Sri Lankas Mahela Jayawardene is stepping down as captain after their tour of Pakistan,the 31-year-old announced on Wednesday.
Jayawardene,Sri Lankas most successful Test captain,met with national selectors earlier in the day and informed them of his decision to stand down after three years at the helm. Sri Lanka are preparing for a two-Test series in Pakistan,the first starting on February 21.
In the best interests of the Sri Lanka team,I have decided to stand down as Sri Lanka captain after this Pakistan tour, Jayawardene said in a statement. This is something I have been considering for some time as it has been my long-held belief that my successor should have at least 18 months in the job to imprint his vision on the team for the 2011 World Cup. After much thought,I have concluded that the right time has now come for fresh leadership to takeover.
During the past three months Jayawardene has struggled with the bat in one-day cricket,although he did score a half-century in the recent series to end a 14-match run without a fifty.
However,his batting record as captain has been excellent with a Test average of 64.70,including 11 centuries in 26 games.
In one-day cricket,his average in 97 games is 34.22 with four hundreds. Jayawardenes win ratio as Test captain is 63 percent,the highest in Sri Lankas 27-year Test history,and for ODIs it is 57 percent.
In 2006,the ICC named Jayawardene Test Captain of the Year and in both 2007 and 2008 Sri Lanka won the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award under his leadership. Kumar Sangakkara,Jayawardenes deputy during the past few years,is tipped to takeover the captaincy from a one-day series against Zimbabwe in March.
Jayawardene pledged his full support to his successor and confirmed his desire to play on in all forms of the game.
It was not an easy decision to make because being Sri Lanka national captain has been the source of enormous pride and I am very grateful to have been granted the honour of leading the team during the last three years,he added.
I look forward now to extending my full support to my successor and hope to play a major part in the teams success during coming years as a batsman.