For once Mahela Jayawardene's impeccable sense of timing deserted him. The timing of his hamstring injury, with the King's XI Punjab precariously poised in their pursuit of a semifinal spot, has all but ruled Jayawardene out of the rest of the IPL. However, Jayawardene is still hopeful that his team will make it to the final so he can return to play a part.
It must be devastating to miss the crucial stage of the IPL …
It is very disappointing. For me not to play and try to get the team across the line, it is very frustrating. But I can contribute a lot from the dressing room in terms of strategy and solving problems the team could face in match situations.
Has time off cricket in South Africa been of help?
The whole team went on safaris. We had good team activities at the Table Mountain in Cape Town. The team atmosphere over the last three or four weeks has been great and hope to finish on a high.
The Sri Lankans have once again done well in the IPL …
Lasith (Malinga) has been very good in this tournament and that is good for us (Sri Lankan cricket). He is coming back from injury and bowling very well. The IPL is a good preparation for him to return to international cricket. Sanath (Jayasuriya), (Tillekaratne) Dilshan have been in great form. Kumar (Sangakkara) has not had much to do. Murali has been great for the Chennai Super Kings. It is good for a lot of the Sri Lankans. Last year too we had a good run in IPL.
Was it a tough decision to step down from Sri Lankan captaincy?
It was not tough. I have been waiting to do this for a while. I had my own plans as I was not going to play after another 2-3 years and the World Cup was coming. I was looking for a different challenge, and knowing that Sangakkara is going to take over, it was that much easier for me to hand over the reins knowing it is going to be in capable hands. Also, it was time to move on. Poor form in one tournament did not make a huge difference to my career. Form did not have anything to do with stepping down from captaincy. Even the selectors were surprised by my decision and wanted me to captain the side in one form of the game at least.