Colombo, Jan 26: Mahela Jayawardene said he has taken the Sri Lankan captaincy for a short period of time and denied reports that there was an internal conflict in the team.
"I took up the captaincy once again, for one-year. Our target is to win matches, to regain our place as one of the top-four Test playing nations," Jayawardene told reporters in Colombo.
"We have failed as a team in the past. But we have to look beyond that and move forward. We face India and Australia next month. We need to take the positives from South Africa and focus on winning matches again."
Jayawardene was the captain between 2006 and 2009 before being replaced by Kumar Sangakkara. Sri Lanka lost to India in the World Cup final last April leading to the resignation of Sangakkara and appointment of Thilakaratne Dilshan as captain. Jayawardene rejected claims that internal conflict between players had affected the team morale, leading to defeats.
"Kumar (Sangakkara) is the number one batsman in the world. It is ridiculous to think that he would under-perform due to internal politics," Jayawardene said.
Sri Lanka cricket recently sacked coach Geoff Marsh and replaced him with Graham Ford, "That is not my area. That is up to the selectors. My focus is to work with what I have got. Graham is experienced, and we need his services to rebuild, harness new players and win games," Jayawardene said.
The outgoing captain Dilshan said Marsh gave more than 100 percent" to the team and declined to comment further on the issue.
Asked about his sacking as captain, Dilshan said he had been only picked captain until the South African tour and he was happy to see Jayawardene back as captain.