It is about creating a team culture & showing respect, says Jayawardene

Colombo, May 2 (IANS) Former Sri Lankan captain and Mumbai Indians coach Mahela Jayawardene said that it is okay to have egos in a team environment as long as they exist in a good dressing room culture. Jayawardene has found success in leadership roles, first as captain of Sri Lanka and then as the current coach of Mumbai Indians with whom he has won the Indian Premier League twice in his three years at the helm.

“It's good to have that (big egos),” he told ESPNCricinfo. “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.

“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.

“Once you create a culture and get them to buy into that culture, it's quite easy. We also give them the freedom to express themselves within that.”

Jayawrdene spoke about the importance of having seniors who are ready to help talented younger players to establish themselves, taking the examples of the rise of Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis and Nuwan Kulasekara while he was captain.

“Lasith Malinga came into the team and we just gave him the space to grow. We also put him in tough situations. Even though he didn't talk much, he was a very street-smart bowler, so we knew he had that capacity. He had a unique action, so there was an advantage, but you still have to execute. He developed a slower ball, a good bouncer, and then he managed to use all those attributes effectively.

“The more you threw him into the deep end, he found good solutions. We wouldn't have thrown other bowlers into those kinds of situations, knowing they probably don't have the skills to be able to learn that quickly.

“The way we handled Nuwan Kulasekara was different. Ajantha Mendis, when he came into the scene we protected him, and then threw him into situations where you knew he would be good. We could do that when you had guys like Muttiah Muralitharan or Chaminda Vaas in the group (as mentors),” said Jayawardene.



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