Two-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Mumbai Indians on Friday announced that former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene would succeed Ricky Ponting as the head coach at the franchise. The announcement came less than 48 hours after Rod Marsh quit as Australia’s chairman of selectors.Ponting, one of Australia’s greatest cricketers, is a top contender to replace Marsh, alongside his predecessor Steve Waugh.
For the record, Ponting’s two-year contract with the Mumbai Indians was coming to an end and the only way forward for the franchise was to either extend the Australian’s term for another season or bring in a new hand. Ponting is learnt to have conveyed to MI that he will not be in a position to continue. The 41-year-old, Australia’s most successful run-getter, is expected to accept a bigger responsibility back home. Whether that responsibility is that of a chief selector or something else, has to be seen. Ponting’s name, however, has also been doing the rounds for a commentary stint with BT Sports at the 2017 Ashes.
Meanwhile, commenting on Jayawardene’s appointment, Mumbai Indians owner Nita Ambani said, “He is an astute figure in the modern era of cricket and a perfect role-model for the young MI squad.” Jayawardene, meanwhile, said he is looking forward to working with MI. “I wowed by the amazing support have always been wowed by the amazing support the team gets at Wankhede Stadium (a venue where he scored a hundred in the World Cup final). In what is a new chapter in my career, I will be striving hard to bring them more on-field success and joy,” he said.
Jayawardene scored over 25000 international runs for Sri Lanka, signing off his career with a memorable World T20 triumph in Dhaka followed by a Test series win against Pakistan in Colombo. In IPL, he represented Kings XI Punjab, Kochi Tuskers and Delhi Daredevils between the 2008 and 2013 season. He currently plays for the Dhaka Dynamites in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). The former batsman was a batting consultant with the England team during their Test series against Pakistan in 2015 and their World T20 campaign in India early this year.