HOBART, Dec 13: Mahela Jayawardene will step down as captain of the Sri Lanka Test and one-day teams after the current tour of Australia and has backed Angelo Mathews to replace him.

The 35-year-old Jayawardene told a new conference on the eve of the first Test against Australia that he thought next year would be a good year to make the transition to a younger leader as there were few high-profile series scheduled.

Jayawardene, who led Sri Lanka to the 50-overs World Cup final in 2007, agreed to take over the captaincy for a second spell in place of opener Tillakaratne Dilshan earlier this year.

“I don’t want to continue to captain after this tour so this will be my last. I hope I don’t get any more SOS calls from them,” Jayawardene told reporters.

“It’s been great, I’ve enjoyed the last year and what I’ve achieved but we need to move on to a younger leader. It’s best that we get a new player in while the senior guys are still around so we can help him out in building a team.”

Jayawardene said his choice to succeed him as skipper would be 25-year-old Mathews, who have matured into a world class all-rounder over the last couple of years.

“Angelo is the one everyone has earmarked, and I think he is good enough,” Jayawardene added.

“Maybe the first few years will be tough for him but they’ll grow into the job. If Angelo gets the opportunity, I think it will be easier for him if he has [the senior players] around him and we can build him through those tough periods.” —Reuters

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