London: Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews hopes to utilise Mahela Jayawardene’s inside knowledge of the England set-up when the two teams meet in a Test series later this month.
Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews and Mahela Jayawardene
Jayawardene, one of Sri Lanka’s greatest batsman but retired from international cricket since last year’s 50-over World Cup, recently acted as a batting consultant to England including at the World Twenty20 in India where his ‘adopted’ team reached the final.
Jayawardene, who is due to have a stint playing for county side Somerset in English domestic cricket’s Twenty20 competition later this season, no longer has any official role with the England set-up ahead of the start of a three-Test series at Headingley on May 19. But according to Mathews, he will be close at hand for advice in his new role as a television commentator.
Mathews could also tap into the experience of another Sri Lankan batting star in Kumar Sangakkara, no longer on the international scene but now playing for London-based county side Surrey. “When it comes to international cricket there are no secrets to be honest,” Mathews told reporters at Lord’s, where Sri Lanka were training ahead of this weekend’s tour opener against Essex. “I think we have a lot of video footage, they have video footage of us as well, so there are no real secrets. When you get on the park you know what they are up to and the plan for this, and we get to know it. “But there might be a couple of tactical ideas that Mahela can predict. I’m pretty sure that guys like Mahela and Sangakkara will always come and help us.”
Earlier this year, Sri Lanka Cricket president Thilanga Sumathipala criticised Jayawardene when he started his second stint with England at the World Twenty20.
But Mathews was far more relaxed about his former team-mate working with a rival nation. “There’s no problem with guys like that working with other countries,” said the all-rounder.