Jayawardene decides to stay as skipper for a year

Mahela and Dilshan Sri Lanka Cricket

Newly appointed Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene stated that he would remain as captain for a year at maximum and that he decided to take up the job because previous captain Tillekaratne Dilshan resigned and there was no young contender for the job in the horizon. Speaking to journalists at the SLC headquarters yesterday, he said that there was no influence from anyone and that he had arrived at this decision for the own good of the team.

Former Sri Lanka captain Dilshan who was beside Jayawardene said that there was the option of the new selection panel headed by Ashantha De Mel to thrust him back to the helm after the resignation, but they have opted for Jayawardene and he’ll give his full backing for the new captain. He said “There was various news and reports regarding the status of captaincy around the 3rd ODI in South Africa. Initially I was given the position since the last tour, so I decided to resign giving the sole right for the newly appointed selectors to name a captain for the Australia series. They have gone for Mahela instead of me, so I’ll give my full backing to him.”

Asked whether he now feels aggrieved about his decision to quit captaincy he said, “Of course, there’s sadness to lose the captaincy, but I have no regrets about my time period as the skipper. It was challenging especially with no Muralitharan and Malinga and we believed in blooding youngsters to the team. I think we have succeeded to a certain extend in that aspect. Final two matches in South Africa we won due to main contributions from the likes of Dinesh Chandimal, Thisara Perera and Lahiru Thirimanne.” Dilshan, after laughing profusely, was quick to dead bat a question about whether a former cricketer turned current MP had any influence on the team matters with a ‘No’. It is a lie.” He further emphasized that there was no rift between the seniors and him at any point during the past seven months.

A journalist pointed out that Jayawardene’s recent form leaves a lot to be desired. The scribe needled whether it’s morally right to take up the role while his own place in the team is in doubt? “I accept my Test form is not where it should be, but if you look at my ODI performances in the past two years, it’s been two of the best years in my life. I led by example when I was captain last time and I believe I can rediscover that form soon,” he clarified.

Jayawardene vehemently denied the Minister’s claims that the team is rotten within and added that the blame for the poor results after the world cup should not lie with one individual. He apportioned the blame between the team, the selectors and toughness of the tours.

Queried about the Marsh sacking he said “Coaching change had nothing to do with us. It was the SLC’s decision to seek another path.” Jayawardene refrained from commenting on whether the sacking was right or not.

Mahela Jayawardena Sri Lanka Cricket

Courtesy: The Island / Pix by AP / Getty Images

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