Tag Archive | "Angelo Mathews"

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Angelo Mathews: World Cricket’s Batsman of the Month, August 2014

Posted on 01 September 2014 by TSL

Angelo Mathews was identified as a future captain and a long-term cornerstone of Sri Lankan cricket well before his ascension into the game's upper echelon of stars, and expectation has closely followed him on his journey to this point.

Mathews is wonderfully talented in both disciplines and a natural leader, and the 27-year-old's bolt to the pinnacle of the game in 2014 has been another case of perfect timing for Sri Lanka, with Mahela Jayawardene retiring from the Test arena and Kumar Sangakkara enjoying the twilight years of his career.

Indeed, Mathews' remarkable rise since being appointed captain has mirrored the arrivals of Jayawardene and Sangakkara more than a decade ago, when Sri Lanka desperately needed new stars to lean on as Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva waved goodbye.

Following extremely successful stints against Pakistan, Bangladesh, England and South Africa already this year, Mathews' golden run of form continued against Misbah-ul-Haq's men in August, propelling Sri Lanka to both Test and one-day international series triumphs.

By , Featured Columnist – Sep 1, 2014 – Courtesy: BLEACHER REPORT

Angelo Mathews' Performance Summary for August
Scores Opponent Match Type Venue Dates
91, 25* Pakistan Test Galle Aug. 6-10
39, 43* Pakistan Test Colombo Aug. 14-18
89 Pakistan ODI Hambantota Aug. 23
93 Pakistan ODI Hambantota Aug. 26
0* Pakistan ODI Dambulla Aug. 30

ESPN Cricinfo

 

With three scores between 89 and 93 and a further three unbeaten innings, the right-hander finished the month with the finest record of all international batsmen across all formats, averaging almost 100 in the process.

And while Sangakkara, Joe Root, Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock all excelled, Mathews' brilliance outshone them all, further enhancing his growing reputation while leading Sri Lanka to a superb run of sustained success.

 

Leading Int'l Run-Scorers in All Formats in August
Player Mat Runs HS Ave 100s 50s
Angelo Mathews 5 380 93 95.00 0 3
Faf du Plessis 6 378 106 63.00 1 3
Quinton de Kock 6 361 84 60.16 0 4
Kumar Sangakkara 5 361 221 51.57 1 1
Mahela Jayawardene 5 299 67 42.71 0 4
Denesh Ramdin 4 277 169 92.33 1 1
Sarfraz Ahmed 2 265 103 88.33 1 3
Hamilton Masakadza 7 249 70 31.12 0 2
MS Dhoni 4 232 82 46.40 0 3
Joe Root 4 232 149* 77.33 1 1

ESPN Cricinfo

 

Perhaps most telling of Mathews' supreme stretch with the bat is that he now stands behind only Sangakkara and AB de Villiers in the ICC Test Batsmen Rankings.

Despite starting the year at No. 16, the Sri Lankan skipper has surged ahead of stars such as Michael Clarke, Hashim Amla, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Younis Khan, Jayawardene, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli to become the third highest ranked batsman in the game.

 

Standout Performance

 

 

Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press

 

It's extremely rare for teams to win Test matches after conceding 450 runs in the first innings, but that's exactly what Sri Lanka did thanks to a pair of outstanding performances by Mathews and Sangakkara against Pakistan in Galle.

In fact, it has been almost four years since a team won a Test after watching an opposing side amass 450 or more. The last time was when India defeated Australia in Bangalore in 2010.

To illustrate how rare such a feat is, of the 420 times a side has conceded 450-plus to begin a Test, only 12 of those games have ended in victory for the team batting second.

Sri Lanka's victory in Galle was the 12th.

Mathews, of course, played a leading role in the remarkable triumph, compiling a smooth 91 alongside Sangakkara's 221 to push the home side past Pakistan's 451 and onto a decisive total of 533-9 declared.

It was also Mathews who struck the winning runs in the second innings as his team cruised to their target of just 99 following Rangana Herath's destruction of Pakistan's batting line-up.

 

The Road Ahead

 

 

Gareth Copley/Getty Images

 

Deservedly, Mathews and Sri Lanka will now enjoy a three-month layoff following a gruelling schedule that began in January, not set to play again until a one-day international series with England commences on November 26.

Following that seven-match encounter will be both a Test and one-day tour of New Zealand in the lead-up to the 2015 World Cup.

Given Mathews' outstanding form and Sri Lanka's glittering run of results this calendar year, it's possible the tiny island nation could challenge for supremacy at cricket's fast-approaching showpiece.

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Sri Lanka’s captain Angelo Mathews has a day to remember at Headingley

Posted on 23 June 2014 by TSL

Mathews’s innings of 160 was up there with Graham Gooch’s famous knock against West Indies in 1991 for determination.

Angelo Mathews produced one of the great Headingley innings. It probably does not qualify as the greatest – through no fault of his own. The blandness of the bowling and the soporific nature of the pitch once the ball grew soft with the sun beaming down on a surface which had acquired the reassuring colour of a Rich Tea biscuit, denies the Sri Lanka captain top billing.

Runs were much harder to come by when Graham Gooch was defying the West Indies in 1991 with an extraordinary unbeaten 154 out of 252 all out, an innings which ensured victory. But Mathews could not have done much more.

He arrived at the crease when Sri Lanka’s lead was a modest 64; by the time he departed after clipping a Jimmy Anderson full toss to midwicket, it was 329 and there would still be a mischievous last wicket partnership of 20.

Mathews, 27 and Sri Lanka’s youngest ever captain, exhibited a magnificent calm throughout his innings with two brief aberrations. When Dhammika Prasad sliced his first ball from Liam Plunkett for a catch to third man the 27-year-old briefly lost his cool. He threw his bat down on the turf in disgust at the shot. At that stage – the lead was only 169 – his team needed more.

Then just before tea, when Sri Lanka were 318 ahead and Mathews was on 149, he summoned his gallant partner Rangana Herath for a single but then changed his mind. Now Herath has many qualities – he showed great determination to stay with his captain throughout a steamy afternoon – but turning quickly is not one of them.

Herath was stranded two short of a half-century as Joe Root’s throw broke the stumps. Once again Mathews was distraught but this time at himself. His partner had deserved more. Herath gathered himself for the journey back to the pavilion but before setting off he put a consoling arm around his captain. He knew that their partnership of 149 had upturned the balance of a glorious game – if you happen to hail from Colombo.

Mathews produced a captain’s innings par excellence and this should be no surprise. We are accustomed to sizing up the threat of the Sri Lankan batting line-up and concluding that it starts and ends with Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. These are two great players and they have both demonstrated why in this series – Monday there were glimpses of Jayawardene wristily dismissing the ball to the boundary in a manner that had even the non-romantics purring with pleasure. But since his elevation to the captaincy Mathews has never been outshone by this venerable pair.

This is Mathews’ ninth Test match in charge and, if he were to win it, this might be considered Sri Lanka’s finest hour in this country. The tourists have won two Tests in England – the one-off match at the Oval in 1998 and at Trent Bridge in 2006, but never a series. As captain Mathews has become a more formidable cricketer. Since taking over the captaincy he has scored 946 runs at an average of 78. In that time Sri Lanka have won three and lost one – to Pakistan in Sharjah. By Tuesday afternoon it may well be won four.

For good measure, at Headingley Mathews has produced career-best performances in both disciplines: his 160, the third century since his appointment, and his 4-44. Once more we can see how captaincy can enhance a cricketer, at least in the early period of leadership.

Courtesy: The Guardian – U.K.

Beyond the figures there is now an unruffled majesty to his batting. He has always been able to hit the ball hard, which was obvious from his early one-day appearances. But now there is a certainty in his stroke-play. He stands still, defends when necessary but when the right ball arrives he hits it with easy, uncomplicated power. On one occasion on Monday Plunkett was genuinely gobsmacked when an innocent delivery was deposited over the midwicket boundary.

Mathews’ partnership with Herath tormented a lost and weary England team terribly. Either Mathews monopolised the strike expertly or in the last two balls of the over he could be guaranteed to strike a minimum of one boundary once the field came in. Yet barely a risk needed to be taken, a testament to Mathews’ wonderful sureness of touch and the barrenness of the England bowling.

The captain’s drives sizzled past despairing, diving fielders; or he made room to glide the ball to a non-existent third man. At Lord’s he had batted heroically, for over six hours in two innings to help save the game; his efforts here had all the hallmarks of a match-winning performance.

Mathews needed some help and soon Herath became more than a passive partner. He looked fragile to begin with as Plunkett hurtled in from around the wicket doing his best imitation of the backyard bully. But after an hour Herath appeared to be doing his own impressions. Had he suddenly become Brian Lara, or Alvin Kallicharran? Mathews the batsman looked on admiringly. Then for the last two hours Mathews the captain did his stuff rather well.

It was not so tricky. He simply tossed the ball to the man he had brought into the side rather shrewdly after Lord’s in place of Nuwan Kulasekara.

The very same Prasad, who had driven Mathews to distraction a few hours earlier and had caused him to throw his bat in anguish, now sent the Sri Lankan captain into transports of delight.

 

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1st Test: 138-run 5th wkt partnership between Mathews & Chandimal helps Sri Lanka on day-4

Posted on 03 January 2014 by TSL

Angelo Mathews scored a career-best 116 to fashion a remarkable turnaround for Sri Lanka in the Abu Dhabi Test after they had conceded a 179-run lead to Pakistan in the first innings. He added 138 for the fifth wicket with Dinesh Chandimal, who missed out on his third Test century, and a further unbeaten 96 with Prasanna Jayawardene to transform a delicate situation on the fourth morning into, possibly, a match-winning one. Only thrice before have Pakistan been able to chase down a target in excess of 241, which is Sri Lanka’s current lead.

The Pakistan bowlers managed a solitary wicket in the entire day and, for most parts, appeared innocuous with the pitch hardly providing assistance to the seamers or spinners. Saeed Ajmal’s figures of 42-10-96-0 – the most overs he has bowled without picking up a wicket – highlighted the bowlers’ misery.

Mathews, though, stayed compact throughout the day, and apart from a brief period against the new ball, was largely untroubled. Unlike his counterattacking 91 in the first innings, he kept the lid on his aggressive instincts, choosing the slow and steady approach. His half-century came off 113 deliveries. His next 50 took even longer as he slowed down as he neared his first Test century as captain, taking 24 balls to score his last four runs.

Mathews did pounce on loose deliveries, scoring a six and 11 fours, six of which came against Bilawal Bhatti. He was quick on the pull the moment the seamers pitched it short, but otherwise preferred playing in the V, with a few of his fours coming in the region between mid-on and midwicket. Along with Chandimal, he laid the foundation for Sri Lanka’s revival.

Pakistan had assumed a dominant position on the third day after earning three wickets in the last session, and needed similar intensity today from Bhatti and Junaid Khan to restrict Sri Lanka’s lead. They opened with the same pair in their search for quick wickets, but both bowlers lacked the zip that had brought them success the previous day.

That made Sri Lanka’s job easier. Chandimal and Mathews collected 24 runs, without being troubled, in the 8.3 overs of Bhatti and Junaid’s first spell. They defended solidly and mainly focused on turning the strike over, choosing only once each to stamp their authority with powerful pulls. The two bowlers had to eventually be pulled out of the attack by Misbah-ul-Haq to keep them ready for the second new ball. That gave Sri Lanka more breathing space.

They slightly upped the rate in the last 10 overs with the old ball to accumulate 39 runs as the three bowlers used in that block – Ajmal, Rahat Ali and Mohammad Hafeez – failed to create even a minor flutter. Chandimal reached his fifth Test half-century in the 79th over with a glance to the fine leg boundary, and Mathews smashed a six that illustrated the two batsmen’s growing comfort.

Misbah asked for the new ball straightaway and pressed his two best bowlers – Junaid and Bhatti – into service. However, it didn’t have the desired effect as Sri Lanka switched to a measured approach once more.

Chandimal stayed fluent, easily picking up singles and maintaining a strike rate of over 50 throughout his innings. In the first over after lunch, he used his feet to drive Ajmal to the cover boundary to register the partnership’s century stand. In the next over though, bowled by Bhatti, Chandimal, on 71, was reprieved by Ahmed Shehzad at second slip after the fielder misread a thick edge which moved to the wrong direction. The relief on Shehzad’s face was palpable when, 10 overs later, Chandimal was sucked in to a hook by Junaid to be caught at deep fine leg. He could only add 18 after being dropped and missed his third Test century by 11 runs, becoming Junaid’s 50th Test victim in the process.

Pakistan had an opening after 47.3 overs of toil, but Mathews kept his focus and ensured Sri Lanka kept turning the wheel of fortune decisively towards them. Prasanna Jayawardene proved to be the ideal foil, handling Ajmal’s variations with aplomb and keeping the seamers at bay with ease. By the end of the day, the two had batted for 39 overs, and are likely to push the match away from Pakistan’s reach on the last day.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Triangular Series: Mathews says, “We panicked in the final”

Posted on 16 July 2013 by TSL

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews justified his decision to bowl the less experienced Shaminda Eranga in the last over against India in the final of the tri-nation competition in Trinidad on Thursday. He also backed under-fire fast bowler Lasith Malinga whose performances against India made Chairman of Selectors Sanath Jayasuriya question the fast bowler’s performances against the neighbouring country. Mathews came in for much criticism after he left the last over for Eranga in a tense final, instead of bowling himself or reserving Malinga. India were down to the last pair and required 15 runs in the last over and much to the Sri Lankan fans’ dismay, Indian captain M. S. Dhoni finished the game off with two balls remaining.

"I did what my gut feeling said," Mathews answered.

"It is always good to listen to your gut feeling rather than expecting things to happen. We were panicking a little bit towards the end. I thought the bowlers were brilliant, but once again Dhoni took the game away from us. In hindsight, I could have bowled Lasith or even myself in that last over, but we just wanted to get that one wicket rather than leaving it for the last moment. Last man Ishant Sharma did well holding one end up."

Malinga, Sri Lanka’s strike bowler has won the team many games, but his performances against India have been well below par in the recent past. In 148 ODIs, Malinga has taken 229 wickets at 26.58, but those figures drop drastically against India against whom Malinga averages 41.86 in 32 matches with only 37 wickets.

This year, his performances against India drops even further as in four games he has taken only three wickets at an average of 53.

"Look, he is our best bowler," Mathews explained. "At Power Plays he is the man to do the job for us along with Nuwan Kulasekara. The Indians take him on not showing any respect. They just play him so well. They have figured him out quite a bit. It’s very important that we keep him in good spirit because we need to go back for him during pressure situations even now."

Mathews called the batting collapse in the final as ‘pathetic’ after Sri Lanka lost eight wickets for 30 runs. From 171 for two in 39 overs, Sri Lanka were bowled out for 201 runs with seven deliveries still left.

"I felt the batting part lost us the game. We were cruising at one stage and the middle order came up with a pathetic batting effort and we kept taking the wrong decisions while batting and that lost us the game. Sanga (Kumar Sangakkara) and Thiri (Lahiru Thirimanne) giving us a good platform and we should have done better. After doing all the hard work we had the opportunity to get a big score but it wasn’t to be so," Mathews further said.

Sri Lanka has struggled against India in the recent past losing several big games including the ICC Champions Trophy semi-final and the tri-nation final in a fortnight. Mathews denied the Sri Lankans had a mental block when playing India in big games."I wouldn’t say so, but we haven’t had a very good recent past in the semis and the finals against them. We nearly had the final in West Indies, but once again Dhoni took it away. After the loss against India in the semi-finals in the Champions Trophy, it was disappointing and depressing for all the guys. Unfortunately we only got 200 runs in the final but I thought the bowlers were brilliant," Mathews said.

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Selectors pick strong Sri Lanka XI for Friday’s Test against Bangladesh

Posted on 04 March 2013 by TSL

Following the end of the impasse between Sri Lanka Cricket and the top players of the team, a 16-man squad was announced for the first Test against Bangladesh beginning in Galle this Friday.

The players, following a discussion with chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya yesterday, had backed down and signed the disputed contracts qualifying themselves for selection for Bangladesh’s tour.

Former captain Mahela Jayawardene has been ruled out due to injury, while Thilan Samaraweera has been left out. Kithruwan Vithanage, who scored an unbeaten 168 in the warm-up game against the visiting team in Matara, has earned a place in the squad.

Squad:
Angelo Mathews (Capt), Dinesh Chandimal (V.Capt & W/C), T.M Dilshan, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanna, Shaminda Eranga, Kusal Janith, Jeewan Mendis, Kithruwan Vithanage, Ajantha Mendis, Nuwan Kulasekara, Chanaka Welagedara, Suranga Lakmal, Rangana Herath, P.H.T Kaushal.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement Sri Lanka Cricket announced that the signing of the Annual Contracts offered to the National Team has been finalized. These contracts were given to 23 National Players who were categorized in to 4 groups.

Category 1

  1. Angelo Mathews
  2. T.M.Dilshan
  3. Mahela Jayawardana
  4. Kumar Sangakkara
  5. Lasith Malinga
  6. Nuwan Kulasekera
  7. Rangana Herath
Category 2
  1. Dinesh Chandimal
  2. Ajantha Mendis

Category 3

 

  1. Lahiru Thirimanne
  2. Thisara Perera

Category 4

 

  1. Shaminda Eranga
  2. Chanaka Welagedera
  3. Dimuth Karunarathne
  4. Jeewan Mendis
  5. Suraj Randiv
  6. Kusal Janith Perera
  7. Sachitra Senanayaka
  8. Upul Tharanga
  9. Suranga Lakmal
  10. Nuwan Pradeep

The statement issued by the SLC:

Initially the original contracts were handed over to the players by officials of SLC last week explaining the changes in the new agreement to each category of players. Upon a request by the players a meeting was organized with the presence of the office bearers of the executive committee of Sri Lanka Cricket to further explain the rationale of components of the contract presented for signing. At the said meeting, which was held late on the 2nd of March, Sri Lanka Cricket very clearly stated their intention was not to deviate from the context of the original contract.

The Newly appointed National Captain Angelo Mathews, on behalf of the National Team Players requested a meeting on the following day with the Chairman of Selectors Mr. Sanath Jayasuriya. Upon request from Mr. Jayasuriya  SLC duly agreed to grant approval for the meeting and it was held at SLC premises with the patronage of the Team Manager Michael De Zoysa.

 At this meeting the players requested for the reinstatement of the guarantee fee component which was taken off by SLC this year. (The guarantee fee is a payment made by the ICC to member nations for participation in the ICC events. Earlier players were allocated of 25% of the fee paid to SLC. The players requested the fee to be paid to them where they would reallocate the funds received via the guarantee fee towards Cricket development activities in the country. However, SLC rejected the proposal put forward by the players as it was felt Cricket Development activities purview should be vested with the governing body rather than with the players in concern

The amounts allocated to the 23 National Players from the current contracts amounts to 67% of the 2013 revenue generated by Sri Lanka Cricket. If SLC agreed to grant the players request to include the guarantee fee component to the contract value SLC will have to bear 81% of its annual revenue towards the 23 Cricketers, leaving no provision for a successful all round year. SLC’s stance towards this matter was maintained taking in to account all Cricketing interests pertaining to Sri Lanka.

On the 4th of March all Cricketers who were offered contracts (with the exception of Mahela Jayawardena who is currently overseas) signed the same showing the players solidarity towards Sri Lanka Cricket.

Sri Lanka Cricket wish to thank Hon. Mahindananda Aluthgamage – Minister of Sports for his confidence shown towards Sri Lanka Cricket, Chairman of Selectors Mr. Sanath Jayasuriya for his effort and time to solve this matter and the new Manager Mr. Micheal De Zoysa for the services rendered in player communications. A special mention of gratitude should also given to the players for the level of understanding shown in this matter. Notable appreciation also goes out to the Sri Lankan media circle for the responsible manner in which this sensitive matter was handled.

 

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Angelo Mathews felicitated by parishioners at hometown Church

Posted on 17 February 2013 by TSL

The parishioners of St. Anne’s Church, Wattala, on Sunday felicitated the favourite son of their parish, Angelo Mathews, who last week was appointed as Sri Lanka’s 13th Test captain. Mathews hails from Wattala and attended St. Joseph's College, Colombo 10 and had the distinction of captaining the school cricket team.

Rev. Fr. Basil Wickaramasinghe, the Parish Priest of St. Anne’s Church welcomed Mathews before mass and a large gathering was present to greet the 25-year-old. Mathews will become the youngest Sri Lankan oTest captain beating Aravinda de Silva’s record. He will be 25 years and 279 days when the first Test against Bangladesh gets underway in Galle. De Silva was 25 years and 309 days old when he led the country for the first time in a Test match in 1991 at Lord’s. The picture shows Mathews signing autographs after the felicitation.

Even before he could get down to on-field business as Sri Lanka’s new cricket captain, Angelo Mathews stumped his native Catholic parish priest and had crowds swarming all over him when he attended a Sunday church service. Although dressed in a dull grey suit Mathews had enough charisma to be the centre of attraction and told schoolboys and girls to believe in what they do but Fr. Basil Wickremasinghe, the parish’s chief celebrant admitted he did not know where the country’s captain stood when it came to hobnobbing with nobility. “Some are born great, for some greatness is trust upon them and some achieve greatness. I don’t know to which category Angelo Mathews belongs to”. Fr. Wickremasinghe told his congregation as Mathews and his family members sat and listened in the front pews of St. Anne’s church in Wattala. Fr. Wickremasinghe recalled Mathews’ numerous visits to the church before a match and called on his young flock to be like their new heartthrob whom he described as a “humble lad”. Within minutes of the clergyman’s exhortation, young boys and girls deserted their parents pulling out their camera phones and Sunday school books to be autographed and photographed with the star. But Mathews being the man he is was not overwhelmed by the rousing reception and told his “worshippers” the road ahead was like a crown of thorns.

“My journey has just begun. I have come to this stage through determination, commitment and hard work and the support of my parents”, he told his followers from the church pulpit where usually stands a clergyman delivering a homily.

It appeared almost everyone wanted a piece of the new Sri Lanka captain and it took a while before he opened the door of his SUV and raced off for a domestic Premier League match for his club Colts.

When the bubbly boys and girls ushered him in with drums and flutes, Mathews told them fanfare would count for little if values were to be discarded.

“I consider it a blessing to be playing cricket”, he told them. “Have self-confidence in what you do and listen to your parents. They go through much pain to bring you up to this level”.

But Mathews also had something to listen to when a young boy told him how he cries at his dismissal without scoring.

 On behalf of his parish, Fr. Wickremasinghe presented Mathews with a remembrance souvenir which he kept admiring during the felicitation.

Angelo Mathews is one of Sri Lanka's finest all-round cricketers, and has been praised for his ability to handle pressure. He is a product of St Joseph's College, Colombo, where he teamed up with Thisara Perera to bring several honours to the school. After a quiet debut first-class season, in 2007-08, he made big strides with 696 runs at 58. He made it to the national side for the tour of Zimbabwe in 2008, but it was at the World Twenty20 the following year where he announced himself with an acrobatic save at the boundary, and a three-wicket opening over. He made his Test debut later that year and has since established himself as a reliable middle-order batsman and third seamer. He made his first Test century against Australia in Colombo in 2011, after he was named vice-captain. In one-dayers, Mathews has impressed with his ability to bat with the tail in tight situations, most notably in Melbourne in 2010, and against Pakistan in 2012. Injuries remain his biggest concern and as a result he has had to cut down on bowling on occasions.
 

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Angelo Mathews becomes first Josephian to Captain Sri Lanka Cricket

Posted on 15 February 2013 by TSL

 

St. Joseph's College have produced some great cricketers over the years. A few went on to play for Ceylon/Sri Lanka but now they have the rare honour of producing the first Josephian Captain of Sri Lanka Cricket. The newly appointed Selection Committee led by Sanath Jayasuriya made the announcement couple of days back that the talented right hand batsman Angelo Mathews will skipper the country in the Test and ODI formats. Wicket-keeper Dinesh Chandimal will be his deputy. Mathews and Chandimal are both young and remarkably talented cricketers with a keen mind and open disposition towards the game. It will be interesting to see how they perform as a pair and they get the first opportunity against the visiting Bangladesh team next month on home turf.

When Mahela Jayawardena quit as captain following the Australian tour, there was a toss up as to who would replace him. It was clear that senior players like the outgoing captain, Kumar Sangakkara or Tilekeratne Dilshan who are all in their 30s will not be considered. The stage was then set for young Angelo Mathews to step in and take charge. There was no need for the selectors to look beyond Mathews who was fortunate to be vice captain to Jayewardene. Jayewardene was easily one of the best captain's produced by Sri Lanka and Mathews would have learnt from Jayawardena's clever tactics. And Jayawardene had made it known that there was no bêtter individual to captain the country than Mathews once he steps down. Mathews has a vital role to play in taking Sri Lanka cricket to the top. Incidentally he becomes the first Josephian to captain a Sri Lankan cricket team.

The selectors did well to appoint Dinesh Chandimal as vice captain. Chandimal was finding it difficult to stay in the Test side on a permanent basis with Jayawardena, Dilshan, Sangakkara and Thilan Samaraweera blocking the few spots available in the batting line-up. But once Prasanna Jayewardene the regular wicket keeper was injured and then when Kumar Sangkkara suffered the same fate, the selectors on tour gloved Chandimal for the final Test in Sydney. And he came in with a loud roar, keeping brilliantly and then blasting a admirable and stylish un beaten half century when the innings was in tatters in the second innings. He has the makings of a future Sri Lanka captain. In addition to his duties as vice captain of the national team, he has been entrusted with the captaincy of the Twenty20 team which should be a good learning experience for him.

 

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