As Sri Lanka strive to enter the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup in UAE, their former captain Mahela Jayawardene will be helping the team along after being appointed as a consultant for the initial round of the tournament.
Jayawardene will be there in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, where Sri Lanka face Namibia, Ireland and the Netherlands in the preliminary round with the aim to secure one of the two Group A slots in the Super 12s.
The Lankan batting great, who is now a successful coach around the T20 circuit, is also roped in by SLC as a mentor for the Under-19s, who are preparing for the next year’s junior 50-over World Cup in the Caribbean. Jayawardene, SLC confirmed, will stay with the U-19 side for a five-month stretch in a “honorary capacity”.
With Super 12 qualification at the T20 World Cup being Sri Lanka’s immediate priority, SLC said it hopes Jayawardene will be able to “share his vast experience and provide invaluable strategic support” during the week-long period where the Island nation will take on Namibia, Ireland, and the Netherlands on October 18, 20 and 22, respectively.
In the past, Sri Lanka Cricket has got into rifts with greats like Jayawardene over their suggestions to resolve administrative issues which have plagued Sri Lankan cricket for a long time now. But the board has now got him on board following a recommendation from its technical advisory committee.
Post his retirement in 2015, Jayawardene, who played 149 Tests, 448 ODIs and 55 T20Is for Sri Lanka, has built a solid reputation for himself as a coach. Jayawardene has been with IPL franchise Mumbai Indians as a head coach since the start of the 2017 season and has guided them to three titles.
Jayawardene will be leaving MI’s bio-bubble in Abu Dhabi at the end of the UAE leg of IPL 2021 and enter Sri Lanka’s bubble for the all-crucial preliminary stage.