Tillakaratne Dilshan has said the current captain Mahela Jayawardene may have to lead till the 2015 World Cup in order to provide sufficient time for a successor to be groomed.
Angelo Mathews, the 25-year-old all-rounder, is widely seen as a leading candidate to take over when Jayawardene steps down.
Mathews has established himself in all three formats, but has struggled with injuries during his three-year career.
Dilshan cautioned against thrusting the leadership on Mathews too soon.
Dilshan also defended his decision to step down as captain five months ago, following the tour of South Africa.
He had never spoken publicly about the main reasons for quitting and said he wanted to remain tight-lipped about it till he gives up the game.