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Sri Lanka secure World Cup berth after Windies defeat

Posted on 20 September 2017 by admin

Sri Lanka have become the eighth and final team to qualify automatically for the 2019 World Cup, following West Indies' seven-wicket defeat against England in the first ODI at Old Trafford.

With September 30 set as the cut-off date, West Indies (78 points) now cannot move ahead of Sri Lanka (86 points) in the ICC ODI rankings, irrespective of how their remaining matches against England pan out.

They had gone into the five-match series needing to win by either 4-0 or 5-0 to amass enough points to leapfrog Sri Lanka, but their fate was sealed in a 42-over-a-side contest in which a Jonny Bairstow century guided England past their victory target of 205 with more than 19 overs remaining.

Sri Lanka, World Champions in 1996, now join Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan and South Africa as the confirmed participants in the 2019 event, which will be held in England between May 30 and July 15.

West Indies, two-times champions in 1975 and 1979, must now compete in a 10-team qualifier in 2018, where they will be joined by the bottom three sides in the ICC team rankings – Afghanistan, Zimbabwe and Ireland – as well as the top four sides from the ICC World Cricket League Championship and the top two sides from the ICC World Cricket League Division 2. The top two sides will complete the World Cup line-up.

"You always know there's the potential of that [not qualifying direct], we knew it was going to be a tough ask," said Toby Radford, West Indies' batting coach. "But we are very positive as a group and are trying to develop in all formats. If it means the qualifiers next year, it means the qualifiers next year and we'll build our way back up."

Upul Tharanga, Sri Lanka's ODI captain, was relieved to have avoided that fate: "It's no secret that we have been going through a tough time, but I want to say a big, big thank you to our fans who've kept faith with us when things looked bleak.

"ICC events have always brought out the magic in Sri Lanka cricket, and I look forward to proving that once again.

"We have a clear plan toward the World Cup, and we will work hard at achieving each step. As we say in the dressing room, – Little 'w's [wins] add up to make the big 'W' – so that's what we'll be focusing on and I know you will see Sri Lanka's special brand of cricket out there once again soon."

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Graham Labrooy heads five-member new selection panel – Sri Lanka Cricket

Posted on 19 September 2017 by admin


Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) yesterday appointed five-member selection committee headed by former Sri Lanka seamer Graham Labrooy. The committee also includes Asanka Gurusinha,  Jeryl Woutersz, Gamini Wickremasinghe and Sajith Fernando. Mirrorcricket exclusively reported on Labrooy's appointment on Wednesday (13)

Their first assignment would be to finalize the 15-man squad for the forthcoming series against Pakistan in UAE.

 Sri Lanka will play two Tests, five ODIs, and three T20 internationals during their tour to UAE. 

Their appointments come weeks after  Jayasuriya-led committee resigned at the end of the disastrous home series against India where Sri Lanka lost all nine matches in the series (3 Tests, 5 ODIs, and a T20I).  Labrooy who is currently employed as an ICC match referee is expected to relieve his duties with the global body to take up the new appointment.

He represented Sri Lanka in 9 Tests and 44 ODIs during 1986-1992.  

Sri Lanka team is expected to resume their training on September 18 and the team is expected to leave the shores on September 24, 2017.

 

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Situation much worse than 1999 – Wettimuny

Posted on 05 September 2017 by admin

September 4, 2017.

 

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by Rex Clementine – Courtesy: The Island.

 

Ex-Test cricketer and former head of Sri Lanka Cricket Sidath Wettimuny says that the predicament country’s cricket team is facing is much worse than the team’s status in 1999. Sri Lanka’s disastrous World Cup campaign in 1999 prompted an angry response from then President Chandrika Kumaratunga who sacked Thilanga Sumathipala’s Executive Committee and brought in an Interim Committee of which Wettimuny was part of.

Defending champions Sri Lanka were knocked out from the first round itself in 1999 and Kumaratunga brought in reputed banker Rienzie Wijeytilleke as the new head of the cricket board.

Wijeytilleke, who was the Managing Director of Hatton National Bank had a solid team that comprised Michael Tissera, S. Skandakumar, Kushil Gunasekara and Wettimuny. The latter was made the Chairman of Selectors as well and sweeping changes were made to make the national team competitive again.

"The situation at present is definitely much worse than the situation that we were in 1999," Wettimuny told The Island when asked to compare the state of two eras.

"In 1999 it wasn’t that we didn’t have the talent. Some of our players needed a wake up call. They were being complacent. Plus we had so many cricketers waiting on the wings. I would say that 1999 was a piece of cake compared to the situation we are in at the moment," noted Wettimuny.

Although President Kumaratunga’s prompt action addressed the issue in 1999 and prevented the sport from declining further, the present government has backed the current administration to the hilt despite cricket hitting new lows. Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara recently ruled out the possibility of appointing an Interim Committee.

Prominent officials of SLC’s Executive Committee stand accused of interfering with the selection process. Some other Ex-Co members are alleged to have been involved in match fixing in domestic cricket to earn their respective clubs promotions to higher divisions or prevent relegation to lower divisions.

Wettimuny, a former opening batsman and one of the most respected voices in the sport, criticized Sri Lanka’s First Class structure. Sri Lanka had 14 teams competing in First Class cricket, but the current administration increased the number into 24.

"Thanks to a terrible First Class structure, we don’t have anyone waiting on the wings. Then, we could lose five players and bring a good combination, but not right now," noted Wettimuny.

Sri Lanka were completely outplayed in the ongoing bilateral series against India, where they were whitewashed 3-0 in Tests and 5-0 in ODIs. The first two Tests ended inside four days while the last Test lasted less than three days. During the ODI series, Sri Lanka were bowled out thrice without utilizing their full quota of 50 overs.

"The mindset of the players are in disarray. There’s lack of direction and confusion. I don’t think they are playing with same sort of positively."

Wettimuny also criticized some of the selections that have been made in recent times. Dinesh Chandimal has been Sri Lanka’s best batsman in ODI cricket in the last two years, but strangely he was left out of the Zimbabwe series and for the current series. He was only brought back into the squad as injury replacement. "Even very good players like Dinesh Chandimal are left out and I struggle to find reason as to why. There is erosion of confidence and that’s the biggest problem I see at the moment," noted Wettimuny.

 

 

 

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India continues winning streak against Sri Lanka – takes ODI series 5-0

Posted on 03 September 2017 by admin

Virat Kohli scored unbeaten 110 runs against Sri Lanka.


India 239 for 4 (Kohli 110*, Jadhav 63) beat Sri Lanka 238 (Thirimanne 67, Mathews 55, Tharanga 48, Bhuvneshwar 5-42) by six wickets.

Virat Kohli scored yet another century in a chase for India as they beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in the fifth one-day international in Colombo. With the win, India clean-swept the series five-match series 5-0. 

The Indian skipper once again structured the chase for India with an unbeaten century and guided his team to a six-wicket win over Sri Lanka in the fifth and final one-day international in Colombo. The win gave India a 5-0 series sweep, the first time a country has won those many ODIs in a bilateral series. Chasing a target of 239 runs, India had a new opening pair at the crease with Ajinkya Rahane opening the batting with Rohit Sharma who has been in tremendous form with two centuries in this series. Rahane and Rohit could not make most the opportunity as both the openers were dismissed early. Manish Pandey rebuild the innings with Kohli and made 36 runs before getting out. Kedar Jadhav then scored an unbeaten half-century and took India on the verge of victory. He was dismissed with India needing only two runs. Kohli scored the winning runs with two overs remaining.

Earlier, three Sri Lanka players got off to decent starts but none of them converted it into a big one. After a solid stand between Thirimanne and Mathews, the hosts were looking good for a good total but India fought back well in the final overs and bundled them out for 238. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was pick of the bowlers for India as he returned with 5/42. Spinners Kuldeep and Yuzvendra did well in the middle overs to contain the flow of runs in the middle overs and picked one wicket each. For hosts, Tharanga (48), Thirmanne (67) and Mathews (55) played well but were not able to post a big score.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar's maiden five-wicket haul in ODIs and Virat Kohli's 30th hundred in the format led India to a clinical six-wicket win that consigned Sri Lanka to a first ever home-series whitewash. There was a sense of inevitability to it all, particularly to Kohli's innings, which swept him past 1000 runs for 2017 and moved him level with Ricky Ponting in second place among ODI century-makers.

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3rd ODI: India beat Sri Lanka, take unassailable 3-0 lead

Posted on 28 August 2017 by admin

PALLEKELE: Rohit Sharma once again showed his class in the limited overs format with a stylish unbeaten 124 as India took an unassailable 3-0 lead with a six-wicket victory in the third ODI, which was marred by unruly crowd behaviour. Sensing another meek surrender from the home team, the crowd went berserk as they started throwing water bottles at the end of the 44th over, forcing a 35-minute stoppage.

Rohit was assisted by former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (67 no), who again played the second fiddle to perfection in an unbroken 157-run stand with India reaching the victory target of 218 in 45.1 overs.

It was India's seventh successive bilateral series victory against Sri Lanka. India last lost a ODI series to island nation in 1997.

India's batting depth came to the fore for the second successive time after form-man Shikhar Dhawan (5), skipper Virat Kohli (3), KL Rahul (17) and Kedar Jadhav (0) were back in the pavilion.

However, Rohit did not gift his wicket away like the previous ODI as he played an innings contrary to his attacking nature of batsmanship. He faced 145 balls, hitting 16 boundaries and two huge sixes.

Dhoni's 65th ODI half-century effort saw him face 86 balls, hitting four boundaries and a six off left-arm spinner Milinda Siriwardana.

For Rohit, who hit his 12th ODI hundred, it was business as usual despite wickets falling at the other end. He peppered the off-side field with regularity hitting some lovely drives and cuts. When Vishwa Fernando dug one short, he was in a perfect position to hook it for a six.

Dhoni as usual ran his singles well, giving Rohit bulk of the strike and bringing in the necessary calm that is always expected of him.

While Akila Dananjaya (2/38 in 10 overs) again had an impressive outing, the Indian pair decided to not take any undue risks against the mystery spinner.

Rohit on his part was decided to step out and disturb the length of the spinners, something that Rahul and Jadhav did not do during their brief stay at the wicket.

Sri Lanka will now have to win their last two games in order to remain in contention for an automatic qualification.

Earlier, pacer Jasprit Bumrah took his maiden five-wicket haul, enabling India restrict a struggling Sri Lanka to 217 for nine after Kohli lost the toss for the first time.

Bumrah was brilliant both upfront and in the death overs to end with figures of five for 27, surpassing his previous best of four for 22.

Sri Lanka, trailing 0-2 in the series, once again put up an ordinary show with the bat, barring a gritty 80 off 105 balls from Lahiru Thirimanne.

His 72-run stand for the third wicket alongsiside Dinesh Chandimal (36) was the lone bright spot in the innings after stand-in-captain Chamara Kapugedera opted to bat.

The hosts made two changes with Thirimanne and Chandimal coming in place of the injured Danushka Gunathilaka and suspended Upul Tharanga. India, expectedly, didn't make any changes.

After winning the toss for the first time in the series, Lanka surprisingly sent Chandimal to open with Niroshan Dickwella (13).

The former had only opened twice in his ODI career before, back in 2012 against New Zealand, and he watchfully added 18 runs for the opening wicket.

Dickwella survived an LBW via DRS in the fourth over, but four balls later Bumrah got his man in the same manner, LBW via DRS again.

Due to Dickwella's dismissal, Lanka didn't make a flying start and were reduced to 28 for two in the eighth over, with Kusal Mendis (1) caught at second slip. Rohit Sharma took a great diving catch to his right, plucking his 100th catch in international cricket.

Chandimal and Thirimanne then calmed things down and put on a solid partnership in the middle overs for a change. They didn't score quickly though, as Lanka only reached 37 for two in the first ten overs.

Later they brought up their 50-stand off 72 balls as Sri Lanka crossed the 100-mark in the 26th over. Chandimal was hit on his right thumb fending a short delivery off Hardik Pandya (1/42) in the 17th over, and that incident partly hampered his ability to shift gears.

Looking for some attacking shots, Chandimal then holed out in the deep off Pandya in the 26th over itself.

India had a poor day in the field with a lot of missed chances and barring Rohit's attempt, they looked far from a great fielding unit.

Thirimanne used this to his advantage and reached his 17th ODI half-century off 69 balls, inclusive of four fours. In total, he collected five fours and a six.

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Sri Lanka needs two wins for direct WC 2019 qualification

Posted on 18 August 2017 by admin

Sri Lanka needs two wins for direct WC 2019 qualification.

Saturday, August 19, 2017 – Courtesy: Daily News.

Sri Lanka's Nuwan Pradeep (C) celebrates with his teammates after he dismissed Zimbabwe's Solomon Mire during the second one-day internationals (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on July 2. AFP

Sri Lanka's Nuwan Pradeep (C) celebrates with his teammates after he dismissed Zimbabwe's Solomon Mire during the second one-day internationals (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe at the Galle International Cricket Stadium in Galle on July

Five-match series against India:

Sri Lanka will be eyeing the chance to seal direct qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in an upcoming five-match home series against India which commences in Dambulla on Sunday.

The 1996 World champions will have to win at least two matches to secure a place in the pinnacle 50-over competition by staving off the challenge from the West Indies. The cut-off date for direct qualification is 30 September.

Sri Lanka is currently placed eighth with 88 points, 10 points more than the West Indies, which has an unenviable task in its aim of being among the seven top-ranked sides apart from host England to gain direct qualification.

The bottom four sides on the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings will need to play a Qualifying event also featuring the top four sides from the ICC World Cricket League Championship and top two sides from the ICC World Cricket League. The top two teams from this event will get to play in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.

Winning two matches will take Sri Lanka to 90 points while the Windies side will at best reach 88 points even if it wins its one-off ODI against Ireland on 13 September as well as all five matches of its series in England from 19-29 September.

However, a 4-1 win for India will see Sri Lanka finish at 88 points and the Windies could edge it on decimal points if it wins all its upcoming six matches.

The Windies side will go out of contention if it loses to Ireland as from there it will at best reach 86 points and remain behind Sri Lanka on decimal points, even if Sri Lanka loses 5-0 to India.

As for India, which is in third position with 114 points, only a 4-1 series win will ensure it stays ahead of England. Even a 3-2 win for India will mean it will slip to 113 points and behind England on decimal points owing to Sri Lanka’s low ranking.


Series scenarios:

India wins 5-0 – India 117 points; Sri Lanka 86 points.

India wins 4-1 – India 115 points, Sri Lanka 88 points.

India wins 3-2 – India 113 points, Sri Lanka 90 points.

Sri Lanka wins 3-2 – India 111 points, Sri Lanka 91 points.

Sri Lanka wins 4-1 – India 109 points, Sri Lanka 93 points.

Sri Lanka wins 5-0 – India 106 points, Sri Lanka 94 points.

As for the MRF Tyres ICC ODI Player Rankings, India captain Virat Kohli goes into the series as the world’s top-ranked ODI batsman with 873 points and a chance to increase his 12-point lead over Australia’s David Warner.

Former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (12th), Shikhar Dhawan (13th) and vice-captain Rohit Sharma (14th) are the other leading India batsmen while pace bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar (13th), left-arm spinner Akshar Patel (20th) and Jasprit Bumrah (31st) are the leading bowlers in the side.

For Sri Lanka, all-rounder Angelo Mathews is the leading player among batsmen (27th) as well as bowlers (53rd) and the only all-rounder in the series among the top-five. Kusal Mendis (30th), Niroshan Dickwella (38th) and captain Upul Tharanga (64th) are its other leading batsmen.


India v Sri Lanka series schedule:

20 Aug – 1st ODI, Dambulla

24 Aug – 2nd ODI, Pallekele

27 Aug – 3rd ODI, Pallekele

31 Aug – 4th ODI, Colombo

3 Sep – 5th ODI, Colombo


MRF Tyres ICC ODI Team Rankings (as on 18 August):

Rank Team Points

1. South Africa 119

2. Australia 117

3. India 114

4. England 113

5. New Zealand 111

6. Pakistan 95

7. Bangladesh 94

8. Sri Lanka 88

9. West Indies 78

10. Afghanistan 54

11. Zimbabwe 52

12. Ireland 41 

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Sri Lanka’s Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal promises to play fearless cricket

Posted on 18 July 2017 by admin

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by Rex Clementine – Courtesy: The Island.

 

Former great Aravinda de Silva always speaks of trusting your instincts and playing an aggressive brand of cricket that often upsets the rhythm of the opposition. As Sri Lanka completed a stunning four wicket win chasing down a mammoth 388 run target to keep their unbeaten record against Zimbabwe intact, new captain Dinesh Chandimal echoed similar sentiments.

Dinesh Chandimal

"We’ve played on these kinds of pitches before in Sri Lanka, in India and Bangladesh. On these pitches, it’s with sweeps and reverse sweeps that we can score runs. There’s a risk in that, but if we are chasing scores, we should trust our instincts and play those shots. At training we had practiced those things, and those things bore results today," noted Chandimal.

"When it came time for us to bat yesterday, most of what we talked about was playing your own game as batsmen. We know that it was tough for us to bat out the time and draw the match. If we tried that, it was likely we’d lose. So we said: play your own game. As a captain I told them that I’d take the responsibility for any mistakes, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Kusal Mendis, Dimuth Karunaratne and Upul Tharanga played well. Then at the end, Asela and Dickwella were excellent," noted Chandimal.

"Zimbabwe put huge effort into winning this match, and it wasn’t easy for us. In a Test match you can’t make mistakes across the five days. At times we made mistakes, and at other times we did well. That changed from session to session. We wanted to win the game. We are very happy with the result."

Asela Gunaratne kept his nerve to remain till the end as he finished unbeaten on 80. "I am very glad a player like Asela is in the team. He’s a cushion for any captain or team. If he bowls, he gets the wickets the team needs. I’m very happy he’s in the team. He has performed his responsibilities well. I’m hoping for those things from him in the future as well."

"I gave responsibilities to all the players – whether they were juniors or seniors. Everyone can have good ideas, so even in the team meetings, we gave them that room to talk. We have a good start now. We saw the character of the team – how they picked themselves up. We have that mentality to achieve victory even when things look grim. My main goal is to win every game."

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Mathews stepping down a sad saga

Posted on 13 July 2017 by admin

 

Courtesy: By Srian Obeyesekere.

The great game called cricket is also about heartbreak! Heartbreak off the field as much as it is about the ecstasy of high performance and defeat and the bonding camaraderie the centuries long noble game manifests. Indeed, the ups and downs in criowncket like in life is a part and parcel cycle. As much as the sport has endowed as a spirit raising high intensity competition that has thrust countless players from Mr. Nothing to celebrity status, some of whom in fairytale rags to riches success stories, it has seen many greats in tatters like the famous Kevin Pietersen saga. In this instance, of course, the name that makes misty eyes is Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews who has stepped down from the captaincy following the home series 2-3 ODI defeat to minnows Zimbabwe having been in the job for nearly 5 years, at the age of 30.

The bad feeling to digest is that the country marks the parting from the hot seat role of a player who arrived on the stage with a bang and his stocks soared fast raising great expectations to take Sri Lanka out of the tunnel in team rebuilding following senior player retirements. The  blockbuster batsman image he hogged that saw his batting averages mount to the phenomenal with a terrific strike rate saw Mathews rated as a tremendous find for the future. That the former St. Joseph’s product had starred like a loner in taking Sri Lanka out of crisis situations like his epoch match winning century against England at Old Trafford for a famous series triumph was the anointment of winning the selectors and Sri Lankan cricket establishments faith. Effectively, Mathews was regarded as the torchbearer of his country’s cricket following the retirements of stalwarts Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillekeratne Dilshan. That the lion has bearded himself in the climes of his countrymen’s  great expectations is thus the stunning low that has descended. Though committing himself for his country as a batsman, his effective  abdication of the crown has come as a blow to Sri Lanka in a critical phase of its cricket that is in the crossroads of raising its standings in the ICC up.team rankings; of keeping its status intact to avoid disqualification from the 2019 World Cup.

Mathews led Sri Lanka in 34 Tests, 98 ODIs and 12 T20Is, having taken the reins at the age of 25, in 2013.

He had a rollicking 2014 scoring 1,317 runs at an average of 87.8, and his average as captain d50.94 despite injury bugging him in the last year in the saddle. Though critics claim his form had dropped, Mathews’ back from long injury unbeaten 40 odd in taking Sri Launka to victory toppling favourites India in the Champions Trophy was an inication he remained in good nick. The bottom-line of quitting the captaincy was apparently triggered by mounting pressure by critics. It is lamentable that he did not use his potential to greater effect having preferred to play a low profile batting at No. 5 when he should have moved to No.3 with Jayawardene and Sangakkara gone. On the field he seemed to lack the leadership grain of the right rotation of his bowlers. Perhaps injury sting had lulled his verve having longtime ago also forced Mathews to give up his role as a regular fast bowler.

Photo Credit : Daily News

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Dinesh Chandimal named Sri Lanka’s new Test captain – Upul Tharanga leads country in ODI & T20 formats

Posted on 13 July 2017 by admin

Dinesh Chandimal was named skipper of Sri Lanka's Test team on Wednesday (July 12), while fellow batsman Upul Tharanga has been tasked with leading the limited-overs squads after Angelo Mathews relinquished the captaincy across all formats on Tuesday. Both Chandimal and Tharanga have led the country on prior assignments on Mathews absence due to injury.

By: Upali Obeyesekere – Editor, TSL.

Sri Lankan cricket captain Angelo Mathews leave the grounds after Zimbabwe’s victory in the fifth one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe at the Suriyawewa Mahinda Rajapakse International Cricket Stadium in the southern district of Hambantota on July 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Dinesh Chandimal won Man of the Match Award


Consequent to Angelo Mathews stepping down as captain, Sri Lanka Cricket has named two players who will now take over the Test and limited over formats. Dinesh Chandimal has been named Sri Lanka's new Test captain, and Upul Tharanga will take over in ODIs and T20s. Chandimal had served as Mathews' deputy and led the T20 team in the past, while Tharanga led the ODI team when Mathews had been injured.

Speaking at the press conference to announce the new captains, Mathews, who quit following the 3-2 ODI defeat at home to Zimbabwe, said: "Yes, there have been significant poor performances, and I'm humble enough to accept it. In the past also there were instances where I wanted to step down but I didn't want to let the team down at that time, mainly because there were no replacements. The team's interests supercede my personal interests.

"There were two things working in my mind. The first is whether this was the right time considering the team. My honest opinion is that there are candidates who can take over the reins. I'm pretty sure that they will be more successful and better captains than me. I also wanted to give my successor enough time until the World Cup, to build up a team. Those were the main reasons for me to step down."

Mathews said that although he was disappointed with Sri Lanka's results in 2017, he resigns having given his best to the job.

"I have at all times played in the exclusive interest of Sri Lankan cricket, and have not at any time compromised my national duties for any personal gain," he said, reading a portion of his letter of resignation to the board. "I have at all times given utmost priority to making myself available over any franchise commitment, and have at times pre-terminated franchise commitments in order to fulfill national obligations. Subject to me being selected for national duty, I would ensure my fullest commitment to the national cricket team. Moreover, I would at all times support and guide our profusely talented young team, as well as my successor, in every way."

Chandimal was always a top contender to take over from Mathews, particularly because he had been groomed as a leader in the past. Though Chandimal's patchy form in ODIs led to his exclusion from the recent squad to play Zimbabwe, he has matured as a Test batsman – most recently making a difficult ton against Bangladesh at the P Sara Oval. He averages 41.17 since the start of 2015, and has scored 2540 runs at an average of 42.33 all told. Chandimal had also been a successful captain at school level, leading Ananda College to record number of outright victories in his senior year.

"I want to take this team and Sri Lanka forward, so I will put my heart and soul into the job," Chandimal said after the announcement. "I'm very thankful to the job that Angie [Mathews] has done for us. Captaincy is not an easy job and he was an excellent leader for us over four-and-a-half years. He's also a terrific batsman and a match-winner for us, and I have huge hopes that he will continue to be one in the coming years as well."

Tharanga's rise to the limited-overs captaincy has been sharper. He had been dropped from Sri Lanka's limited-overs sides as recently as the first half of 2016, but has since led the team in 14 ODIs, as acting captain in Mathews' absence. He has been in excellent form in recent months, however, averaging 49 in ODIs since November. He has been moved around the batting order during that time, sometimes opening the batting, and batting in the middle order at others. Sri Lanka have won four and lost eight of the ODIs Tharanga has captained – six of those losses coming against South Africa.

Tharanga also thanked Mathews for his leadership, and the selectors for giving him the opportunity to lead. He acknowledged that Sri Lanka's recent performances had been modest.

"I don't want to say that as a team we've done poorly in the recent past, but we have had some ups and downs," Tharanga said. "Some matches we do well, and others we don't. In future we have to be more consistent. We all want to take Sri Lanka forward."

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Angelo Mathews steps down as Sri Lanka captain in all three formats

Posted on 11 July 2017 by admin

 

COURTESY OF ESPNCRICINFO STAFF.

 

Angelo Mathews has led Sri Lanka in 34 Tests, 98 ODIs and 12 T20Is © AFP

 

 

Sri Lankan cricket captain Angelo Mathews leave the grounds after Zimbabwe's victory in the fifth one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe at the Suriyawewa Mahinda Rajapakse International Cricket Stadium in the southern district of Hambantota on July 10, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI (Photo credit should read LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

Angelo Mathews has stepped down as Sri Lanka captain in all three formats, following his side's 3-2 ODI series loss to Zimbabwe. Mathews, who called the defeat "one of the lowest points" of his career and said in its aftermath that he would discuss his captaincy future with the SLC selectors, conveyed his decision to the selectors on Tuesday.

Mathews has led Sri Lanka in 34 Tests, 98 ODIs and 12 T20Is, having taken the reins at the age of 25, in 2013. Though Sri Lanka have been modest in limited-overs cricket through the latter half of his tenure, they have, on his watch, tasted rare success in the Test format. In 2014, Mathews had personally played a pivotal role in the Test series triumph in England. Last year, Sri Lanka had also whitewashed Australia – a side they had won only one Test against previously.

There have also been significant lows under Mathews, however. Sri Lanka's campaigns in the 2015 World Cup, the 2016 World T20 and the 2017 Champions Trophy were disappointing, and even in the Test format, they suffered two 0-2 whitewashes in New Zealand, and a 0-3 result in South Africa. All told, Mathews has 13 Test victories to his name as captain, against 15 losses. On the batting front, Mathews had an outstanding 2014, in which he scored 1,317 runs at an average of 87.8, but his form had since fallen away, though his average as captain still remains 50.94. With the ball, he was only sporadically effective in Tests, but much more valuable a limited-overs bowler.

The last year of Mathews' captaincy was characterised by injury, however. He missed two Tests and an ODI tri-series in Zimbabwe as a result of multiple leg injuries, was absent for a five-match ODI series against South Africa thanks to a torn hamstring, missed Bangladesh's tour of the island, and was most recently unavailable for Sri Lanka's Champions Trophy fixture against South Africa – though it is possible he was prevented from playing that game by the board. The injuries have usually come when Mathews has had a high bowling workload, which he has attempted to carefully manage during his captaincy.

The announcement that he would resign from the captaincy was not unexpected. The paucity of Sri Lanka's returns in 2017 had placed substantial pressure on Mathews, and applied fresh scrutiny on his on-field strategising and decision-making, which has largely been seen to be Mathews' weakest suit as captain. The series loss against Zimbabwe has been particularly chastening to the Sri Lanka team – they had never lost a match to Zimbabwe at home before, let alone a series.

Sri Lanka are due to name a successor to Mathews – in the Test format at least – early on Wednesday. Upul Tharanga, who has led the ODI team when Mathews has been injured, and Dinesh Chandimal, who has served as Mathews' deputy and led the T20 team in the past, are prime candidates. Rangana Herath, who captained the most-recent Sri Lanka Test, may be an option as well.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Comments Off on Angelo Mathews steps down as Sri Lanka captain in all three formats

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