Two-time Indian Premier League champions Mumbai Indians have named Mahela Jayawardene as their new head coach. The former Sri Lankan skipper replaces Ricky Ponting at the helm.
Jayawardene, who has retired from all forms of the game, was involved with England during the World T20 earlier in the year and was part of the Master Champions League as well earlier this year.
He was part of Sri Lanka’s 2014 World T20 winning campaign and also led the side to the final of the 2012 edition, where they lost to the West Indies on home turf. He has also featured in the IPL as a player, having taken the Delhi Daredevils to the Playoff stage of the competition in 2012.
In his T20I career, Jayawardene played 55 games, scoring 1493 runs at a strike-rate of 133.18. He made one hundred and four fifties and was part of five World T20I campaigns, finishing as a runner-up in two of them and winning in his last one.
He has featured in several T20 leagues in the world, representing the likes of Jamaica Tallawahs, Trinidad and Tobago Steel, Sussex Sharks etc and is widely regarded as one of the shrewdest cricketing brains in the game.
The decision, however, could ring bells in Australian cricketing circles. With Rod Marsh having called it quits as the chief selector, Ponting could be in the fray for that position and the next few days Down Under promise to be interesting.
Under Ponting, the Mumbai Indians won the 2015 Indian Premier League and finished 5th in this year’s edition. He took over as the head coach from John Wright, who was assigned the task of talent scouting in addition to creating a youth development organisation to be run by the franchise in 2014.
Mahela Jayawardene sent out a video message to the Indian fans in Hindi via Twitter.