Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has been appointed head coach of the Mumbai Indians franchise. Jayawardene will replace former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, whose two-year contract in the role will expire soon. Jayawardene's contract is reportedly for more than one year, but the franchise did not reveal the details.
"Mahela Jayawardene's appointment has come in the wake of Ricky Ponting - coach for the previous two years - contract coming to a close," the franchise announced in a media release issued on Friday.
Jayawardene has played for three franchises in the IPL since the tournament's inception in 2008. He began with Kings XI Punjab (2008-2010), before switching to Kochi Tuskers for one season (2011), followed by two seasons with Delhi Daredevils.
After retiring from international cricket in 2015, Jayawardene has featured in T20 leagues around the world, with teams hiring him as a mentor-cum-player. This will be the former Sri Lanka captain's first stint as a coach.
"I am very excited by the appointment and glad that the Mumbai Indians management appreciated my presentation and ideas," Jayawardene said. "In what is a new chapter in my career, I will be striving hard to bring them [Mumbai] more on-field success and joy."
The franchise did not explain why Ponting's contract was not being renewed, and did not reveal whether this decision was taken by the management or Ponting. Having won their second IPL title in 2015, Mumbai failed to make the knockouts, finishing fifth in IPL 2016.
Ponting, who retired from all forms of cricket in 2013, was bought by Mumbai for his base price of $400,000 in the IPL 2013 auction. He was appointed captain for that season but stepped down midway through the tournament due to bad form. Mumbai eventually went on to win their first IPL title that season under Ponting's replacement, Rohit Sharma.
Ponting was appointed in an advisory capacity for the 2014 season and signed a two-year contract as coach the following year.