IPL 2012: Captaincy in T20 is about instinct not strategy, says Mahela Jayawardene

Mahela Jayawardene has opened the innings for Delhi Daredevils and has played the sheet anchor’s with Virender Sehwag going after the bowling AFP

By CricketCountry Staff

Jaipur: May 2, 2012

Delhi Daredevils batsman Mahela Jayawardene expressed that captaincy in Twenty20 is all about taking instinctive decisions on field rather than strategising.

“You don t have that much time to strategise and think. I learnt that in the first year or so, captaining T20 teams; your thinking process becomes quicker and you have to be a couple of overs ahead all the time. The planning part we do a lot before the game,” he said.

Mahela also added that, since Sehwag is the captain who is naturally instinctive other senior players don t have to worry much about it. “We always sit back and let Viru go with the fast and furious decision-making and we just sit back and watch the whole thing, how [the game unfolds] and give him options [for] the next two overs or so [ ] I think [we] complement [each other] brilliantly; I m not being thrown in that frame of my mind [requiring spot decisions], which is great,” said Mahela.

In a format of the game where hitting the big shots is valued more than anything else Jayawardene has proved that success in any format depends on the class of a batsman and his ability to adapt and innovate.

Mahela also highlighted that the shortest form of the game requires genuine skill rather than just aggressive instinct. “The players have taken these new developments into one-day cricket and Test cricket as well, which is good to see. It has created an impact skill-wise.

A lot of players have emerged from T20 cricket with different styles; they can now actually play both, one-day cricket and Test cricket. I think the impact has been more in one-day cricket purely because the skill level of individual players has improved. They are expressing themselves as batsmen more freely, playing more shots [and] taking control,” said the Delhi Daredevils vice-captain.

Speaking about adapting to the T20 format Mahela said, “it has been a healthy challenge for my career because it gave me an opportunity to change my approach a little bit. It made me work harder and come up with new ways of playing and it s always been good. When players are thrown these kinds of challenges, it is always healthy for individuals as well as for teams.”

On the other hand Mahela felt though younger players might find it tough initially but they ll grasp the changes into the game more quickly as they have already been brought up in a much competitive cricket scenario as compared to few years ago.

“The game [and] everything [around it] has become so competitive these days. You have so many tours and a lot of cricket being played all over the world. They might make a few mistakes here and there but they will learn quickly from them and become better cricketers. They have pretty much been thrown in the deep pretty, but it is probably healthy for the game,” he was quoted as saying by Indian Premier League s official website.

Delhi Daredevils are currently placed at the top of the points table. This has allowed Sehwag to try and test his young players in various matches. Pawan Negi, Shahbaz Nadeem, Yogesh Nagar have proved stood up to the occasion.

Speaking about the young players in the Delhi squad Mahela said, “Yogesh [Nagar], again, has been around but now I think he [is fulfilling] his true potential. He is capable of doing much more, he feels confident. It is good for us. . Unmukt Chand is one of those guys; he is the [India] Under-19 captain [and] I think he looks a very good prospect. Varun [Aaron] is not that far away from coming back. We are very excited to get him back into the team and he looks a great prospect too.”

Mentioning about Ajinkya Rahane who has been the find of this season the Sri Lankan skipper said, “I was very impressed with the way Ajinkya batted against us and with the way he has batted in this season. I have seen him last year as well when I was playing for Kochi [Tuskers Kerala]; he had a decent season. [Then I] saw him in England with the Indian team, saw him in the one-day competition. He looks a very talented prospect. The opportunities he gets at that level will help him show what a good cricketer he is.”

Mahela concluded saying, his role in the Delhi team is similar to that of the national team i.e. playing the sheet anchor s role. “I naturally [play the anchor] because I don t have to take too many risks. Depending on the game situation, [I might have to take a few risks sometimes]. Otherwise I have got enough company around me to do all the big hitting for me.

Now that I have started to open the batting, being on the other side of Viru is brilliant. He takes control of every situation so easily so I just need to go through and bat. You ve got guys like KP [Kevin Pietersen] and Ross [Taylor] to follow and Irfan [Pathan] and the rest they make my job much easier. It will be exciting to see when Davy [David Warner] comes in and joins the team. That will be a different dimension altogether,” he concluded.