Dilshan’s form took a massive dive once he became captain
Sri Lankan opening batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan has revealed that he believes captain Mahela Jayawardene may have to lead the country till 2015 in order to find a suitable successor.
Many believe that 25-year-old all-rounder Angelo Matthews is the leading candidate to become captain in the future since he has established himself as a dangerous threat in all three formats of the game.
However, Dilshan feels that Matthews should not be rushed into the captaincy role since he is still young and inexperienced.
“You can’t give someone the captaincy all of a sudden. He (Mathews) has to be groomed under a good captain for two to three years, not just on how to handle things on the field, but also off the field. Those are some of the things I learned. It’s not easy, mind you. I hope Angelo will be a good captain, but he has time. He has to work under Mahela. Kumar [Sangakkara], Mahela and I are nearing our retirement age. After the next World Cup we would be gone. I think Mahela will have to shoulder the burden till the next World Cup,” Dilshan told reporters.
Dilshan, who stepped down as captain five months ago, has never really revealed the reason why he gave up the reigns, but defended his decision by saying: “There were many reasons for me to step down. I don’t like to discuss them at this point as I am still involved in the game, but when I retire I will reveal why I quit.”
Dilshan, took over from Kumar Sangakkara as captain after the 2011 World Cup and led Sri Lanka in tours against England, Pakistan, South Africa and Australia.
However, his captaincy came under severe criticism after Sri Lanka lost the Test and ODI series against all four countries.
The opening batsman’s form took a huge dive after becoming captain, as his Test match batting average fell from 40.89 to just 33.60, while his ODI batting average also suffered, falling from 34.68 to 20.95.
Furthermore, during his tenure as captain, Dilshan led Sri Lanka in 11 Test matches from May 2011, out of which Sri Lanka only won one Test and drew five, while on the ODI circuit, Sri Lanka played 21 ODIs, losing 13 an winning just eight.
“At that point, with the way things were going, I felt that it’s good to give up the captaincy and concentrate on my game, during that eight-month period I learned a lot of things. That experience taught me who people were. I think it was the right decision to step down,” Dilshan said.
Dilshan, stated that the only two suitable candidates for the captaincy at the moment was Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, but also mentioned that the only reason he took up the captaincy was due to a lack of options.
“I didn’t want the captaincy and back then no one wanted to take over the captaincy, there was no leader and that prompted me to take over the leadership,” Dilshan said.
When asked about his brightest moment as captain, Dilshan noted that winning the Durban Test against South Africa made him extremely proud.
“When I took over as captain, I wanted to give younger players opportunities. Most players made most of those opportunities and I am glad that those players are taking the initiative these days to win us games. That’s my biggest achievement as Sri Lanka captain. The other thing that I look back with fondness is being able to win a Test match in South Africa which no captain has been able to do. Even that ODI series in South Africa we could have won, but we lost unfortunately due to rain,” Dilshan said.