Pallekele: Sri Lanka switched the captaincy in its last World Twenty20 group match against England on Monday to avoid Mahela Jayawardene being banned for slow bowling again.
Jayawardene was fined on Saturday for a slow over-rate in the win over West Indies, and faced a one-match ban if the team was slow again against England, and he was in charge.
To ensure Jayawardene was available for the semi-finals, Sri Lanka made Kumar Sangakkara skipper on Monday. The team bowled in time and beat England by 19 runs.
Jayawardene said it was the idea of team manager Charith Senanayake to change captains, and the team looked into the ICC code of conduct before going ahead with the plan. The ICC rules don't make any reference to switching captains before any international match.
"I'm sure they'll change the rules after this, but hopefully not in this tournament," Jayawardene said.
The International Cricket Council didn't specifically address the issue on Tuesday but said it will review the rules in the tournament aftermath.
"As is always the case, the ICC will be reviewing the playing conditions and the code of conduct at the conclusion of the event," an ICC spokesman Samiul Hasan told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
It came as a big surprise when senior batsman Sangakkara went out for the toss on Monday, and not Jayawardene or his deputy Angelo Mathews, who were in the playing 11.
Mathews was also handed a similar fine during Pakistan's Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka at Hambantota in June when the allrounder led the home team.
"I had a warning for an over rates issue, and if it happens again I miss the match so what we did was have Kumar as the official captain," Jayawardene said.
"I don't think that the intentions were wrong. It's a tough system and it's tough to bowl 20 overs in one hour and 20 minutes in a tournament like this.
"We try our best, but the penalties are harsh. We don't want to miss the big games, so we did it with the right intentions.
"Angelo Mathews was on the same offence for a match against Pakistan in Hambantota, so if he got nailed he misses a game as well. We had to find someone who didn't have a rap sheet and Kumar fitted the bill."
Sri Lanka stayed unbeaten and won all three of its Super Eights matches against New Zealand, West Indies and England. West Indies edged New Zealand in a one-over eliminator to be the second qualifier from their group for the semi-finals.