Angelo Mathews March 27, 2010

'I want to be like Garry Sobers'

Interview by N Hunter
The Sri Lankan allrounder talks about jockstraps, nicknames and meeting Priyanka Chopra clad only in a towel

What was your nickname in college?
Jocka, from jock, or underwear. I really didn't know why they called me that. But I was not offended because I knew it was a joke.

What are your nicknames in the Kolkata and Sri Lanka dressing rooms?
"Angie" at KKR. And "Superman" in Sri Lanka, because I wear my jocks over my tights.

Why do you that?
My legs are a bit bulky and I get scratches, so I wear the jocks over the tights.

We hear you were the teachers' pet in college and everyone liked you?
Most of the teachers liked me because I was humble, even though I was naughty.

What Indian movie stars have you met during your time at KKR?
I met Priyanka Chopra one time. We were in our towels, coming out of the pool. She was with Shah Rukh Khan and we didn't recognise her immediately. I only looked at her when one of the players said it was Priyanka. We were happy to see her. It was embarrassing being in the towel, but she was very nice.

What about Shah Rukh?
He speaks a lot with us. Every time, before or after a game, he tells us the result doesn't matter. He spends a lot of time with us, which is very encouraging.

If Sri Lanka made it to the World Cup final and you were in the side, what would you write on the whiteboard in the dressing room before the game?
"We will win it."

Do you know how the Kolkata team song goes?
Gorbo, lorbo, jeetbo. [Nearly correct: it is Korbo, lorbo, jitbo.] It was the first thing my manager told me after I got the KKR deal.

Is there a game from history where you wanted to be the player who turned the match on its head?
Sachin [Tendullkar] scoring 200. Scoring a double in an ODI is very special and only one man has done it so far, so it is great.

Speaking about landmarks, you missed out on your maiden Test century when you were run out on 99.
Yes. I felt so bad. Getting the first Test hundred is very important to a cricketer. It was a very disappointing, very emotional moment for me.

Did you cry on returning to the dressing room?
Quite a bit, but I recovered quickly. My senior team-mates, like Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, told me they had been through similar situations and that there will be many more opportunities in the future to come back and get hundreds. Those were kind words.

Who is your favourite athlete outside cricket?
Roger Federer. He has been through a lot, losing so many times earlier in his career. But he came back without giving up on his game.

Tell us something we don't know about you?
I can cook a little. Pasta and the Sri Lankan dish pol sambol.

What's the one thing tourists should never do in Sri Lanka?
Don't feed monkeys, because they will keep coming back and become a pain.

What's a curse word you can use in Sri Lanka that people will not be offended by?
Pissu. It means crazy.

Name an allrounder you would like to emulate.
Sir Garfield Sobers. If I can be like him even a little, it will be wonderful.

Did you know he was the first Sri Lankan coach?
I didn't know that.

How come you don't have tattoos, earrings or gold necklaces?
I just want to be me. For me, colouring hair, wearing tattoos, piercing does nothing. I just want to be my natural self.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Agnel on March 30, 2010, 21:34 GMT

    its sad to say that srilanka never had an allrounder as Athula Mallikarachi said. even though some all rounders are predominantly batsmen like Jayasurya or Ranatunga, or some were bowlers like Chaminda Vaas, srilanka was always with gifted natural players. I am saying this not as a srilankan but a person closely watched srilanka play since the time they defeated India in 1979 world cup and then under Bandula Warnapura they tormented England and India in their first test matches (though they didnt win). Angelo fits the bill completely as a humble cricketer who can go miles in todays variety cricket - if you fail in tests, you have ODI and then if you fail in 50 overs, you have 20!!

  • Charindra on March 28, 2010, 12:30 GMT

    I like this guy. He has the confidence of an Australian, which is rare for young Sri Lankan cricketers. He's going places, that's for sure. I just hope he stays humble.

  • Jayan on March 28, 2010, 10:24 GMT

    Angei or "Jocka" , what we used to call him at school was a great athlete. I think he was the best 110m hurdler our college (St. Joseph's College, Colombo) had produced for sometime. And undoubtedly he had the best technique in hurdling....... I wish you all the very best machan.

  • saif on March 28, 2010, 9:02 GMT

    I think in honest terms, his bowling is too slow for him to reach up to the levels of the great allrounders. Kallis is now a batting alrounder but he can still bowl at around 135 kmph. None of the great alrounders bowled at speeds less than 130kmph, so i doubt he is going to be able to run through opposition line ups with his bowling. His batting is very promising though.

  • Vinod on March 28, 2010, 8:28 GMT

    Angelo Mathews: A very pleasant and entertaining cricketer. Anyone will take a second look on him. We all wish him a fantastic future, full of enthu and talent. Cant forget that 'superman catch' he took on the boundary line.

  • chandana on March 28, 2010, 6:51 GMT

    Ok people ... singing prize is fine but the guy is still raw. He needs to work on his bowling a lot to be compared to Kapil , Kallis , Botham, et al. He needs to work on his batting to be more orthodox rather than a big basher. He is a genuine athlete and is a fine safe fielder. What Sri Lanka cricket needs to be careful is not to overburden the guy like many before him (Nuwan Zoyza, Suresh Perera, Mahroof) and break him down. I believe he has already suffered stress fractures while playing for school. He has time to ripen into a good genuine allrounder over time but haste may cut short one aspect (bowling) like Freddie Flintoff or Jacob Oram. As for VILANDER , we must excuse fools for their is no law to hang them. As for PROTEASRULZ , r u from a different planet mate? 'cos last time i watched cricket proteas were struggling to beat ENGLAND :) lol cheers from Sri Lanka

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2010, 6:11 GMT

    I dnt thnk Angelo needs 2 b lik Gary Sobers!i thnk he hs set da goal hmslf!ND NW I MYSLF FEEL tht i wanna b lik angelay!!!!!!!ds playr is tooo gud!my mum's a great fan f hm!js hop he cms up d ordr nd da ball wastrs betta stop wastn delvries!ganguly shud undrstnd tht young legs cn tak responsibilities nd thy shud b givn opprtunities!gANGUly needs to go dwn d order 4 god's sake if he wnts KKR 2 win!Hat's off 2 u angelay!m a srilankan Stdn in an indn skul nd it feels gr8 whn ppl lik angelay save me 4rm humiliatn!KKR rocks!God bless u KKR nd SriLanka!!!!Hop u tak it 4rm Sanga ayya next!Hav a gr8 tim!

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2010, 5:01 GMT

    my favryt plyer.....he z talented hrd wrking ...he wil surely b de nxt xaptin

  • Asanka on March 28, 2010, 4:37 GMT

    Mathews has performed well in all forms of the game. It's sad to see people making serious comments without doing any home work. He took important wickets against Pakistan, made runs. Did the same agains India, almost reached his maiden ton. So the next time u make a comment PROTEASRULZ please know what ur yapping about!

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2010, 4:31 GMT

    another non offensive curse word from me=> 'charter ne'- means 'dont be a bother'

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