Mathews reappointed

Published : 9:00 am  January 10, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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SL limited-overs captain

liul;pBy Shehan Daniel 
Angelo Mathews was reappointed as Sri Lanka’s limited-overs captain yesterday, a long-term solution following six months of short-term experiments. 

Mathews stepped down as captain in all three formats in July following an embarrassing ODI series defeat at home to Zimbabwe, and since then Sri Lanka have cycled through four captains in 13 ODIs. 

However, with Sri Lanka’s cricket think-tank deciding a long-term replacement was necessary with the ICC Cricket World Cup just 18 months away, Mathews was approached to once again lead the ODI and T20I teams.

“We looked at the short-term and long-term requirement, we found the (players) we need to play, and then we found the requirement of (needing) a (long-term) captain.

We spoke to Angelo (Mathews) to reconsider, because he decided to step down as captain. He gave a lot of thought and said ‘yes’ – if the selectors have confidence in him and the new head coach is of the view that he is the man to lead,” Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Thilanga Sumathipala said yesterday. 


Untitled-19National call 

The approach came as a surprise, Mathews claimed, but several factors including working alongside Hathurusingha compelled him to take up the offer. 

“When I stepped down I never thought of taking over the captaincy again. You leave something and don’t look for it again,” Mathews said. 

“I took a few days to think about it (after discussing with SLC and the coach). It wasn’t easy because I never expected it in the first place. (There were a few reasons) I decided to take it. It was a National call and also we need stability running into a World Cup (which is) in 18 months time. I stepped down because I wanted the new captain to have enough time to build a team to the World Cup, but I am down with the responsibility again (and ready to take it).”

“He (Hathurusingha) played a major part (in the decision) as well. A coach is very important to a team and when you have a good strong coach like him – whom all the other countries are dying to have – you know he’s the best around. He’ll be easier for me to work with and we’ve worked together about 10 years ago when I just started playing for the team and he was the shadow coach. So, I understand him very well,” Mathews said. 

Mathews had also previously worked with Hathurusingha, who was the coach of the Sri Lanka ‘A’ Team, before the all-rounder broke into the international game. 

Best captain

Hathurusingha was certain in Mathews’ appointment, saying he was the ‘best person to captain the ODI team.’

“My thought was that he was the best person to captain the ODI team because he warrants a place on his own performance. The only concern we had was his physical fitness, so we have a plan in place to help him,” Hathurusingha said. 

Upul Tharanga, who took over when Mathews resigned in July last year, had been initially earmarked as the captain heading into the next World Cup, but a poor run of results saw him replaced by Thisara Perera for the tour of India in December. 

Chamara Kapugedera and Lasith Malinga were also appointed as one-off captains in the absence of Tharanga when he served a two-match ban during India’s tour of Sri Lanka in September. 

While not confirming that Mathews will lead the team at the ICC Cricket World Cup next year, Chief Selector Graeme Labrooy said that the long-term appointment could stretch beyond cricket’s next showpiece event if the all-rounder remained fit to play.  


SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala (right) congratulates Skipper Angelo Mathews with Coach Chandika Hathurusingha looking on
Pic by Pradeep Dilrukshana