Angelo Mathews denies Jayawardene’s allegations, urges him to support in crucial time

Written by N Krishnamurthy

A day after legendary Mahela Jayawardene criticised Angelo Mathews for let others to dictate terms during his stint as Sri Lanka’s captain, the premier batsman has vehemently denied all the allegations by stating that right now his top priority is the World Cup. Mathews further urge Mumbai Indians coach to help Sri Lanka team as they are gearing up for the mega event, starting from May 30.

“Thanks for the concern guys everyone has their opinion and mj has his too.suprised to see some of his comments while denying them my top priority now is the World Cup and I urge mj to help us with his knowledge and encouragement in this crucial time wich will mean alot Thankyou🙏” Mathews posted on his twitter handle on Monday.

In his interview on Sunday, published in one of the local newspaper, Jayawardene came down heavily on the leadership of his former teammates Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal, saying some of their decisions were responsible for the chopping in changing in captaincy.

Since Jayawardene retired in 2015 and Mathews took over, Chandimal, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Chamara Kapugedara and – most-recently – Dimuth Karunaratne have held the reins. After the Asia Cup debacle in March last year, Mathews was controversially sacked by Sri Lanka in the influence of million dollars paid coach Chandika Hathurasingha.

“The only advice (Kumar and I) gave Angelo was not to give in to cricket politics,” Jayawardene said.

“He needs to be a stronger leader, to be with the players and do the right thing. But he gave in to cricket politics. He allowed other people to make decisions and did not stand up for his players. I am being honest. I have told him this as well and he accepts it. If he hadn’t give in, we would probably not be in this situation today. Even if I see him today, that’s the only complaint I will have against him.

“The number one rule in Sri Lanka is, if you are the captain, lead by example and do not allow any outsiders coming into that setup. That’s the only way we ran the show and survived. It was unfortunate and it was not easy, either.

“You need to deal with a lot of unwanted elements. But if you are a strong character, that’s something you have to do. I have nothing against him. He is a brilliant cricketer and a wonderful person but he did not handle this situation well. He should be the one who is leading this team at the World Cup. He had to give up because it was too much for him. But it was his fault.

“I think (Chandimal) was another victim of cricket politics. In the sense, he was another player like Angelo Mathews who was snared to elements behind the scene and went along with them rather than taking control of the team and being a strong leader,” he added.

Sri Lanka to begin their World Cup campaign against New Zealand on June 1.

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N Krishnamurthy