra senanayake,bhanuka rajapaksha,shaminda eranga,angelo perera,kusal janith more chance to play with mahela,sanga,dilshan before retiring ...

  • Nadeem1976 on April 11, 2012, 5:19 GMT

    34 years old and not accepting the job of a captaincy. I don't understand at all. First they mess things up with Sangakara who was doing great reached the final of WC last and gave away the captaincy. Now jaywardane is not accepting. They will all play for IPL but are not taking national responsibility , that is not professional like at all. Mehela you have 4 more years in you in test cricket. You can stay as captain for 4 years. Don't act silly and just remain captain. It will be a stupid idea to not captain srilanka in current situation.

  • Cannuck on April 10, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    @Mutukisna: SPOT ON! While others are giving advice on finding pacies, batsmen on an article about MJ's captaincy, you have given the best answer. Exactly my thoughts too. To be the Captain of SL in all forms of the game Angie has to first be physically fit. Him being injury prone, no being able to captain will create more issues. On the other hand captaincy has rejuvinated MJ. Given him a goal, motivation he needs to perform. If he goes back to just being a player, he may not be as good as he is now. i.e. Sanga seems to have no fire in the belly, or motivation these days. This will only help some elements behind the scene who are dying to get MJ & Sanga out of the team (some of us know who this is). In that case MJ better think of retiring before being forced out, because THIS WILL HAPPEN no matter what. He needs to captain at least another 2 years till a clear candidate emerges & then retire knowing he's done the best for SL cricket. 2015 WC would be an ideal good bye for MJ & Sanga!

  • Kays789 on April 10, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    @Gupta.ankur : haha mate. coming from an indian that is hilarious! i guess india would do well to put together a team that doesnt get thrashed beyond reckoning every time they tour. i mean you only have pretty much the biggest population in the world and almost all the resources in the sport at your disposal to do that right?

  • s2art1e on April 10, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    I really do not understand why SL do not pick Upul Tharanga as one of their opening batsmen, he needs to be given another chance, and not just pigeon holed as a one day batsmen.

  • c3vzn on April 10, 2012, 8:44 GMT

    Mahela you are 34 and have at least 3 years in you. Leave Angelo as vice captain and he'll be automatically be groomed.

  • Mutukisna on April 10, 2012, 8:35 GMT

    If Mahela decides to retire there is only one obvious choice and that is Angelo Mathews. However, Mathews has serious fitness issues and until that is resolved giving him the captaincy would result in instability in the team as he is likely to be in and out. So the solution to this is that Mr.Jayawardena should remain as captain for the love of Sri Lankan cricket, until the Mathews fitness issues are resolved or until a new leader emerges.

  • Azweer on April 10, 2012, 7:13 GMT

    Dinesh Chandimal the best choice for future captaincy for the lankans

  • Lakpj on April 10, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    Mahela is the ideal man to groom a young player as captain and other young players who can get it to the side. It is evident that young players enjoy playing under mahela the most. so he should stay as the captain for another 1 year @ least and hand over captaincy to a youngster when there is 18-20 months before the 2015 WC.

  • dummy4fb on April 10, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    Chaminda Vaas to coach Sri Lankan bowlers.........we need bowlers who can bowl line and lengthhh

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