Champions Trophy 2017 May 31, 2017

Mathews unlikely for Sri Lanka's tournament opener


Angelo Mathews has been kept out often of late due to leg injuries © AFP

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews is likely to miss his team's Champions Trophy opener against South Africa on Saturday due to a calf injury. Vice-captain Upul Tharanga is the likeliest candidate to lead the team in Mathews' stead.

Mathews has not played internationals since January because of a hamstring complaint, and had also missed a tri-series in Zimbabwe late last year because of "multiple injuries" in his legs.

"Mathews had complained of stiffness and pain, prompting the team management to conduct radiographic investigations, which revealed a strain on the muscle," an SLC release said. "He will engage in supervised recovery over the next few days but will most likely sit out the first group stage match."

Mathews' absence would be a substantial blow to Sri Lanka, who rely on him to bring balance to the XI - he often delivers 10 overs in ODIs in addition to batting at No. 5. Mathews had also appeared to be in good batting form, having struck 95 off 106 deliveries against Australia in Sri Lanka's first warm-up encounter. He didn't play the second practice match against New Zealand.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RohanMarkJay on June 5, 2017, 1:21 GMT

    I was hoping Sri Lanka would play in the same spirit they did against Australia in late 2016 and early 2017. Matches played in Sri Lanka and Australia. If Sri Lanka can beat Australia in Australia. They they certainly could have challenged a bit better against SA. This is the problem us Sri Lankan fans have with the team. One moment SL is brilliant and can thrash SA. Next moment can lose badly to SA in England. I know SL struggles in English conditions. But these days in England the weather is quite good. That is Sunny and non-overcast condtions even warmmer than it usually is. The type of weather conditions SL likes and prosper in. Generally SL plays better in these conditions. If there is a another match I'm hoping SL plays better next time. Remember the way the played against Australia in Australia earlier in the year. Sri Lanka can beat anyone when they play like that, even though conditions in England are a lot different to Sri Lanka or Australia.

  • Zoro_1 on June 3, 2017, 7:07 GMT

    Its time he retired. He always pulls out whenever defeat is more likely than victory.

  • Murali_the_greatest on June 2, 2017, 17:00 GMT

    Even AB De Villiers struggled vs Sandakan in ODIs in SA, so he is our wildcard. There is no harm in playing both Sandakan and Prassana on flat/spinning Oval Pitch. My bowling line up for this game: Malinga, Kulasekara, Prassana, Sandakan. Then T Perera, Gunaratna, K Mendis to bowl rest of overs. Ideally you do not want T Perera to bat at 7 but can't be helped with Mathews injury. Thissara needs to step up, he is good enough to be a genuine allrounder in ODIs, needs to rediscover best form.

  •   cricfanMattegoda on June 2, 2017, 15:27 GMT

    We should play with 4 genuine bowlers and six batsmen + Thisara or Seekku. If Chandimal scores more than 60 runs tomorrow we will definitely loose the match.

  • DreamCricketer on June 2, 2017, 15:14 GMT

    Hes's always injured!! This is becoming a Joke about our fitness! They should not send unfit players or include them in the team.

  • cricfan1244731839 on June 2, 2017, 12:53 GMT

    Our bowlers should get the right thinking & confidence. Just now the Australian fast bowlers are hit at 7 runs per over 132/2 in 18 overs. Our bowlers & the whole team drop their shoulders & get resigned when this happens to them. Gurusinghe & coach have to raise their talking to the players.

  • Prem2248 on June 2, 2017, 12:16 GMT

    Dilruwan & Herath [ whose ODI ave at the time was above 40, who was an average player,became good with time as in the case of many] in a T20I against AUS Aug2011. Country doesn't need to hang on to these stiff bodies and carrying on with same players, too long in ruining careers of many a star class player, after all ours is a country of spin bowlers. MalindaP 1st Class Bo Ave of 19 with 558 1st Cla wkts is a too good player to keep out in continuing with aging Herath.

  • Prem2248 on June 2, 2017, 12:08 GMT

    before bringing them for national duties. The selectors should have learnt the criteria of which basis players are being picked for national duty in Countries like India, ENG, AUS SA, NZ. cos the Country badly needs OS shoollboys such as Mathews C'mal,D'wella or MendisK, these present selections are quite similar to the introduction of T'manne into the Team, omiting RoshenS &AngeloP by a selector from Panadura, who shouln't have been given a such an important position as a selector, that ruined careers of many a stars by bringing players in dozens from his home town, into the Team. The funniest part of them all was the using of Dilruwan Perera as an Opening bat in 2007 Oct 2007, a time when Mathews,Paranawithana,KhausalS,Khandamby, Lanka de Silva, Indika de Serahm; were so OS at Domestic Cricket and Chandimal,AngeloP and RoshenS were in brilliant form in school scene, and again the dropping of AjanthaMendis [ a time when he was the No one ranked T20I bowler ] to accommodate 2bCNTD

  • Prem2248 on June 2, 2017, 12:05 GMT

    It is not that easy to replace a quality batter of Mathews' Class [ Test, ODI & 1st CL Avs in 46, 40 & 50 resectively ] even Sanga or M'ela haven't had such fine averages when 2 were in their late 20s,the selectors should have been more intelligent enough to consider batters of same quality and proven skills such as: Batters; Sadeera,Weerakkody,Milantha,MBhanuka,Asalanka All-rounders; Hassaranga, Maduka Liyanapathiranage,Senanayake Pure spin bowlers; MalindaP, Aponso [to support Sandakan]; Binura would have been ideal for these bouncy swinging tracks in ENG. Bowlers do hunt in pairs a thing which present selectors seem to have unheard of. Gunathilake & Kapu, the 1st choice of present selectors brought into the side without any clear record and with very poor 1st Cl Ba Ave [in early 30s] after 68 & 113 1st CL innings respectively aren't the right choice to fill in SL team purely as batters. The 1st Cl Av or the complete school careers or both should be given more value, 2 b CNTD

  • SL_Fan_5 on June 2, 2017, 10:51 GMT

    I worry that less than 6 bowlers will have us chasing 400. 100 strike rate is a thing of the past, Chandimal needs to step it up or that is unfortunately the replacement for another bowler.

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