Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has shrugged off criticism from Sri Lanka Cricket president Thilanga Sumathipala over his role of consultant with England. He called the disapproval "laughable", revealing that his 10-day stint with England is centered around player development, rather than providing specific tactical information.
"My role with England is to help develop their cricketers, and to help with how they should approach different challenges — like playing spin. The pools hadn't been decided when I agreed to do it. England did not 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," Jayawardene said, as quoted by ESPN Cricinfo.
"By the World T20, I would have been out of the one-day team for 12 months and out of the T20 team for almost two years. If the tactics of the dressing room haven't moved on in that time — if they are playing the same way — then there is a problem, isn't it?
"There are also a lot of new players in the Sri Lankan team that I haven't played with. But even for the guys like Angelo Matthews, or Lasith Malinga, or Dinesh Chandimal, isn't the challenge to keep evolving."
Jayawardene's comments come after reports emerged that current Sri Lanka Cricket president, Thilanga Sumathipala had expressed sadness and disappointment at the former skipper's resumption of the England job, which could see him reveal tactics and inside information on the Sri Lankan team. The president wanted a cooling off period of a minimum of 24 months before Sri Lankan players joined opposition sides in a coaching role.
Jayawardene last played a One-Day International (ODI) for Sri Lanka in 2015 while quitting T20 Internationals in 2014. Sri Lanka and England are drawn in Group One for the upcoming World T20 in India and will face each other at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi on 26 March, Sunday.