Former Sri Lankan player Mahela Jayawardene has been appointed as the head coach of the Mumbai Indians for the upcoming Indian Premier League’s 2017 season. “The Srilankan great will replace Ricky Ponting as the head coach”, a statement from the Mumbai Indians team management said.
Speaking on his appointment as the head coach of Mumbai Indians, Jayawardene said in a video message that he was excited to be a part of the IPL as a coach. “I am very excited and happy for this opportunity. I thank the Mumbai Indians team management for having faith in me and my abilities. Looking forward to working with the team which has the potential to go a long way in any cricket league”, he said.
Commenting on Jayawardene’s appointment, Nita Ambani said, “The decision has been made after a long discussion. Mahela Jayawardene is one of those legends who will not need any introduction to a cricket fan. We hope that his inclusion into the Mumbai Indians family will boost our chances in the upcoming season”.
Ricky Ponting has worked with the Mumbai Indians camp for four consecutive seasons as a player, captain, mentor and head coach. Under Ponting, the Mumbai-based franchise has lifted its second IPL trophy after four straight defeats in the beginning of the season.
Sources said that Ponting was replaced, as the Australian confirmed that he will not be available for the upcoming IPL season due to some future committments. It has been reported that Ponting will be contending for the post of Australia’s T20 coach with a possible role in Cricket Australia’s administration.
Jayawardene has the experience of serving as a batting consultant for the England national team during the series against Pakistan in UAE. He also worked for the English team as a mentor in the final of the World T20 held in India.
Mahela has played for the Kochi tuskers, Delhi Dare Devils, and Kings XI Punjab and has last appeared in an IPL match in 2013. Since then franchises remained uninterested in including Jayawardene in their squad.
However, the 39-year old batsman is active in other T20 circuits despite the ever existing age-factor. He has recently played for T20 Blast and is currently busy playing for Dhaka Dynamites in the Bangladesh Premier League. Jayawardene is also slated to appear in the second season of the Pakistan Super League and Shane Warne’s Cricket Super Stars tournament in 2017.