Article

Jayawardene to hand back captaincy again

13 December 2012 06:02

Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene has announced he will step down from the role after his side's tour of Australia.

The 35-year-old is in his second stint in the job, taking over from Tillakaratne Dilshan in January after the opener decided to relinquish the captaincy.

Jayawardene said the time had come for a younger man to step into the position, and nominated all-rounder Angelo Mathews, 25, as his preferred choice.

"It's much easier for Sri Lankan cricket if we get a new guy in while the senior players are still around so that we can help him out,'' Jayawardene told reporters in Hobart on Thursday.

"We need to move on to a younger leader.

"Angelo's the one everyone's earmarked and I think he's good enough.''

Jayawardene, who captained his country to the 2007 ICC World Cup final, said he had thoroughly enjoyed his second stint at the helm.

"It's been brilliant,'' he said.

"I've enjoyed the last year, what I've achieved."

Asked about criticism of his side's pace stocks, Jayawardene conceded it was a new-look attack but asked people to wait until after the three-Test series before writing his quicks off.

"Teams have to start somewhere," Jayawardene said.

"We've lost some fast bowlers, some due to injuries.

"This is an attack which is probably different and we probably don't have the pace that you think which is required to win Test matches in Australia. But we've got guys who will bowl good lines and lengths and create opportunities."

The skipper said he was happy with the way his side had improved in training after drawing their tour opener with an Australian Chairman's XI in Canberra last week, and is looking forward to the first Test, which begins in Hobart on Friday.

"The last three or four days, the net practices and the preparation has been brilliant here," he said.

"We had some really good weather, we had some long sessions to try and work on things which we need to do. Preparation wise, we're very happy with what we've done."

Jayawardene also used Friday's press conference to reveal the Sri Lankan XI for the Hobart match.

Sri Lanka: Dimuth Karunaratne, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene (c), Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews, Prasanna Jayawardene, Nuwan Kulasekara, Chanaka Welegedara, Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath.

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