Evergreen Angelo Mathews

In the landscape of Sri Lankan cricket, few players stand out as prominently as Angelo Mathews. A stalwart of the game, he has been a cornerstone of Sri Lanka’s cricketing fortunes for over a decade, and places an indelible mark on the sport – both as a player and leader.

Mathews’ debut in 2008 was when he introduced himself to the cricketing world with his elegant batting and deceptive seam bowling. It wasn’t long before Mathews established himself as a mainstay in the Sri Lankan lineup, earning a reputation as a dependable middle order batsman and handy bowler, in both the limited overs and Test formats.

However, it was Mathews’ leadership qualities that truly set him apart on the cricket field. In 2013, he was appointed captain and entrusted with the task of guiding his country’s fortunes in the aftermath of several high profile retirements.

Under his stewardship, Sri Lanka enjoyed a period of relative stability and success, and reached the final of the ICC World Twenty20 in 2012 and ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011.

Mathews led by example, and exhibited a calm and composed demeanour even under the most challenging circumstances. His tactical acumen and ability to inspire those around him endeared him to fans and teammates alike.

One of the defining moments of Mathews’ career came during Sri Lanka’s tour of England in 2014.

In the second Test at Headingley, he played a captain’s innings for the ages and scored a magnificent 160 not out, which helped steer Sri Lanka to a historic victory. Mathews’ control under pressure showcased his mental fortitude and cemented his status as one of the game’s premier all-rounders.

In the midst of his triumphant return to T20I cricket after a nearly three year hiatus, Mathews’ criticism of the decision-making process of the previous selectors reverberates as a testament to his perseverance and dedication to the game.

“I batted and bowled well in the last two Lanka Premier League (LPL) seasons but unfortunately, I wasn’t selected for the T20 World Cups – and I wasn’t told why. If you take decisions that are driven by agendas, these kinds of things can happen – we haven’t even qualified for the Champions Trophy,” he notes.

Under the new selection committee led by Upul Tharanga, Mathews has found clearer com­munication and transparency regarding his role in the team. “The communication between the new selectors and myself is quite clear. They asked me what my plans were for the future and told me about their plans as well. We had a very good discussion. They said that I’m in their plans for the T20 World Cup, and asked if I could bowl a few overs. I replied that I’d like to help the team in any way I can,” Mathews adds.

As he enters the twilight of his illustrious career, Angelo Mathews’ legacy looms large over Sri Lankan cricket. He remains a source of inspiration for aspiring cricketers and a symbol of pride for cricket fans across the island.

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