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Jayawardene Looking Forward To What Lies Ahead At The Ageas Bowl 

The Ageas Bowl-based Southern Brave will be led by Head Coach Mahela Jayawardene as the home of Hampshire Cricket hosts The Hundred next summer

The Ageas Bowl-based Southern Brave welcomed international great Mahela Jayawardena as Head Coach earlier this summer and the Sri Lanka legend believes coaching in short-format cricket is moving towards a football management style as he prepares to bring his impressive coaching record to The Hundred.

Jayawardene has quickly established himself as one of the most sought-after coaches in the world after leading the Mumbai Indians to two Indian Premier League titles in his first three years in charge.

His appointment to lead Southern Brave for the inaugural season of The Hundred next summer is therefore a major coup for the team and, for anyone who has seen the fly-on-the-wall Netflix documentary that followed Jayawardena and the Indians team, his ability to connect with his players and get the best from them is clearly a major strength.

“I think more and more with these teams in leagues across the world now the set-up is quite similar to a football manager, you’re just managing the structure rather than being a coach,” said Jayawardena.

“I watch a lot of Premier League, La Liga and football in Germany and it is interesting watching the different ways team play and work on match-ups – which I think will be really important in The Hundred also.

“But one of the most important aspects is about understanding the players and working with them and using your experience to guide them.

“It’s not so much coaching too much but realising what will work with the players so that they feel motivated to play a style of cricket that you want to play and which you think can be successful.”

Jayawardena is putting the final touches on his plans to build his Southern Brave squad ahead of this Sunday’s draft, which will be broadcast live on Sky Sports from 7pm with extensive coverage across BBC’s digital channels.

Southern Brave have the second pick and with the likes of Steve Smith, Chris Gayle, Rashid Khan and Kane Williamson available in a star-studded player pool, Jayawardena and his backroom team must decide how best to piece together a squad.

The 42-year-old, who won the 2014 World T20 as a player with Sri Lanka, already has the luxury of knowing he has one of the world’s rising stars in quick Jofra Archer, who was one of the stars of England’s men’s World Cup victory this summer.

The Brave have selected another member of the World Cup-winning squad in top-order batsman James Vince and all-rounder Chris Jordan as their ‘Local Icons’ to ensure a balanced squad as Jayawardena and his team plot their draft plan.

“A great attraction of The Hundred for me is that we are starting pretty much with a clean slate,” Jayawardena said.

“We need a skeleton of how we want to set-up the structure of the team and how we want to play, the brand of cricket we want to play.

“But then we also need to think about the fact this is a new format. The new rules will make that slightly harder to judge the best way and the players to have in your squad with the new tactics and game plans, but we will have to adapt to that.

“From a coaching point of view that is really interesting - which players you need to choose first and understanding what match-ups will work best in this format.”


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