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Injuries not because of my bowling - Mathews

Angelo Mathews has not played competitive cricket since August AFP

Angelo Mathews, who is returning from multiple injuries, hoped to "bowl quite a lot" and support Sri Lanka's frontline quicks in the three Tests against South Africa starting from December 26 in Port Elizabeth.

"I am 100 percent confident of my fitness," Mathews said. "I am hoping to bowl quite a lot in South Africa. If I can bowl a lot more, the way I did in the recent few years, I can offer a lot to my team. I've managed my workload especially in the subcontinent on slow wickets. My bowling is mostly suited when the ball is slightly swinging and seaming.

"In Asian conditions, I haven't bowled that much but if it is South Africa, Australia or England, where the ball is seaming and moving, I might have to bowl a bit more because getting wickets is also important for my team."

Earlier this June, Mathews had hobbled off the field with stiffness in his left hamstring after bowling six overs during Sri Lanka's tie with England in the first ODI in Trent Bridge. He went onto play the remaining four matches of the series, but bowled only five overs during those games.

Later in August, Mathews tore his calf while batting in the fourth ODI against Australia and missed the final one, along with the two T20Is that followed. He then pulled out of the Tests against Zimbabwe, and the one-day tri-series involving West Indies, in October and November.

Mathews insisted his injuries had nothing to do with his bowling and cited his heavy workload as a possible explanation. "If you look at my last four years I was actually told that I have played the most amount of cricket in the world," he said.

"Also if you look at my last four-five years I've been bowling quite a bit. It's just that this year I had a hamstring injury and a calf strain but apart from that I've managed to play all the games. Injuries can occur any time but I don't think it's because I bowl."

Mathews also said that niggles were inevitable for a seamer. "Injuries can occur from time to time. The fast bowlers or medium-pacers will always have niggles," he said.

"If you talk to the great Wasim Akram who recently had a workshop in Colombo, Chaminda Vaas or Champaka Ramanayake, our fast bowling coach, they will always say they had niggles. You can never wake up without one when you are playing. That is what all the fast bowlers have to put up with."