Cricket Sports

Mumbai Indians’ coach Mahela Jayawardene turned down Team India’s head coach offer: Report

Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene was offered the top job of being Team India’s head coach before it was offered to Anil Kumble by the BCCI. But the Mumbai Indians’ (MI) coach turned down the offer.

The top brass of management at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is on the lookout for their next candidate to become the Indian cricket team’s next head coach. With current coach Ravi Shastri parting ways with the job at the end of his tenure, after the conclusion of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 in the UAE and Oman, the high-profile position is up for grabs and is likely to be filled in by a former Indian cricketer only. 

However, the top job before being offered to ex-coach Anil Kumble, who is very much in the fray to regain his status back as Team India’s head coach, was offered to Sri Lankan cricketing legend Mahela Jayawardene. 

While Kumble has already been at the helm of the Indian side before for a year between 2016-17 when the Cricket Advisory Committee headed by Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, and current BCCI president Ganguly had appointed him, replacing Shastri at the time, Jayawardene was approached due to his iconic individual career as well as the laurels he has achieved as Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Mumbai Indians’ (MI) head coach.

Notably, back in the day, Kumble resigned from the post due to a fallout with captain Virat Kohli, after which he has been seen in charge of the Punjab Kings franchise in the IPL. 

According to a report in The Indian Express, the BCCI wanted to rope in the 44-year-old retired batsman as the head coach of the Indian side before offering the role to Kumble, but Jayawardene declined the offer. He reportedly wanted to coach the Sri Lankan national cricket team instead. 

Another matter of conflict of interest occurred as Jayawardene is also the coach of the Mumbai Indians (MI) franchise in the IPL, and the BCCI rules clearly state that a person cannot hold another position when he is the head coach of the Men in Blue. Jayawardene will take over the reins of Rohit Sharma-led MI in the IPL 2021 phase-II that starts from tomorrow in the UAE playing their first game against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Dubai. 

Meanwhile, the BCCI has been advertising for the managerial post that is set to be vacated by Shastri immediately after India’s T20 World Cup 2021 campaign starting on October 17.

In a move that coincides with captain Virat Kohli’s decision to step down as the Indian skipper in T20Is, some names incl: VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble, among others are being touted to succeed Shastri as the head coach of Team India.

As for Mahela Jayawardene, he was definitely a deemed candidate who fits in for the desired role perfectly well as he was one of the greatest batsmen of his era. In an international career that lasted almost two decades, the right-handed batting idol played 149 Test matches and 448 ODIs for Sri Lanka.

He scored 11814 runs in Test match cricket and like a champion cricketer that he is notched up a staggering 12650 runs in ODIs. In T20I cricket too, Jayawardene scored 1493 runs in 55 matches. Truly, a white-ball cricket masterclass. Mahela Jayawardene played his last international match for Sri Lanka on 18th March 2015, against the South African side at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

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