Champions Trophy 2017 June 6, 2017

'I'm fully fit to play as a batsman' - Mathews

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Angelo Mathews warmed up for the Champions Trophy with a brisk 95 against the Australians, but then picked up calf trouble © Getty Images

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews will play the match against India on Thursday, having recovered sufficiently from his calf injury to bat. In the event he bowls at all, however, it is unlikely he will deliver his full complement of overs.

Though Mathews' batting is his foremost suit, he is also often one of Sri Lanka's main bowlers, even delivering new-ball spells on occasion.

"The injury is much better now," Mathews told ThePapare.com. "I could have probably played the last game, but there was a chance of risk, so the management and the selectors decided that I shouldn't play. But I'm fully fit now. I won't be bowling, but I'm fully fit to play as a batsman."

Mathews' return will be a substantial boost to Sri Lanka, who have had to play ODIs without him since August last year, thanks to a string of leg injuries. It will also help ease the loss of Upul Tharanga, who is now unavailable for the remainder of the group stages due to an over-rates suspension. The whole team was responsible for taking more than four hours to deliver their 50 overs on Saturday, Mathews said.

"It is a big loss, and there's no excuses. You need to try and support the captain on the field. Rather than him planning to bowl the 50 overs in that time, the others have to look after that and the captain has to get on with the game and make decisions in the middle."

If South Africa beat Pakistan in Birmingham on Wednesday, Sri Lanka's must defeat India to stay in the competition.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • TheRealMvp•_• on June 8, 2017, 5:17 GMT

    Were no7 right now and to drop 6 places would suggest that we were no1 three years ago which is simply not true. Again, this is not a jib against tharanga who will be missed today

  • CRICFAN564789 on June 8, 2017, 5:05 GMT

    @Udendra: Really ...? ha ha haa... surely missing the guy who plugged the 3 yrs old single-digit gaping hole left behind by 10-ball master KJP at top is a blessing.! (UT back as Opener after 3+ yrs in 2017: 9 odis - 365 runs @ 40.55 Av- 91 SR - 110 HS - 1x100/2x50.

    Hey Man i don't remember... in previous match Vs SA, who was the highest scorer of the side (full of crumbling batters & turtle speed scorers with SR in 60s batting for themselves)? Those guys couldn't score 96 runs collectively to pull off a game 2/3 already won by bowlers & openers.

    You are right... so definitely absence of Tharanga is a blessing in disguise for the side already slipped 6 places down in ICC rankings over 3 yrs in his absence & looking to hit the most prestigious bottom place in ICC rankings pretty soon ;D)

  • CRICFAN564789 on June 8, 2017, 4:56 GMT

    @Udendra: Really ...? ha ha haa... surely missing the guy who plugge the 3 yrs old single-digit gaping hole left behind by 10-ball master KJP at top is a blessing.! (UT back as Opener after 3+ yrs in 2017: 9 odis - 365 runs @ 40.55 Av- 91 SR - 110 HS - 1x100/2x50.

    Hey Man i don't remember... in previous match Vs SA, who was the highest scorer of the side (full of crumbling batters & turtle speed scorers with SR in 60s batting for themselves)? Those guys couldn't score 96 runs collectively to pull off a game 2/3 already won by bowlers & openers.

    You are right... so definitely absence of Tharanga is a blessing in disguise for the side already slipped 6 places down in ICC rankings over 3 yrs in his absence & looking to hit the most prestigious bottom place in ICC rankings pretty soon ;D)

  • Udendra on June 7, 2017, 13:43 GMT

    Actually Tharanga's absence might be a blessing in disguise, since he isn't a versatile player. But if Mathews cannot bowl it's a great loss.

  • Herath-UK on June 7, 2017, 13:42 GMT

    @ Cricinfouser, I think you are wrong, Pak should beat SA & then we beat Pak & then all three will have two points. This way we have a chance even if we lose to India provided India beat SA too.

  • Prem2248 on June 7, 2017, 13:20 GMT

    to another favorite of selectors' whose ODI Av at the time was in 40s. Incidentally we are heavily dependent on Indian Cricket & its media we have no grudge nor argument with Indian fans whatever angle they have looked at us cos we SLans have very high regard for India for many reasons. If not for the Indian media, our Game would have been almost dead by now, I should admit that Indian 24 h Cricket channels are a blessing in disguise [though cost here is very high in watching those.] cos our management has scant interest in holding competitive T'ments, 1st Class matches have become very scarce and the management comprising of business minded persons, try to run the business of Cricket in the Country with a small contingent of contracted Cricketers, in there also, they want to include their favorites, that is why our Cricket is in complete mess right now. Due to ignorance of these officials many a talented youngster is forced to give up playing the Game soon after leaving school.

  • Prem2248 on June 7, 2017, 13:19 GMT

    Mathews[1st Cl Ba Av around 50] batting has always been so precious he should concentrate only on his batting, With Sadeera DW, KM,C'mal Asalanka, we could easily make a strong batting unit, they should be joined by Hasaranga [Top class bat cum Googly bowler ]and OS spinner MalindaP[1st Cl Bo Av 19 with 558 1st Class wkts].Management should be told to stop favoritism at all cost if we want to do well in the future. Though this correspondent consider M'thews as a bowler his 1st Cl Bo Av 46+can't be a vital link in an ODI or a Test bowling attack. After all there was no need to dislodge the team combination & unity that has performed brilliantly against AUS to accommodate friends that has had a known history, shaky chancy batting. The Country has enough proven quality youngsters the class of C'mal, DW&MK who were being brilliant schoolboy Cricketers from the age of 15 to take their place. Ajantha Mendis's ODI Bo Av was21+ in2011 when he's displaced, to give Murali's position2bCNTD

  • Cricinfouser on June 7, 2017, 13:04 GMT

    SA needs to beat Pakistan today, then SA will have 4 and PAK will be at 0. SL needs to beat IND then both teams are tied at 2 points. SA must beat IND and SL must beat PAK for SA and SL to go through

  • Cricinfouser on June 7, 2017, 12:23 GMT

    Let's hope Pak wins against SA, then only we'll have a chance of staying alive in the tournament.

  • Prem2248 on June 7, 2017, 12:12 GMT

    wasn't required even though the opening pair was a complete flop. Ours was a well balanced Team, we beat India twice in that T'ment, Our 1975 WC Team is the best and the more balanced WC team out of all WC teams we have fielded so far, only thing we were lacking at the that time was the most required confidence to do well against big teams. Pls note that we nearly won 1st Test match as well against England, We are under performing at present is mostly due to bad management of the game of last 2 decades. Stats courtesy SLan Newspapers

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