Sri Lanka cracks down on mercenaries
SLC brands Mahela Jayawardena a rival unable to
‘cool-off’ in retirement:
Former cricket captain Mahela Jayawardena will have a new battle on
his hands fighting off a backlash from Sri Lanka Cricket which is to
pass a rule forbidding players who retire and then almost instantly
pursue a new target that their onetime employer sees as selling secrets
of former team-mates to rivals for money.
Jayawardena hung up his lion-emblem Sri Lanka shirt after last year’s
World Cup and is now the consultant coach of England who sought his
services ahead of next month’s World T20 in the sub-continent.
England will be one of the opposing teams that will play against Sri
Lanka in the World T20.
Jayawardena’s one time mentor Thilanga Sumathipala, now the current
elected head of Sri Lanka Cricket, has nothing but frowning words for
retired players who are taking advantage of a global trend where
countries press the panic button and rush to enlist ex-crack shots that
they know can help them pull the trigger with ‘inside information’.
“I had a lot of respect for Mahela Jayawardena, but he is now
competing against us (Sri Lanka)”, Sumathipala lashed out.
“You play for Sri Lanka and then go to a rival country and advice
them of the strengths and weaknesses of your country. We can’t have
players joining rival teams and then advising them. We have been very
protective of our strategy and now it is open-ended”.
Jayawardena is only the second retired Sri Lankan player in recent
years to be contracted by a rival country to advise them on strategy and
fine-tuning after New Zealand grabbed Chaminda Vaas for a stint three
years ago. But what has upset Sri Lanka Cricket is that unlike Vaas who
kept a low profile immediately after retirement, Jayawardena seized the
offer from England at a time Sri Lanka is also set to tour the United
Kingdom in May-June for three Tests and five ODIs.
“What are the ethics here? There is a cooling-off period after you
retire and if players don’t understand this we have to pass a ruling to
ban them for up to two years from offering their services to rival
teams”, said Sumathipala.Jayawardena’s best ally on the cricket field
fellow countryman Kumar Sangakkara also retired along with him but Sri
Lanka Cricket has no grouse against the former south paw batsman whom
Sumathipala said is advising them on the welfare of players.
Jayawardena is currently in England and is expected to bump into most
of his ex-teammates during the World T20 which starts on March 8 in