Mahela Jayawardene disappointed with comments of SLC president
Former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene expressed his disappointment at the comments of the president of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), who was unhappy with the 38-year-old for accepting a consulting role with England in the upcoming ICC World Twenty20.
Jayawardene will work with the England squad for a period of 10 days from the start of the ICC World T20 and this appointment did not go down well with Thilanga Sumathipala, the president of SLC.
On Friday, Sumathipala reacted to Mahela’s appointment by stating that he was disappointed with the former Sri Lanka captain for agreeing to work with an opponent in the mega-event.
“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.
“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.”
Sri Lanka are grouped along with England, South Africa, West Indies and the team which tops the Group B in the qualifying stages.
However, Jayawardene disagreed with Sumathipala’s views and said that he agreed to work with England even before the pools were decided in the Super 10 phase.
“My role with England is to help develop their cricketers, and to help with how they should approach different challenges - like playing spin,” Jayawardene said.
“The pools hadn’t been decided when I agreed to do it.
“England didn’t hire me to give information on the Sri Lankan team.
“They have analysts and coaches to do that.
“I’m quite disappointed to see those comments from the board, to be fair.”
Sumathipala also stressed that the players who have retired from the game should not work with any other rival team for at least a period of 24 months.
Jayawardene replied by pointing out that it has been nearly two years since he retired from the T20 International format and almost 12 months since he bid good bye to the One-Day Internationals.
“By the World T20, I would have been out of the one-day team for 12 months, and out of the T20 team almost two years,” Jayawardene said.
“If the tactics of that dressing room haven’t moved on in that time - if they are still playing the same way - then there’s a problem, isn’t it?
“There are also a lot of new players in this Sri Lanka team that I haven’t played with.
“But even for the guys like Angelo Mathews, or Lasith Malinga, or Dinesh Chandimal, isn’t the challenge to keep evolving?”
Earlier in 2015, Jayawardene worked with the England team as a batting consultant during their Test series against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates.
© Cricket World 2016