Mahela Jayawardene, who is one of the best batsmen Sri Lankan cricket has ever produced, achieved considerable success in leadership roles in recent years. First as a captain and then coach, Jayawardene is known to back his players to the hilt.
Under Jayawardene’s coaching, Mumbai Indians have won two IPL titles in the last three seasons of the T20 slugfest.
Helming the affairs in a team-game like cricket, Jayawardene was recently asked how does he deal with big egos.
“It’s good to have that. It’s nothing harmful. It’s about identifying and making sure that they thrive. Everyone has got to this level because they are good, right? So you try and get them to prove that. That’s all you need to do,” the 42-year-old was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
Jayawardene led Sri Lanka in 55 T20Is, out of which his side won 37 while one match got tied.
Speaking further on handling players with big egos, he said, “It’s about treating everyone professionally, and about treating everyone with respect. It is a team culture that you create.
“Once you create that culture, it’s hard for an individual to go beyond that.
“The rest of the players will bring that person down to the group level. If you haven’t created that team environment, then you can have a problem because there are no boundaries and people drift.”
According to Jayawardene, ‘experience’ is one of the things that has helped MI thrive during his time.
“We try to make everybody involved in the processes. The thing with Mumbai is that a lot of guys have a lot of experience. There are very few young guys – about three or four – but those guys also have played a lot of first-class cricket and are mature players.
“So you try and encourage everyone to contribute. It’s always good for the captain to get ideas, and at the end of the day it’s he who has to make the call, but the more ideas he gets (from others), it influences his thought process.”
MI’s core players are Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga. Their star players were gearing up for IPL 2020, which has now been postponed for an indefinite period due to the COVID-19 pandemic.