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I stepped down at right time - Mahela

Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardena reaffirmed that his decision to quit from the captaincy was purely due to personal reasons and for the betterment and development of Sri Lanka cricket overall.

Jayawardena who will step down from the captaincy after the tour of Pakistan made these comments while addressing a packed media conference held at the Sri Lanka Cricket headquarters in Maitland Place yesterday.


Mahela Jayawardena

The 31 year old elegant middle order batsman further noted that his recent batting slump during the series in Zimbabwe and Bangladesh followed by the 4-1 defeat in the home one day international series against India also attributed towards stepping down from the captaincy.

Jayawardena of course stated that the prime reason for him to step down was to give his successor ample time to build up a strong team ahead of the 2011 World Cup which will be jointly hosted by Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Jayawardena who made his way to the international scene in 1997 said that the idea was there to announce his decision immediately after the series in Bangladesh. But as the tour to Pakistan and the home series against India was arranged in a hurry he decided to delay the decision further.

He was appointed captain of the Sri Lanka team in February 2006. He said that had he announced his decision at that stage his successor would have had a tough time in settling down in a short period of time.

But now the selectors will have plenty of time to sit down and make their choice in naming a new captain ahead of the home one day international series against Zimbabwe which will take place in April.

Jayawardena also felt that had he continued with the job for a few more months and made his decision much later it would have put lot of pressure on his successor who will have very little time to prepare for the important World Cup.

He noted that he would now have enough time to concentrate more on his batting and is prepared to play under any captain and give Sri Lanka cricket his very best in the coming years.

Jayawardena said that leading the Sri Lanka team during the last three years was always a challenge but he enjoyed in doing so despite many obstacles and criticism. He recalled the last World Cup tournament in the West Indies as his most memorable occasion where they eventually emerged runners up to Australia.

He also scored a Sri Lankan record 374 against South Africa at the SSC grounds and added 624 for the third wicket with Kumar Sangakkara which stands as a first class record. In addition he led a 5 nil one day whitewash against England and guided the team to clinch the Asia Cup in Pakistan.

Off the field he also won great admiration for his huge personal contributions towards the HOPE cancer project.

SLC gets 3 year Mobitel boost Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) received a tremendous boost when they received a lucrative sponsorship package from Sri Lanka Telekom Mobitel for a period of three years effective from April 2009.

Sri Lanka Telekom Mobitel secured the sponsorship of the Sri Lankan team with an unprecedented sum of US dollars 4,850,000. The current sponsors of the Sri Lanka team Dialog and National Development Bank were also amongst the bidders.

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