COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka has appointed former captain Mahela Jayawardene as a consultant coach for its national cricket teams of different levels after his impactful role during the first stage of the recently-concluded Twenty20 World Cup, the cricket board said Monday.
Sri Lanka Cricket said Jayawardene's one-year contract will begin on Jan. 1 and he will work with players and coaches for both the senior team and youth teams at the national high performance center.
‘’We are extremely happy that Mahela is joining the national team for an extended role, especially given the context that Sri Lanka has a heavy international calendar during the year 2022,’’ the board quoted its chief executive, Ashley De Silva, as saying.
“Mahela’s contributions during the first round of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup became invaluable for the overall performances of our team in the concluded event," de Silva said.
Sri Lanka's low ranking meant the team had to play a qualifying round just to reach the Twenty20 World Cup that concluded last month, despite having won the tournament in 2014.
Sri Lanka played against Namibia, Ireland and Netherlands in qualifying and won comfortably and Jayawardene, who worked as a consultant during that stage, was credited with boosting the team's low confidence levels.
Sri Lanka also surpassed expectations in the main tournament, defeating the West Indies and competing well with leading teams like England, South Africa and eventual champion Australia.
Jayawardene played for Sri Lanka in 652 international matches across three formats and scored 25,957 runs. He was reputed as a strategic captain and a thinker.
He captained Sri Lanka in the 50-over World Cup in 2007, when the team lost to Australia in the final. He was part of the 2011 World Cup team which again finished runner-up, and the team that won the Twenty20 World Cup in 2014.
“I am very passionate about Sri Lankan cricket and believe that with a coordinated and focused team effort, taking a holistic approach working across all age groups, we can achieve consistent success in the future,” Jayawardene said.
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