Sri Lanka’s Chief Selector puts question mark over Angelo Mathews World Cup participation

Written by N Krishnamurthy

Sri Lanka’s allrounder Angelo Mathews participation in the upcoming World Cup is in serious doubt, as chief selector Asantha De Mel has come up with some strong comments over his fitness.

Mathews limped off the field while batting in the second innings of the second Test against New Zealand at Christchurch which was later put down to a grade two strain. With four weeks recovery time, he is effectively ruled out of the four one-day matches (3 ODIs and 1 T20I v New Zealand) and the two Tests against Australia later this month.

“What I can’t understand is watching him taking that run I couldn’t imagine that you can pull a muscle running at that speed. He was basically just trotting. Just to trot and to pull a second degree hamstring there must be something literally wrong,” said chairman of cricket selectors Ashantha de Mel.

“They should send him to Australia or somewhere and get his injury sorted out. He has to be fit. We can’t be molly-coddling players. If he can’t run and field it will be difficult for him to play one-day cricket. Test cricket you can hide but in ODI cricket you can’t run singles slowly. He will have to really get himself fit if he wants to play one-day cricket otherwise it is impossible for him to play,” he said.

“How can you pick a player who cannot field in the outfield and who can’t run between the wickets fast. You can be a good batsman. In a Test match you can manage because it’s a slow-paced game and nobody will criticise you if you run only two when there is three. But in the one-day game the ones and twos can be the difference between winning and losing a match. We have to really assess his fitness. Unless he is 100 percent fit I don’t think we can select him for one-day cricket.”

However, there is no immediate threat to Mathews test career. He was the best batsman from his side against New Zealand and looked in prime form in last few test matches.

“What Mathews should do in Test cricket is to forget his bowling and be a no. 5 batsman. He is scoring runs and in this series (v New Zealand) he was three times not out and averaged over 200,” said De Mel.

“If he can score those kinds of runs without bowling he is valuable to the team. In fielding he must field more in the slips without running around. Some sort of protection must be given to make use of his batting,” he added.

About the author

N Krishnamurthy