Mahela Jayawardene appointed as consultant for Sri Lanka team for T20 World Cup first round

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has finally managed to secure former skipper and IPL’s most successful coach with Mumbai Indians Mahela Jayawardene as a consultant for Dasun Shanaka & Co ahead of the T20 World Cup and the U-19 team after a lengthy negotiation.

“He will share his considerable knowledge and provide essential strategic advice for the players and management team during a seven-day period from October 16 to 23, when the squad will face Namibia, Ireland, and the Netherlands in a bid to qualify for the Group Stages,” the SLC said in a statement.

While SLC wanted to hire Mahela Jayawardena right after the India series, the Mumbai Indians coach was preoccupied with his duties as coach of The Hundred. He was committed to MI after winning the title with Southern Brave. He has now pledged to join the team following the IPL 2021 campaign. He will, however, just be a consultant for five months and is unlikely to be retained for the 2022 T20 World Cup.

Jayawardene, who has been the head coach of the Mumbai Indians since 2017 (when they won the IPL for the first time and have won it twice since), will transfer from the IPL franchise’s bio-bubble in Abu Dhabi to that of the Sri Lankan team immediately after the competition concludes.

The role with the Under-19 squad will be for a five-month period and in a “honorary capacity,” according to the board. Following a suggestion from the SLC’s technical advisory group, the double appointment was made.

“We are delighted to welcome Mahela to his new positions, as his presence with the Sri Lanka team and the Under-19 team will be extremely beneficial to the players,” SLC CEO Ashley De Silva said in a statement. “Mahela was respected for the tremendous cricketing knowledge he provided to the game, first as a player, then as a captain, and now as a coach for several teams, since his playing days.”

Jayawardene, one of the game’s most prolific run scorers with 11,814 Test runs and 12,650 ODI runs, captained Sri Lanka in 38 Tests, 129 ODIs, and 19 T20Is, and was the captain when Sri Lanka finished second to West Indies in the 2012 T20 World Cup final. He began coaching after his playing career ended, and has worked with the England men’s team, as well as franchises in India, Bangladesh, and England.