Sri Lanka news July 11, 2017

Mathews steps down as Sri Lanka captain

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Quick Facts - Mathews as captain

Angelo Mathews has stepped down as Sri Lanka captain in all three formats, following his side's 3-2 ODI series loss to Zimbabwe. Mathews, who called the defeat "one of the lowest points" of his career and said in its aftermath that he would discuss his captaincy future with the SLC selectors, conveyed his decision to the selectors on Tuesday.

Mathews has led Sri Lanka in 34 Tests, 98 ODIs and 12 T20Is, having taken the reins at the age of 25, in 2013. Though Sri Lanka have been modest in limited-overs cricket through the latter half of his tenure, they have, on his watch, tasted rare success in the Test format. In 2014, Mathews had personally played a pivotal role in the Test series triumph in England. Last year, Sri Lanka had also whitewashed Australia - a side they had won only one Test against previously.

There have also been significant lows under Mathews, however. Sri Lanka's campaigns in the 2015 World Cup, the 2016 World T20 and the 2017 Champions Trophy were disappointing, and even in the Test format, they suffered two 0-2 whitewashes in New Zealand, and a 0-3 result in South Africa. All told, Mathews has 13 Test victories to his name as captain, against 15 losses. On the batting front, Mathews had an outstanding 2014, in which he scored 1,317 runs at an average of 87.8, but his form had since fallen away, though his average as captain still remains 50.94. With the ball, he was only sporadically effective in Tests, but much more valuable a limited-overs bowler.

The last year of Mathews' captaincy was characterised by injury, however. He missed two Tests and an ODI tri-series in Zimbabwe as a result of multiple leg injuries, was absent for a five-match ODI series against South Africa thanks to a torn hamstring, missed Bangladesh's tour of the island, and was most recently unavailable for Sri Lanka's Champions Trophy fixture against South Africa - though it is possible he was prevented from playing that game by the board. The injuries have usually come when Mathews has had a high bowling workload, which he has attempted to carefully manage during his captaincy.

The announcement that he would resign from the captaincy was not unexpected. The paucity of Sri Lanka's returns in 2017 had placed substantial pressure on Mathews, and applied fresh scrutiny on his on-field strategising and decision-making, which has largely been seen to be Mathews' weakest suit as captain. The series loss against Zimbabwe has been particularly chastening to the Sri Lanka team - they had never lost a match to Zimbabwe at home before, let alone a series.

Sri Lanka are due to name a successor to Mathews - in the Test format at least - early on Wednesday. Upul Tharanga, who has led the ODI team when Mathews has been injured, and Dinesh Chandimal, who has served as Mathews' deputy and led the T20 team in the past, are prime candidates. Rangana Herath, who captained the most-recent Sri Lanka Test, may be an option as well.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • naresh on July 13, 2017, 13:47 GMT

    Just put Sanga and Mahela in charge - everything will be ok after that.

  • vikum16255218 on July 13, 2017, 6:57 GMT

    Sri Lanka need to improve their fitness and fielding!

  • Cricinfouser on July 13, 2017, 6:18 GMT

    People morning about Angelo left. It should happen 2 years before. He is not performing by bat or ball and hide under captain jacket. By far the worse and most negative captain sri lankan cricket had. Or even in the world. Never seen such negative captain who is waiting for opposition to do a mistake. He should step down from T20 also

  •   cricfan58947631 on July 12, 2017, 18:03 GMT

    this is nothing but a drama, captaincy isn't the problem of srilankan team, its our bowlers, changing the captaincy will not resolve anything if we couldn't build up descent bowling line up for the Indian series, we are going get hammered for sure, even if we lead by the world best captain

  • Khurram S Chaudhry on July 12, 2017, 15:38 GMT

    Sad day for cricket fans. I think he has been good. And was a decent gentleman. Recent failures were as a team not his faults alone. If SL wants to change captain to change the fortunes then need to drop non performing players. Dont just change captain. Good luck. Hope to see SL rise again.

  •   Deeptha Perera on July 12, 2017, 14:49 GMT

    Anjelo Matthews has been made the scapegoat. If one thinks that a change of captain is going to be the panacea for the ills of Sri Lankan cricket they are day dreaming. The Selectors and administrators must take much of the blame as the captain. It is funny that Chandimal who was not good enough to be in the playing 11 in the ODI's is made the Captain of the tests. The Indian series will be a disaster. We have to be consistent with our selections, especially of the bowlers. Fitness levels have to be improved. It has to be at the same level as that were when Kountoris was the physio. This team reminds me of the teams of 1980's when Sri Lankans were still amateur cricketers playing at international level. All the best to the new captains and hope they can turn around the fortunes. But I have my doubts.

  • David on July 12, 2017, 14:40 GMT

    @CRICINFOUSER Could you enlighten us with the great services that Mathews has rendered to SL (as the captain) other than dragging down to the rock bottom in SL cricket history in all 3 formats?

  • Anura on July 12, 2017, 11:50 GMT

    Instead of trying to improve fielding, SLC fired the captain. This is hilarious. The team is not going to do any better without holding on to those catches. The root of SL team's problem is the fielding.

  • bkdhan4863330 on July 12, 2017, 11:04 GMT

    Chandimal already loosing his place in the team but some are thinking that he should be the next captain.

  •   Haroon Arshad Dar on July 12, 2017, 8:34 GMT

    To be honest, Jayawardane and Sangakkara are more responsible for this poor performance than anyone. They should have stayed for another year or two

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