Mahela Jayawardene has hit back at SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala and brushed off criticism by contending that his 10-day consulting role with the England cricket team was aimed at player development and not providing tactical information. He has also said that Sumathipala’s questioning of his ethics is “laughable”.
“My role with England is to help develop their cricketers, and to help with how they should approach different challenges – like playing spin,” Jayawardene said. “The pools hadn’t been decided when I agreed to do it. England didn’t hire me to give information on the Sri Lankan team. They have analysts and coaches to do that. I’m quite disappointed to see those comments from the board, to be fair,” the former Sri Lankan captain said.
Sumathipala had earlier expressed “sadness and disappointment” a Jayawardene coming back to cricket in the form of a coaching role with the England team, and the SLC President asserted that a “colling off period” of 24 months was appropriate before Sri Lankan players joined other oppositions in a coaching or advisory role. Sumathipala went on to suggest that Jayawardene, who retired from ODIs in March 2015, could conceivably reveal tactical information about the Sri Lankan side.”
“By the World T20, I would have been out of the one-day team for 12 months, and out of the T20 team almost two years,” Jayawardene said. “If the tactics of that dressing room haven’t moved on in that time – if they are still playing the same way – then there’s a problem, isn’t it?
“There are also a lot of new players in this Sri Lanka team that I haven’t played with. But even for the guys like Angelo Mathews, or Lasith Malinga, or Dinesh Chandimal, isn’t the challenge to keep evolving?”
Mahela said that there was nothing unethical in his role with England, and even questioned Sri Lanka’s hiring of Graham Ford.
“Ford has worked at Surrey with Jason Roy – the England opener – for the last three years. I guess that would be unethical as well. In my heart, I’ve had Sri Lankan cricket right at the top, but I’m also a professional.