Dinesh Chandimal replaced Angelo Mathews as captain for the upcoming England tour after the side suffered back to back defeats at the Asia Cup earlier this month.
Following his removal as captain, Angelo Mathews wrote to SLC CEO Ashley De Silva showing descent over him being made scapegoat when the whole team was to take the blame.
“Though I was initially surprised, it was immediately felt that I have been made the scapegoat in this entire saga of Sri Lanka’s dismal performances against Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the Asia Cup. I’m willing to take part of the blame but at the same time, feel betrayed and let down if the blame is solely put on me. As you know all decisions are taken through a mutual understanding with the Selectors and the Head Coach,” stated the letter.
Mathews, however, refined that he respected the decision, or rather the request for him to step down from the position, for he was asked to reconsider taking up the role after voluntarily resigning from all formats in July 2017.
Furthermore, Mathews iterated on parting with limited overs cricket, if he finds no place in the playing XI.
“I never want to be a burden”
“I also believe that if the selectors and coach are of the view that I am unfit to play ODI and T20 cricket and thus not entitled for my place in the team, I would also consider retiring from the ODI and T20 formats as I never want to be a burden to the team,” said the letter.
Sri Lanka Cricket retaliated by excluding Angelo Mathews from the squad to play England, contemplating on the 31-year old’s fitness. The squad card was sent to the ministry for approval but Mathews demanded a fair fitness test, for only a test could determine the player’s fitness level.
The decision to drop Mathews can only be termed ridiculous, for he was the highest run scorer in the recent South Africa series from both teams, that too in limited overs cricket. Since the start of 2017, Mathews has made 888 ODI runs at an average of 59.20, across 22 innings. No other Sri Lankan batsman with over 500 runs averages over 45.
Lasith Malinga was recently given similar treatment after a row with the selectors and the sports minister. Malinga was not picked even when he was doing remarkably well in domestic and franchise-based cricket.
With the world cup in less than a year, experimenting or dropping the seniormost player in the side without a proper fitness test will not help but only worsen the prevailing situation.
The ODI squad for the forthcoming series against England has not been announced yet.
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