Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Thursday announced former skipper Mahela Jayawardene will join the National team as consultant coach for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia.
“Yes, Mahela Jayawardene will join the team for the T20 World Cup. The squad is expected to take wing on 2 October and Mahela will probably join the team by the 6th,” said CEO Ashley de Silva at a media briefing at SLC Headquarters yesterday (15).
Jayawardene who has had successful coaching stints in franchise cricket with Mumbai Indians and Southern Brave in the Hundred, had earlier been part of the men’s senior team as a consultant for the first round of the T20 World Cup played in the UAE and Oman in October-November last year.
One of Sri Lanka’s greatest batters, Jayawardene is also regarded as one of the best captains Sri Lanka ever produced, and is renowned for his tactical acumen.
“Mahela is one reason behind our success in the recent past. He is actually playing a silent role and is involved in player selections and team strategies. For example, in junior cricket also we have improved a lot, and Mahela has made a huge contribution,” said SLC President Shammi Silva.
“We are all working as a team, including chief selector Pramodya Wickramasinghe. Earlier, the problem was we didn’t have former cricketers to help us, but now all of them have joined hands with us and it’s a huge support for us – that’s the reason behind our success”, he further added.
Replying to a query about Lasith Malinga’s involvement in the World Cup, Shammi Silva went onto say: “If we can get the services of Malinga, it will be a huge advantage for us, but unfortunately, due to personal reasons he will not travel with the team for Australia, but will join the squad in their training camp in Pallekelle.”
Asian Champions Sri Lanka now have momentum on their side, and will now be firm favourites in Group A in the first round against Namibia, Netherlands and UAE before joining the rest of the teams in the next stage. The Islanders will kick start their campaign against Namibia on 16 October, and face UAE in the second outing on the 18th, followed by the Netherlands clash on 20th.
Meanwhile, skipper Dasun Shanaka hinted that speedster Dushmantha Chameera, who was ruled out from the Asia Cup 2022 due to an injury, will be part of the squad for the World Cup.
“Dushmantha Chameera is one of our main bowlers and will definitely take part in the World Cup”, he Said.
By Mustaq Sydeen