Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mahela Jayawardene: T20 has improved my game

The former Sri Lankan captain, who is in India with the Wayamba Elevens for the Airtel Champions League Twenty20, is regarded as one of the most elegant and stylish batsmen of his era?

He is not your usual slam-bang batsman. How exactly has he then been so successful in the shortest format of the game?

”You have to adapt yourself to different ways of playing. At the same time, if you can be innovative and consolidating, then there is nothing like it.

“That’s where all batsmen try to adjust. I think T20 has improved my game and made me understand my strengths better,” Mahela said.

Jayawardene, who relinquished the Lankan captaincy earlier this year to concentrate on his batting, was a distraught man after his team’s appalling first round exit from the ICC Champions Trophy in South Africa.

“It was very disappointing. We were playing good cricket in the lead up to the Champions Trophy but we made some serious mistakes in South Africa.

Our fielding wasn’t where it should have been and we failed to click.”

However, Jaywardene has a lot of hope for the future and that glint in his eyes gave it away. Sri Lankan cricket after all is in safe hands, rather the safe gloves of Kumar Sangakkara.

“Sanga is taking us to the next level. The team puts in everything for him and he is a tough nut too.”

Jayawardene believed that the Champions Trophy show was just a ‘blip’ in the radar and exuded confidence in the team learning from its mistakes.

For a player of Jayawardene’s class, it would not be too misplaced to look for young talent that reminds him of his style but no, Mahela refuses to get there.

“I have always encouraged players to inculcate their own style and following their own instincts on the field. My hope is that they will achieve what we have and take Sri Lankan cricket to even greater glories.”

The professional that he is, Jaywaredene knows he cannot take things for granted in the CL T20, where the competition will be no less than on an international arena.

“We just need to focus as the conditions will be different and we do have a very young group of players,” Jayawardene said of Wayamaba.

He did concede that the IPL teams will have the advantage of home conditions but that did not worry the team a lot.

“It is a great opportunity for some of our younger players to compete against some of the best teams in the world.”

Jayawardene is not just a man of words. He likes to act and let his bat talk, as gracefully as he does. Wayamba, rest assured are going to be tough challenge. They have kept a low profile so far but when they cross the white line, the opposition could be in for a surprise.

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