India Tour of Sri Lanka: Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Mumbai Indians are known to nurture talents. If Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah are prime examples, in recent years, Ishan Kishan and Suryakumar Yadav, Rahul Chahar have emerged as strong contenders and earning national team call-ups. But the credit goes to MI’s head coach Mahela Jayawardene, who has done a remarkable job, not only to nurture talents but also to produce champions, similarly to what former India captain Rahul Dravid has done. Sri Lanka cricket wants to take a cue from that and utilise Jayawardene to develop its U-19 team who can one day dominate world cricket.
Former Sri Lankan captain Aravinda de Silva, who is now chairman of the Sri Lanka cricket technical committee, has roped in Mahela Jayawardene to take up the coaching job of Sri Lanka U-19 and nurture budding talents, saying that he has been inspired by Rahul Dravid’s remarkable achievements. Jayawardene will take up his job after IPL 2021 in October.
India Tour of Sri Lanka:
“I think that (U-19) is where the foundation is and if you lay the foundation right at the U-19 level, it becomes so much easier to really progress from thereon. That’s where I feel you would be able to instil knowledge. That is where you can truly express themselves; once you have the foundation with someone like Rahul Dravid, you all know he is a very disciplined individual. I think when he was appointed as the U-19 coach, I thought India did a good job. Sri Lanka has been trying to convince Mahela Jayawardene to take (up) the U-19 job for a long time but I was not so successful in doing so,” Aravinda de Silva said during a virtual press conference arranged by Sony Network, IND vs SL series’ official broadcaster.
India Tour of Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka Cricket to go through massive changes
– SLC is keen on replicating BCCI model to lead successful teams
– Mahela Jayawardene to join as a consultant for U-19 and Sri Lanka A team from October
– Avishka Gunawardena will be the coach of Sri Lanka U-19 and A sides
– Roshan Mahanama to replace Mickey Arthur as Sri Lanka’s head coach
– Batting coach Grant Flower to be shown the door with a Sri Lankan taking over immediately
With Sri Lanka cricket currently under turmoil over various aspects of the game, the island country has lost its footing in world cricket. The recent loss in England and Bangladesh are just two examples. But Aravinda de Silva believes if they can tap the talent at an early age and nurture them through one of its greatest batsmen of all time, Mahela Jayawardene could lay the foundation for future generations.
“Sri Lanka Under 19 team is the most important team. If we want to make a better future for our cricket, the foundation has to be laid on Under 19 cricket. So, we need to give more attention to that level. We plan to deploy a good coach for the Sri Lanka U19 team and invite someone like Mahela to work with the team as a consultant. Mahela told me that he will join the team as a consultant from October,” De Silva later said in a discussion on Hiru TV.
While Mahela Jayawardene has already worked a consultant with England side besides coaching Mumbai Indians franchise, it will take a lot for Sri Lanka cricket to convince him to take up the role. But despite his multiple commitments, SLC is still keen on getting his services for U-19, even if it is as a consultant.
However, even if he comes in as a consultant, Avishka Gunawardena, another former player, will be given the full-time coaching job for the U-19 and Sri Lanka A side. SLC is also trying to rope in Roshan Mahanama for a different role in the national setup.
Avishka Gunawardena had coached Sri Lanka A side earlier but was suspended for nearly two years since May 29 for alleged corruption charges. But he has now been cleared to resume. Roshan Mahanama’s candidature is being proposed as a replacement for coach Mickey Arthur, whose tenure will end after the ICC T20 World Cup. Even there, SLC is taking a cue from BCCI. SLC believes despite having inadequate coaching credentials, Mahanama will be a good man-manager like India head coach Ravi Shastri. “We are looking at someone who can be like Ravi Shastri, to play the role of a mentor,” sources said.
Furthermore, Sri Lanka’s batting coach Grant Flower is also set to leave. During his tenure, Sri Lanka’s batting has gone downhill and he is going to be replaced as soon as possible.