Mahela Jayawardene could be joining the England coaching staff in a consultancy role. ESPNcricinfo understands that Paul Farbrace, who coached the Sri Lanka team to the World T20 title in 2014, has already spoken to the prolific former batsman but that Andrew Strauss, England’s team director, has yet to agree any deal. Trevor Bayliss, the new coach, also knows Jayawardene well from his period as Sri Lanka coach.
Jayawardene earned an outstanding record as a batsman across the formats and around the world in an 18-year international career. But it is his expertise in Asian conditions, in particular, that interests England now. Over the next 18 months or so, England will play Pakistan in the UAE, tour India and Bangladesh, as well as host Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The 2016 World T20 is also in India.
Confirming that Jayawardene had been contacted, an ECB spokesman suggested that he was not being viewed as a potential replacement for Mark Ramprakash, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Instead he would be used as a consultant, similar to the way Mushtaq Ahmed was used as a spin bowling consultant.
The England management are also understood to be thinking of using Paul Collingwood in a consultancy role with a specific view to limited-overs cricket. Collingwood, who is still playing for Durham, was captain of the England side that won the World T20 in 2010 and was utilised in a consultancy role when Ashley Giles was the limited-overs coach. Collingwood has also fulfilled a similar role with Scotland.
News of Jayawardene’s potential involvement with England may cause dismay in Sri Lanka. A team in transition would also no doubt benefit from his wisdom, but unless they are able to offer a longer-term deal, it may well be England that benefit from his knowledge. (Courtesy ESPN Cricinfo)