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‘I took a calculated cricketing decision’ – Jayawardene

Sri Lanka’s most successful Captain has decided to step down from captaincy at the end of this current tour of Pakistan. During the media briefing in Lahore skipper Jayawardene spoke openly about his decision to step down.

I think I am just going to enjoy it the way I have enjoyed the last three years.

I took a calculated cricketing decision. We have some players with leadership qualities. I think it is time they got a chance and I just want to be there to support and help them implement their plans.

There is some talk within the cricket circles in Colombo requesting Mahela to reconsider his decision. It would be contrary to the man’s style and character to expect a change.

Mahela made the decision to step down – sitting next to his pater –  watching the T20 encounter between Sri Lanka and India. The selectors decided to rest Mahela and Kumar. TM Dilshan was the stand in Captain.

Let’s now go back to 2006. Sanath Jayasuriya was dropped from the tour to England. The selectors and Tom moody felt that Jayasuriya needed to take a back seat if young openers were going to be given a chance. Ashantha De Mel the Chairman of selectors went against the decision made by the team management, skipper, and other selectors.

Sanath was flown to England.

Moody and Mahela chose to leave Sanath out of  the second Test match in the series. They were forced to include him in the 3rd match. De Mel was a part of the touring party on selection duty.

Before the start of the second test match Sanath was already in England. The pressure immediately told on the young Tharanga – when the veteran opener was gunning for his spot –  he scored a pair in the 2ND Test.

Sanath however was not allowed to open, instead he was sent lower down the order. Mahela stuck to his mantra of giving the young openers Vandort and Tharanga a chance.

It was Ashantha De Mel who was inspirational in leaving Mahela out of the T20I against India. Sitting that game out – Mahela’s decision was clear. He could no longer gamble with his career. This captaincy thing was not worth the sacrifices.

Ashantha de Mel
Full name Ashantha Lakdasa Francis de Mel
Born May 9, 1959, Colombo
Current age 49 years 295 days
Major teams Sri Lanka
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm medium-fast

Do I risk my career as a batsman for Sri Lanka? Or should I let the captaincy go and let someone else worry about it while I concentrate on my batting?

These are the questions Mahela asked him self. The answer to anyone is clear. He had to let it go. It was just not worth the trouble.

Being the skipper of Sri Lanka is not a privilege it’s a burden.

What Mahela has achieved with our administrators and selectors is remarkable. A weaker man would not have survived.

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