Mahela to step down as Sri Lankan skipper



Mahela to step down as Sri Lankan skipperMelbourne: Sri Lanka cricket captain Mahela Jayawardene on Thursday announced he will step down from his post after the current Australia tour.

"I took over the captaincy for 12 months and that ends after this series, so I don`t want to continue to captain Sri Lanka after this tour. This will be my last," Jayawardene said on the eve of the first Test.

"I was going to wait until the end of the series but I thought I might as well do it now, having had a chat with the selectors."

The Sri Lankan team is currently in Australia for a Test and One-Day international series.

Jayawardene has scored 10,640 Test runs at 50.19, and needs just one more ton to equal Steve Waugh`s feat of 32 Test centuries.

An additional 72 runs would see him become the first Sri Lankan to reach 11,000 Test runs, a a feat accomplished by only six other players -- Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis, Brian Lara and Allan Border.

Sri Lanka Cricket Board media manager Ranjith Fernando said that Jayawardene has informed the board about his decision.

"Mahela Jayawardena has decided to step down from the captaincy of the national team after the end of the current Australian tour. The fifth ODI Jan 23 in Hobart will be his final match as the national captain," Fernando said.

Jayawardene took over as captain of the national team in January this year after former captain Tillakaratne Dilshan resigned following a string of poor performances.

The current vice captain, Angelo Mathews, is expected to be named as captain to replace Jayawardena at the end of the Australia series.

Under Jayawardene`s leadership, Sri Lanka performed well in Australia in February this year and also led the team to victory against England and helped the team advance to the final of the World Twenty20 tournament.

IANS