Sri Lanka news

Mahela Jayawardene wants to find new captain

Andrew McGlashan

April 9, 2012

Comments: 57 | Text size: A | A

Mahela Jayawardene acknowledges reaching his century, Sri Lanka v England, 2nd Test, Colombo, 1st day, April 3, 2012
Mahela Jayawardene was in prolific form in the series against England © AFP

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

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Posted by 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 ...

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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!

Posted by 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?

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by Azweer on (April 10, 2012, 7:13 GMT)

Dinesh Chandimal the best choice for future captaincy for the lankans

Posted by 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.

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 6:38 GMT)

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

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 6:32 GMT)

CHAMINDA VAAS should be our BOWLING COACH.....our fast bowling department is should be totally revamped.......we need bowlers like waqar, wasim, glen mcgragh, anderson, darryl sure we have some raw talent that can be groomed by the likes of Vaas........ We need to find a good opening pair....someone how is agressive, and someone who is has the Jayasuriya and MArvan Attapatu.... We also need a strong hitter 6 or 7 down who can finish the game like Dhoni of India..... 3 areas we need to fix up, opening batting pair, the fast bowling department and to unearth a good finisher (like dhoni) Please bring chaminda Vaas as bowling coach....

Posted by ali00 on (April 10, 2012, 5:58 GMT)

come on Mahela you are the best captain and stay and you teach Angelo Mathew for a while then resign as captain.

Posted by lakshitha.jayakody on (April 10, 2012, 5:53 GMT)

Not only for the role of captain, but we need to find/develop/groom young players for Mahela, Sanga & Dilshan as well. By the end of 2012, Mahela & Sanga will be 35 and Dilshan will be 36. 2015 WC is 03 years ahead and Sri Lankan cricket must have plans for these players and development of young players.

Posted by Gupta.Ankur on (April 10, 2012, 5:46 GMT)

Mahela would do well to find batsmen who can score outside their country unlike him and all his peers before and along him in the team right now.

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 4:02 GMT)

Its time they bring in more young players to the team. But they should only come through on performance merit. I dont understand how Suranga Lakmal makes it to the team with an average close to 50. Nuwan Kulasekera seems to be a better bowler than Lakmal and even Dhammika Prasad. I think its the fast bowling department needs and overhaul and Champika ramanayaka needs to re-think his strategy. Randiv is not threatening enough in test cricket and mendis seems to be the best choice there.

Posted by prashnottz on (April 10, 2012, 2:57 GMT)

Mathews it ought to be. He has the talent, temperament and on the top strong mindedness to win it for SL.

Posted by Yasassri on (April 10, 2012, 2:06 GMT)

No need 'long term' captains, but need a captain who can be successful.

Posted by Balumekka on (April 10, 2012, 2:00 GMT)

"However at 34, Jayawardene....knows he is coming towards the end of his career" Well, I thought that the standard retirement age is 40+....! That's how things happen in these days!

Posted by   on (April 10, 2012, 0:28 GMT)

While I am with MJ on the areas of concern, wondering why we are not considering Upul Tharanga for the opening slot in test matches. As far as I know he is able to play the anchor role better than anyone else we tried during last one year or so.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 23:54 GMT)

Mahela has got it spot on. A player must be given a decent run before we judge him. If someone is always playing for a place in the team it creates unnecessary pressure on young players. We have to give them confidence. Most star players are not produced overnight, it takes a bit of time.Our fast bowling cartel is a bit weak, there is no doubt about that but it has promise. I think if given a decent run lakmal and prasad can develop into very good bowlers. Still we should always be on the lookout for fresh prospects as well.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 23:48 GMT)

SL must find 1 or 2 fast men who can always bowl above 140KMH. And a spinner who can turn the ball on any surface. An opening batsman who can bat like Marven or Thilan. It is worth persisting with Dilhara for a while.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 23:34 GMT)

well, mahela must play till 2015 wc, we have no other choice, mahela,sanga,dilshan should play in the 2015 wc, specially b coz its playing in aus, and we need these 3, if not we will fail to reach semi's

Posted by Test-is-the-best on (April 9, 2012, 23:21 GMT)

Earlier Kapugedara,Chamara Silva,Kandambi,Mubharak, were tested as the future of SL Test/ODI team who could takeup the captaincy after Mahela/Sanga.However those guys could not secure a place in the team due to not being impressive as they did in First Class matches. All these guys are failed as middle order batsmen ( probably they are not capable of handling the pressure. If they would have been used as top order they would be much better. Ex : Kapugedara is a clean hitter who could be much better as a top order batsmen

Posted by Test-is-the-best on (April 9, 2012, 22:59 GMT)

There is no doubt that Mahela is a good captian for SL .

I remeber when Arjuna what arjuna did for the team as a captain. He got the capability of identiying talent of many young players and how to get the maximum use of it for the team. Ex: 1. Jayasuriya ( Started as a middle order batsmen with batting avg less than 20.00=> once he become them opener we know how good he was) 2. Murai, 3. Vaas 4. Atapattu ( One of the best openers produced by SL who started 5 dots in first 6 innings). Those findings made so easy for the capatins to win matches in post arjuna era. SL do need such a long term plan to create match winners .

Posted by Rahulbose on (April 9, 2012, 22:36 GMT)

Wow! Have not heard such unselfish comments from any Captain before. if only more senior players could display this attitude.

Posted by yorkslanka on (April 9, 2012, 22:21 GMT)

for me the opening partnership has to be tharanga and paranavitana, dilshan should slot into the middle order.this is a sound investment for the future..when mahela and sanga go, chandimal and thirimanne can take their places..ernaga needs to be in the team,as does ajantha mendis, and usual everyone is blaming mahela for the selections but dont forget it is the board picking their favourites that continues to plague our cricket..i agree with sampathsl's comments and believe these suggestions deal with some of those concerns..whatever is said, it has to be seen that we are improving in our performances from this time last year so that has to be a good thing..

Posted by djmush on (April 9, 2012, 21:57 GMT)

I think we should give a chance to a young guy like mathews. Cuz he'll be not alone for few years. Around him we have few legends like sanga , mahela , dilshan...

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 21:53 GMT)

srilanka has young talents,give them a chance,many quality first class batters we do have,couples we need for the next world cup,1 chandimal thirimanna,2mathews jeewan mendis,3bhanuka dhimuth,4sanga mahela,5tharanga dilshan,6chamara silva kaushal lokuarachi7angelo perera we got nice couples...give them chances....

Posted by sampi72 on (April 9, 2012, 21:02 GMT)

Mr.Mahela u have not made any comments on selection of Useless Suranga Lakmal instead of Shamindra Ernaga ....As spectators we all know that he is much better bowler than Lakmal & Prasad...There is no middle order place for Chandimal...please test him as a opner..We all know that he is an original opneng batsman who makeshift to the middle order due to the circumstances...Sraj randiv is no more a confident bowler...Please try sachithra senanayake in tests...He is a much better batter,bowler and fielder than Randiv.....

Posted by bbumbum on (April 9, 2012, 21:01 GMT)

Wish I could hear such comments from the so called "legends" of Indian cricket. Mahela, you have got class.

Posted by landl47 on (April 9, 2012, 20:35 GMT)

This article highlights the problems faced by Sri Lanka. Mathews is not just the best candidate to take over from Mahela, he's the ONLY candidate. Dilshan, Sanga and Mahela himself have all been captain, Mahela twice, and all are now in their mid-thirties. The only one of their illustroius batting group not to have been captain is Samaraweera, and he's the oldest of all of them! Once those 4 retire, who else is there? Chandimal is way too inexperienced, Prasanna Jayawardene isn't sure of his own place, Herath is also in his mid-thirties and there isn't an opener or another bowler who is close to being test-worthy, let alone captain-worthy. Sri Lanka is in for a long dry spell and poor Mathews is going to have to preside over it. I feel sorry for him.

Posted by on (April 9, 2012, 19:59 GMT)

That is called putting team before yourself. Our players and management can take a leaf out of Mahela's selflessness who is following footsteps of Sanga in preparing a worthy captain for the future.

With no disrespect to Misbah as he has done a wonderful job in last year or so but unfortunately our players have a habit of greed and lust for the captaincy and they also fear that they may loose their own place if not selected as Captain. Younis Khan was an exception and that was not unexpected given that he has always acted like a true professional. If it had not been the players power and dip in his own form, he was the man to carry pakistan forward in all formats while preparing a young captain. For God sake, PCB should start thinking about future and please no more tried and tested captains like Afridi and Malik . In current team, Hafeez seems to be the most competent choice given his consistent allround formand his excellent cricketing knowledge.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 19:26 GMT)

Angela mattews should be the man to get captaincy, he is a bolwer snd batsman, who will always be needed in team. Dilshan, sangakara , mahela should play one last world cup. Espically since they played well in austrilla!

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 18:46 GMT)

You are the real hero of us...No one can equals you!!...When we are in a terrible time you help our team to overcome... I like to say that "you are the one who can create a captain in our team" I think Tharanga or Mattews????

Posted by JustIPL on (April 9, 2012, 18:35 GMT)

Forget age factors for other teams it is a factor Indian team only. Everyone saw how badly wall was breached, little master became very very little master and VVS looked very very ..........There are ponting, chanderpaul and even misbah who are ageless. Jaya should not be worried about his age.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 18:15 GMT)

Give the opportunity to Bhanuka Rajapaksha in ODIs. And bring back Shaminda Eranga for Tests.

Posted by johnathonjosephs on (April 9, 2012, 17:30 GMT)

If Mahela plays this well when he's captaining Sri Lanka, I think he can be captain until the next World Cup. Sangakkara also experienced a slump after giving up captaincy....

Posted by Alexk400 on (April 9, 2012, 17:12 GMT)

Srilanka do not have strong players. Sanga and Jayawardene both are mentally tough players. Samaraweera plays well against pakistan. Dilshan plays well against india. Samaraweera is only one proved that he can score runs consistenly. Angelo mathews is bits and piece all rounder.Not great , Not worse. Low average all rounder. They need 3 young players play consistently so they can take reigns. At present Angelo mathews would be stop gap captain. But they need one of this young "Snake" 1989 born players to pick up slack and would be ideal captain in future. Also they need to get physically strong which is one issue i see immediately. Srilanka can produce and find fast bowler easy because the structure is like a corporation. India can't find bowlers because of politics of each state. India is elitist culture.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 16:40 GMT)

i don't listen comment from any captain like this Srilanka should proud on mahela . love u mahela . i m pakistani

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 16:15 GMT)

I think Mahela Should lead the team at least for another 6 months and hand over to Mathews. He can gain plenty of experience under the leadership of Mahela. Sri Lankan Cricket should have a long term plan targeted at the next world cup. They should bring young energetic players in to the team.(Banuka Rajapakse,Anjelo Perera). Sanga & Mahela have done a great service to the SL cricket but, I think we should not solely defend on them. It's time the high time to make the right move.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 16:08 GMT)

MAHELA THE LEGEND, Salute from PAKISTAN! <3 I am a bit sad about Sanga's current form. It's really hurting for a batsman(dropping from #1 to #5). Hope you get back to great form once again SIR =]

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 15:35 GMT)

I believe mahela is a better batsmen when hes captaining..

Posted by Muralibomb on (April 9, 2012, 14:36 GMT)

There have been two main periods in sri lankan cricket. The period between 1996 (when sri lanka won the world cup) to about 2003(when all cricketers who played well decided to retire Vass,Jayasuriya and so on). In the end there were only two left who played they're best game sangakkara and jayawardene(and somtimes but never dilshan).And when these two failed to perform no one would perform because the rest of the sri lankan cricket team did not score any runs at all .If you want proof look at the scorecard of recent match sri lanka have lost take away the score of those two and take away the amount of over that those two faced from fifty overs (or the amount of balls the team faced) divide that by the amount of runs and x by fifty .Dinesh chandimal has his time to shine every now and then. But overall after those two (almost three) have retired no one will be there to become captain. If sri lanka hand over the captaincy now they can get the new captain to become better at captaining.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 13:56 GMT)

Mahela, we need you for a long time as a captain.please make it longer and at the same time try to bring up some one with your guide to take over the team.and we wish you will be the great player in the world. you can do it good luck to u and all the team

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 13:47 GMT)

Good thinking. There is a need for good bowling coaches -both for pace & spin. The pool of bowlers there is now available for selection is shallow.

Posted by Romenevans on (April 9, 2012, 13:46 GMT)

may be call Jaisurya and Disilva back and make them captain this time and prepare sanga as the future captain...what say Lankan guys?

Posted by K.a.l.i.n.g.a_D_w.a.r.r.i.o.R on (April 9, 2012, 13:34 GMT)

I would love to see Angelo Mathews as captain of Sri Lanka.... He is the young talent who plays all the format and have certain captain abilities. Mahela guide Angelo to become ur successor.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 13:16 GMT)

this is real Captaincy.... real Hero... Salute...

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 13:07 GMT)

Ya..But Stay As Captain Till t20 WC!! you are the Best Leader We Have!!

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 12:57 GMT)

angalo can be that .............go angelo go.............go WARRIORS GO........WOW

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

Unarguably Mahela got the best cricketing brain in modern cricket and inspiring batsman who can win any game in any format single handedly. He should stick around at least for another 2-3 years until we find someone capable of leading SL team.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 12:11 GMT)

True captain, I like his comments about the team and management. He is a cool person.

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 12:10 GMT)

We need Chandimal as a permanant memeber of the TEST team..Sri Lanka should ask him to open or if not have to drop Prasanna and give CHandimal a chanve..Hard decesions should be taken if we want to groom a side..Bhanuka should be in the ODI teams and we have to give him a chance in not so important matches..Thrimanne is a big talent please be patient with him !

Posted by sampathsl on (April 9, 2012, 11:43 GMT)

SL having 3 serious problems. 1.No consistent fast bowling attack(need to find 2) 2.No consistent Opening pair (need to find 2) 3.No spinner for support Hareath (need to find 1)

Posted by   on (April 9, 2012, 11:32 GMT)

Srilankans are aware that Mahela is such a visionary leader... True ..It's healthier to have someone young stand by who is good enough take things to his hands once Mahela has ended the second phase of his captaincy

Our heartiest appreciations to Mahela Jayawardena on bringing Sri Lanka cricket to a decent position after a poor post-World Cup run...

It's quite obvious and we so felt the change u brought in the team... Especially the attacking fielding placements when opponents are struggling .... The use of DRS in Tests cricket... how you're energising youngsters to get the best out of them...

So many changes there have been in show since u stepped in...

I hope Mathews and other young lads take a leaf out of your book to withstand the challenge SL cricket will be up against in the future.....

Posted by purna478 on (April 9, 2012, 11:26 GMT)

may be mathews young nd energitic r perera

Posted by D.Fonseka on (April 9, 2012, 11:24 GMT)


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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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