Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene sprang a surprise on Wednesday by deciding to quit captaincy after the Test series in Pakistan,saying time is ripe for “fresh leadership” to take over.
Jayawardene met the national selectors this morning and after discussions it was agreed that he would quit captaincy after the two-Test series against Pakistan.
The first Test begins on February 21 in Karachi. Jayawardene though wants to continue as a player of the team,which suffered a 1-4 mauling in the five-match one-day series at the hands of India.
“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,” Jayawardene said in a statement. Jayawardene said it was not an easy decision to quit captaincy.
“It was not an easy decision to make because being the Sri Lanka captain has been the source of enormous pride. I am very grateful to have been granted the honour of leading the team,” Jayawardene said.
The 31-year-old batsman,who led Sri Lanka for the first time in April 2004,also pledged support to his successor. “I look forward now to extending my full support to my successor and hope to play a major part in the team’s success during coming years as a batsman,” he said.
Jayawardene was appointed regular captain in February 2006 and during his three-year tenure he led Sri Lanka in 26 Tests winning 15,losing seven with four draws with a win percentage of 62.50,the highest of any Sri Lankan captain in history.
Sri Lanka won 54 and lost 35 out of 94 one-dayers under him with a win ratio of 57 percent. Under him,Sri Lanka reached the final of the 2007 World Cup before losing to Australia.
As captain he averaged 64.70 in Tests,scoring 11 centuries and averaged 34.22 as ODI captain. Overall,he has 7959 Test runs to his credit in exactly 100 matches at an average of 52.36 while in 200 ODIs he scored 8042 runs at 32.03.