Mahela Jayawardene does not agree with a lot of hypothetical theories that have been flying around in the past few days on how Sri Lanka cricket team would be adversely affected during the forthcoming tour of England after national team coach Paul Farbrace suddenly changed camp and joined England without warning.
The Sri Lankan stalwart, world cricket’s second most senior player after West Indian Shivnarine Chanderpaul, told “Daily Mirror” yesterday that he did not think Farbrace’s defection was going to have such a big negative impact as many pundits have surmised. Jayawardene felt there was hardly any classified information on Sri Lanka Farbrace could have carried home as there is nothing unknown to the world about the game of today’s international cricketers.
“I don’t think Paul going to England will affect us that much. All the teams know how we play. We kept improving on the way we’ve done and we just have to adapt to the conditions and keep challenging ourselves to do well. I honestly don’t think that’s (Farbrace joining England team coaching staff) going to affect us,” the former Sri Lanka skipper widely regarded for cricketing acumen stated.
Jayawardene did not see any miracles performed by Farbrace within his three months in charge of the Sri Lanka team which won the Asia Cup and ICC World T20 title within that period, but analyzed it as careful progression made by the team over a period of time.
“The team had been together for a long time and we became number one team (in world rankings) before Paul came along. So it’s been a gradual process. We worked with Graham (Ford) for two years and things were in place. Personnel and individual players chosen and all that,” he reasoned.
“Paul is great guy, he is a good coach. He gives a lot of confidence to the players. That’s what he brought to the table. It helped us. There were things in place for some time and the team gradually worked their way through to the world cup,” Jayawardene said outlining the success story in brief.
Jayawardene said Farbrace’s move as “disappointing” but felt there was no point worrying too much as it was beyond the control of the team.
“As players this is something we can’t control obviously. These are decision made further up the ladder. It is disappointing on both sides because we would’ve loved to have him going with us forward. But he had made a decision. I think we just need to move on like we’ve always done as a team,” he added.
Jayawardene felt Sri Lanka were lucky to have Marvan Atapattu and rest of the team’s coaching staff ready to take over as they had worked with the present team for quite a while.
“We’ve got Marvan and the coaches who have been with us for the last two-three years. So there is continuity which is great.”
Jayawardene also saw merit in securing the services of former England player Chris Adams as team’s consultant for the tour of England.
“He’ll be a good addition to us. Just to get insight of how the wickets are playing, how the conditions are and for us to keep someone in our corner,” said Jayawardene.
The 36-year old stylish right-hander who has played 143 Tests and 412 One Day Internationals in a long and illustrious international career is probably making his final tour of England as Sri Lanka’s next tour is not scheduled there till 2016.
He said that he was looking forward to this tour and making one more appearance at the hallowed Lord’s ground in London in the first Test starting on June 12.
“I’ve always enjoyed playing in England, especially at Lord’s. It is one of my favourite venues. I am looking forward to the tour. We’ve got some very good young talent and with this young team I am looking forward to the challenge,” said Jayawardene who has played ten Tests in England and made 614 runs at an average 34.11 with two centuries. In three Tests at Lord’s, he has scored two centuries and averages 75.00.
Jayawardene who has been impressed by Sri Lanka’s next generation cricketers, also lauded the decision to promote 24-year old Lahiru Thirimanne as the team’s deputy.
“He had two great years with us. Obviously he has been rewarded for all the good work he has done. He is obviously a very strong player mentally. He has shown that in all forms of the game. Obviously the selectors have seen something special in him. He seems a very calm, cool headed person and obviously the leadership qualities are there. It will be good move for the team,” observed Jayawardene.
Jayawardene has also been happy about the way Sri Lanka’s new coaching team under Atapattu has started their stint.
“Preparations have been very good. The practices we’ve had, had been very well organized and a lot of input and practice done with purpose, looking at the conditions in England. Very proactive sessions. I enjoyed that very much,” added Jayawardene.
Jayawardene tipped Sri Lanka to do well in England where Sri Lanka have performed creditably well in the past according to him.
“Every tour we go (with the aim) to win. We’ve done that in the past in England as well. We’ve always put our hand up and performed in the last four or five tours in England. There won’t be anything different this time. Processes will be the same. It will be a great challenge to us”. (Channaka de Silva)