Mahela Jayawardene had previously worked with England during their tour to the UAE last year © Getty Images
Sri Lanka Cricket has taken a dim view of Mahela Jayawardene‘s resumption of a consulting role with England for 10 days of the forthcoming World T20. SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala labeled Jayawardene’s temporary job “sad and disappointing”, even while the present board rejected the clustered provincial first-class tournament Jayawardene had played a leading role in devising last year.
Jayawardene had previously worked with England for two Tests, during their tour to the UAE last year. Former Sri Lanka coaches Trevor Bayliss and Paul Farbrace, both of whom are now in the England set-up, had been instrumental in bringing Jayawardene into the fold. England players had been complimentary of the expertise Jayawardene offered.
But with Sri Lanka now scheduled to play England in the group stage of the World T20, Sumathipala has taken issue with the sharing of inside information.
“I had a lot of respect and gratitude for Mahela’s knowledge, but now he’s advisor to a competing team of ours,” Sumathipala said. “I’m very disappointed that a national captain, within a few months of retirement, has been retained by another team at a World Cup.
“You could go to a club, a province, an IPL kind of team, or a county. But this is a World Cup. You can’t have a player who has just left your country’s team joining a competitive nation. All the contracted players who are playing, once they retire from the game, should have at least 24 months before joining another team for giving advice or coaching.”
Jayawardene played his last ODI for Sri Lanka in March last year, but had quit T20s in April 2014. His forthcoming role with England will end on March 25 at the latest, with Sri Lanka scheduled to play England on March 26.
“You need that minimum cooling-off period, because you were recently in the team,” Sumathipala said. “You know the team’s strengths and its weaknesses because you’re inside the team. You know your team planning ahead of the World Cup. I think I’ve been very sad and disappointed by this.”
Sumathipala said SLC would now look at introducing a no-compete clause in Sri Lanka’s player contracts, in order to avoid the transfer of sensitive information. He also suggested Jayawardene had been unprincipled in taking up the role.
“I don’t think this is just a matter of contract. You captained Sri Lanka, you played for your country, and after a few months you go and represent another country and advise against your own nation? I’m talking here about ethics of cricket.”
Jayawardene had advised the previous SLC administration on domestic cricket, in an unpaid capacity. The recommendations he had made, particularly regarding the clustering of clubs to help administer provincial sides, has now been labeled impractical, and scrapped by the present board. He was not offered a formal role with Sri Lanka, but had advised the team informally, particularly ahead of India’s tour of Sri Lanka in August last year.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo