Mahela Jayawardene has opened up about an incident in South Africa when the Sri Lankan players' continuous sledging left South African opener Herschelle Gibbs in tears. The former Lankan opener added that Gibbs even walked up to Sanath Jayasuriya to ask the players to stop sledging him.
Mahela Jayawardene heralded a seamless transition to the new era of the Sri Lankan middle-order and along with Kumar Sangakkara, he ensured the absence of yesteryear greats, Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga, was hardly felt. However, more than the plethora of records that he had made in an international career spanned over 18 years, his rich values for the game and gentlemanly behaviour made him a perfect role model for aspiring young cricketers. However, it seems that he didn’t always love to keep his zen-like composure and revealed how their sledging reached an insane level that left Gibbs in tears.
“The South African series pretty much was a tough one. It did cross the line because we realised that it was like an organised way of them doing it (sledging). Even with the broadcaster and how they went about saying things. So the first Test we took a bad hit and we were down after losing it in three days. We had a meeting and said we cannot play like this. Skillfully we were matching them but we were struggling with the abuse we were getting from them,” Jayawardene said in an interview in BBDO Lanka.
“So we identified five guys in their team who were coming at us and we had a plan and we went after those 5 guys in the second Test. It was really bad and one of them was Gibbs and he was in tears by the time he came to bat in the second innings. He actually walked to Sanath to ask the players to stop (sledging). Then after that Test match, I think the South African coach and the captain came and said Guys let’s stop this.”
But the veteran cricketer didn’t reveal the exact words with which they abused the Proteas.
“If we wanted to give something back, we knew exactly how to give it,” he concluded.