Along with the shriek of happiness, which for a moment makes you think that a cheerleader at the ground as been pinched in her bum. Those however, have been a little on the low side owing to the fact that Sri Lanka haven’t won anything yet.
But the trademark undecipherable stare off into the distance with pursed lips and folded arms are in full flow. And oh how we’ve missed them.
Mahela Jayawardene is always thinking. And he is not afraid to show it. The formation of logical thought resulting in good decision making is something Sri Lankan leadership has been lacking for a few years. Yes years, Yes we mean to include Sangakkara as well.
Jaywardene and Sagakkara view the game differently. Sangakkara may well be a cricketing intellectual who can easily speak about cricket and its place in society and the fine line that separates them and teach us about why every man and woman alive would benefit from taking up the game.
And that is great and it offers hope that one day there will be an opportunity for him to make a big difference to cricket as a sport.
Jayawardene isn’t about any of that. He is about winning matches or at least putting Sri Lanka in a situation where they can win from. A lot of Sri Lankan fans are singling out Angelo Mathews over as where the game turned the other night. In a situation like that it’s common for some finger pointing towards the captain for actually bringing him on. But there aren’t any because Jaywardene made the right choice.
In 2 games Sri Lanka have not gotten anywhere near the sort of totals they need to win matches. But they have all been enthralling, nerve dangling stuff at the end and that is mainly because of Jayawardene aggressive, wicket sniffing, think-first attitude.
Ed Smith recently wrote about how captaincy isn’t about field placings or bowling changes but more about off field management, relationships with players. Captain Jayawardene is just that. And in more ways than one he was returning to a job he should never have left in the first place. And it shows. It’s strange to think that winning is secondary to watching Sri Lanka under Jaywardene again. But its nice to know Sri Lanka, as a cricket team with skill and intelligence, still exist.
Instantly the Sri Lankan team appears to be more focused, more settled and up to the challenge. Not every captain has that effect. Even when they appear to be just zoning out.