Angelo Mathews’ sacked as Captain! Was it needed?


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When Angelo Mathews comes into a bowl, batsmen do not interrupt an over complaining of an erratic heartbeat nor do they seem to pant.
When he comes to bat, you do not necessarily set an attacking field. You don’t place a forward short-leg and short-mid wicket to terrorize Mathews with short-pitched stuff. When Mathews walks out to bat, the fielders do not trade places with spectators as they do when Gayle or Mccullum is on strike.
Often, he gets out easier than what one would anticipate.

How rational is Angelo Mathews’ sacking?

Angelo Matthews should be feeling gutted after being sacked as the Skipper (Image: Daily Express)

Probably the last time Angelo Mathews went full airborne to take a flier was when he was hanging out on PlayStation. But what Angelo Mathews does bring to the game is a quiet surety that all’s gonna be fine with a hassled Sri Lankan scoreboard.
This is exactly what he did against South Africa in the sub-continent throughout a full-fledged series involving 2 Tests, 5 ODIs and 1 T20. This is exactly something that he failed to do on 2 occasions as seen in the Asia Cup.
But above anything, what Angelo Mathews does offer to Sri Lankan cricket is the reliability a relatively youth-based side seeks from an all-rounder who’s been around for a while. This is something he might have promised- to anchor his team- in arguably the biggest tournament for all times ahead- ICC World Cup, 2019.
But rather curiously this is when it all went wrong for the Colombo-born Angelo Matthews, rather, should one say the Sri Lankan team?

Angelo Mathews’ sack could prove two things.

With World Cup not that far, Sri Lanka should have tried using the experience of Angelo Matthews (Image: India TV)

Nothing more.
Either, Sri Lankan selectors are being steadfast in pushing forward youth in a unit heading for next year’s world cup or, it could only mean that they’ve inhaled a mythical substance that no doper anywhere on the earth has found.
There can’t be a third reason.
Angelo Mathews doesn’t use expletives like David Warner or Shakib. He isn’t a captain you’d love one day and end up despising the other, such as a Steve Smith.
In fact, why go that far? Angelo Mathews has been far better a bloke like Dinesh Chandimal; he doesn’t malign the spirit of the game by tampering the ball clearly only to deny it vehemently, finally finding himself later being dropped.
It would take one to be a peculiar kind of a prick to be unethical and then protest against that unethical action. Angelo Mathews, who’s looked up to guys like Sanga and Mahela and played a lot with Murali and Herath seems determined to carry forward the Sri Lankan legacy of playing gritty cricket, minus resorting to shenanigans.
Fundamentally, you come to regard a batsman who ends up scoring over 5000 in both formats of the game.
At 31, Angelo Mathews may not have appeared a bloke strutting an eight-pack checkered with bling or gold in posting shirtless selfies on his Insta. But he was very fit. In fact, according to none other than the national coach Mr Hathurusingha, he was told, ‘there was no need for a Yo-Yo Test’ recently.
The reason was -bold and clear- that he had played each of the 8 contests played against South Africa. And before Mathews ended up on the losing side in Sri Lanka’s shock Asia Cup exit with scores of 16 and 22 under his belt, his form with the bat didn’t seem that allude he was a national shame to Sri Lankan cricket.

Mathews vs South Africa

Here’s what Mathews managed from 2 Tests and 5 ODIs: 1 and 35, 10 and 71 in the five-dayers post which he’d score 79, 32, 22, and an unbeaten 97.
Had someone like a Rahane or Pujara managed such scores against England, they’d have been national icons. Had a Shai Hope or Roston Chase managed that against Bangladesh recently, they’d have been portrayed as current Calypso legends- isn’t it?
At 31, being at the peak of his experience and abilities- Angelo Mathews with 350 international caps- seemed determined to carry out his duties as a dependable captain.
Despite not being a superstar cricketer, the least of what Mathews may have wanted to bring in the side would’ve been vastly improved performances vis-a-vis seen against India, last year and what was evident in their Caribbean disaster.
Moreover, for a bowler, who, on a leap year would reach a speed of 132 or 134, Mathews overachieved as a bowler, scalping 147 international wickets. His medium pacers on moist English pitches might have troubled the way Chris Woakes’ or Pandya’s deliveries worked.
Now that Sri Lanka has asked Mathews to step aside, not before giving him the ignominy of tendering his own resignation- unwarranted that it may have been- will the selectors quiz the underperforming lot from Asia Cup?
Given that they’ve faced national humiliation in media being picked to pieces by Bangladesh and Afghanistan, surely the ‘befuddled’ national set-up of their cricket may want to ask which batsmen in the team scored hundreds or fifties in any game, let alone striking them consecutively.
Surely, if selectors are as sullen as the team- they’d like to identify any other experienced hand other than Upul Tharanga (6000 plus ODI runs)- who might offer the comfort of playing over 200 ODIs and 70 plus Tests.
Are they willing to? Do they have any answers? For starters, Angelo Mathews would like to know.


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