Didn't want Mahela to be banned: Chief selector De Mel

Oct 02, 2012, 17:33 IST | Bipin Dani

By relieving Mahela Jaywardene from the captaincy for yesterday's match against England, the Sri Lankan team management showed fine presence of mind. Kumar Sangakkara led the side while Jayawardene figured as an ordinary player.


Eyebrows were raised when Kumar Sangakkara, and not regular captain Mahela Jayawardene, walked out to toss in Monday's last Super Eights match against England in Pallekele. 

Both Jayawardene and designated vice-captain Angelo Mathews were part of the playing eleven, but the team sheet had senior pro Sangakkara as skipper in an extraordinary turn of events.

Jayawardene explained later the change was made to prevent him and Mathews from missing out on the semi-finals since both of them were already serving a one-match notice for slow over-rates.

Sangakkara, Jayawardene
Sangakkara, Jayawardene switched places against England. 

“As a captain, Mahela was fined for the team’s slow over rate in the previous game and had he been fined again for the same offence yesterday, he would have been banned for the next match. We did not want to miss an important player like him. So, the captain was changed,” chief selector, Ashantha De Mel said from Colombo.


India’s former ICC umpire Suresh Shastri didn’t find anything wrong in the move. “It’s not against the spirit of the game.

There’s no violation of laws. It is as simple as changing the batting order for different game,” said Shastri.

“Sri Lanka can name any eligible player as captain for a match during this tournament as long as it is done at the toss,” clarified ICC official Lucy Benjamin. 

"The intention was not wrong," Jayawardene revealed after his team's 19-run win over England. "I had a warning for an over-rate issue, and if it happened again I could have missed the next match. It's a tough system and it's tough to bowl 20 overs in one hour and 20 minutes in a tournament like this.

"We try our best, but the penalties are harsh. We don't want to miss the big games, so we did it with the right intentions.

"Angelo Mathews was on the same offence, so if he got nailed he would have missed the game as well. We had to find someone who didn't have a rap sheet and Kumar fitted the bill."

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