Sri Lanka news February 26, 2016

SLC unhappy with Jayawardene's England consulting role

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Mahela Jayawardene had previously worked with England during their tour to the UAE last year © Getty Images

Sri Lanka Cricket has taken a dim view of Mahela Jayawardene's resumption of a consulting role with England for 10 days of the forthcoming World T20. SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala labeled Jayawardene's temporary job "sad and disappointing", even while his board rejected the clustered provincial first-class tournament Jayawardene had played a leading role in devising last year.

Jayawardene had previously worked with England for two Tests, during their tour to the UAE in 2015. Former Sri Lanka coaches Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace - both of whom are now in the England set-up - had been instrumental in bringing Jayawardene into the fold, and the England players had been complimentary of the expertise Jayawardene offered.

But with Sri Lanka now scheduled to play England in the group stage of the World T20, Sumathipala has taken issue with the potential sharing of inside information.

"I had a lot of respect and gratitude for Mahela's knowledge, but now he's advisor to a competing team of ours," Sumathipala said. "I'm very disappointed that a national captain, within a few months of retirement, has been retained by another team at a World Cup.

"You could go to a club, a province, an IPL kind of team, or a county. But this is a World Cup. You can't have a player who has just left your country's team joining a competitive nation. All the contracted players who are playing, once they retire from the game, should have at least 24 months before joining another team for giving advice or coaching."

Jayawardene played his last ODI for Sri Lanka in March last year, but had quit T20s in April 2014. His forthcoming role with England will end on March 25 at the latest, with Sri Lanka scheduled to play England on March 26.

"You need that minimum cooling-off period, because you were recently in the team," Sumathipala said. "You know the team's strengths and its weaknesses because you're inside the team. You know your team planning ahead of the World Cup. I think I've been very sad and disappointed by this."

Sumathipala said SLC would now look at introducing a no-compete clause in Sri Lanka's player contracts, in order to avoid the transfer of sensitive information. He also suggested Jayawardene had been unprincipled in taking up the role.

"I don't think this is just a matter of contract. You captained Sri Lanka, you played for your country, and after a few months you go and represent another country and advise against your own nation? I'm talking here about ethics of cricket."

Jayawardene has had contrasting relationships with various SLC boards. He had engaged in public skirmishes with the board featuring Nishantha Ranatunga, which operated until March 2015. His ideas were then embraced by the Sidath Wettimuny-led interim committee, whom he had advised on domestic cricket, in an unpaid capacity. He now appears to be at odds again with Sumathipala's administration, which has scrapped Jayawardene's plan to cluster clubs to help administer provincial sides, labeling that structure "impractical".

Jayawardene was not offered a formal role with Sri Lanka, but had advised the team informally, particularly ahead of India's tour of Sri Lanka in August last year.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ms.Cricket on February 27, 2016, 22:58 GMT

    The current Sri Lanka team have no chance in the World T20 so it is a big hue and cry over nothing.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 27, 2016, 18:26 GMT

    "I had a lot of respect and gratitude for Mahela's knowledge" - Interesting statement considering he scrapped Mahela's plans for changes to Sri Lanka's first class competition and had no interest in retaining his services as a coach, adviser or administrator in any capacity in Sri Lanka. Lovely, meaningless words.

  • OttawaRocks on February 27, 2016, 17:04 GMT

    In the ranking of priorities a man's first priority is to himself and his family. Thereafter, his country might come next or even further down on the list. Thus, Mahela was perfectly within his right to pursue other economic opportunities benefiting himself and/or his family. The only exception would be if he was already tied down by a contract that prevented him for doing so - such as by a previously agreed to non-compete clause that SLC bound him to. This doesn't seem to be the case. Consequently, Mahela is in both the legal and ethical right here.

  • TheMysteryMan on February 27, 2016, 12:30 GMT

    What BS is this? He is retired and free to do what he wants. Its a sport. Countries all around the world hire foreign coaches. Retired players turn to coaching, umpiring or commentary. Nothing unusual about it. If they did not want their recently retired players from taking up job somewhere else, they should pay these players contract money or lump sum amount for that additional cool down period. I know for fact that SLC does not offer anything like that to retired players. He is a free man, free to earn living any way he sees fit and is within the bounds of national and international laws. SLC needs to get their head out of their rear and find ways to work on their own current team.

  • DCDC on February 27, 2016, 12:27 GMT

    Mr. Sumathipala you have a point, but we need to consider few more facts. From team point of view insider information can be leaked even unintentionally to our competitors, i agree. But when a player retires he is free to find work as a professional anywhere. There are no restrictions legally or ethically as far as i have seen events in the past ( unless we introduce now ). We need to start this in house locally. Recently retied payers appointing as selection committee is even more ethically unhealthy practice while his team mates are still in the team. Example Aravinda de silva(2010) and Sanath Jayasuriya (2013). ( because all humans carry excess baggage ) In search of solution, 1. if you can add this to SLC constitution, by no player can take part in coaching or administration until he completes three years from his retirement. 2. Get this stamped from ICC and make it global.

    I am sure you agree it is better and more holistic approach.

  • izzidole on February 27, 2016, 10:12 GMT

    What's all this fuss about Mahela Jayawardena's role as a consultant for the England cricket team for the T20 cricket world cup? It's only for a very short period of time of just 10 days only to learn how to play spin bowling in the Indian subcontinent. It's not a permanent coaching role with the England Cricket Board. But I don't think it is going to work in such a short period of time. Sri Lanka's main concern would be that Jayawardena will reveal the strategies and weaknesses of the Sri Lanka cricket team since he has played with members of the team for many years until recently. Muralitharan had a similar role with the Australian Cricket Board against Pakistan in the UAE in 2014 which ended in utter disaster for the aussies losing to Pakistan 3-0. I reckon that too was a brainchild of Bayliss who was the Australian coach in charge for that tour. Apparently Bayliss has no confidence in himself and hasn't learnt his lesson yet.

  • tvumpire.com on February 27, 2016, 6:32 GMT

    Appoint him as a coach and ask him what to do and what not. Its pure individuals decision now.

  • offroadsandlimits on February 27, 2016, 5:57 GMT

    That is an idiotic belief. I am sure that Mahela is not with England to share the secrets of Sri Lankan weaknesses. A man of his calibre will be of much better use to England than for devising strategies against his own countrymen. Team's benefit vastly from the different perspectives that curious minds like him bring to the table. This is a common theme: Rod Marsh, who was an Australian wicketkeeper, ran the national academy of England. Wasim Akram can often be seen discussing fast bowling with bowlers from all nationalities. Instead of perceiving this as a betrayal of the national cause, it would serve cricket much better to look at it as transfer of knowledge.

  • Anubhav-the-Experience on February 27, 2016, 5:47 GMT

    SLC should have made rules in this regard but their concerns are genuine.

  • GAUTAMKUMAR on February 27, 2016, 5:41 GMT

    How "recently" a 11 months or 24 months period can be for a career choice which is hardly 15 years in average length? Does it mean that Sri Lankan team strategy has not evolved since his retirement? Or does he mean that Sri Lanka is going to apply same strategy against Topley that they applied against Ashwin this summer? Mahela's advises anyways didn't seem to work for Sri Lanka then. Something is seriously amiss here.

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