Jayawardene to step down as Sri Lanka captain

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/m/mahela1.jpg' class='caption'> Mahela Jayawardene announced on Wednesday that he would be stepping down as Sri Lanka captain after the forthcoming Test series with Pakistan.

Updated: February 12, 2009 11:02 IST
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Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene announced on Wednesday that he would be stepping down after the forthcoming Test series against Pakistan.

Jayawardene called for a meeting with the national selectors this morning and proposed to them that the time was now ripe to hand over the captaincy, ensuring his successor sufficient time to build the team for the 2011 World Cup.

During the discussion it was agreed that Jayawardene would remain in charge for the forthcoming two-match Test series in Pakistan.

Jayawardene released the following statement:

"In the best interests of the Sri Lanka team, I have decided to stand down as Sri Lanka captain after this Pakistan tour," he said in a statement.

"This is something I have been considering for some time as it has been my long-held belief that my successor should have at least 18 months in the job to imprint his vision on the team for the 2011 World Cup. After much thought, I have concluded that the right time has now come for fresh leadership to takeover."

It was not an easy decision to make because being Sri Lanka National Captain has been the source of enormous pride. I am very grateful to have been granted the honour of leading the team during the last three years. I would like to extend a special thank-you to my team-mates for making the job so easy and fulfilling, to the SLC officials and selectors that placed their faith in me, and to family, friends and fans who have provided so much support. I look forward now to extending my full support to my successor and hope to play a major part in the team's success during coming years as a batsman," he added.

Jayawardene was appointed captain in February, 2006. During his three-year tenure he led Sri Lanka in 26 Test matches and 97 ODIs. He had a winning ratio of 62.50 per cent in Tests, the highest by any Sri Lanka captain and a winning ratio of 57 per cent in ODIs. As the captain he averaged 64.70 in Tests, scoring 11 centuries in the last three years and 34.22 in ODIs.

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