‘Bowlers might retire very soon, the way the rules are going’, says Angelo Mathews

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“Now as a bowler, you’ve got to think a step ahead of the batsman”

Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has become the latest player to criticise the newly enforced ODI rules, stating that “bowlers might retire very soon” since they are at a major disadvantage in comparison to batsmen.

Mathews was highly critical of the International Cricket Council (ICC) introducing two new balls during an ODI and even hinted that it could cause a decline in the number of spinners in the game since they struggle to get wickets and concede too many runs.

“The bowlers might retire very soon, the way the rules are going,” Mathews said. “With the fielders inside the circle, it’s very hard for the bowlers. I feel for them. With these rules, with the two new balls, it’s very hard for the spinners. You have to be a very good spinner to get away from the batsman. You can’t go in with half-bowlers.

“Now as a bowler, you’ve got to think a step ahead of the batsman. You have to anticipate what he’s going to do, but you can’t also pre-plan – you have to wait till the last moment for the batsman to do something and then react. You might go up to the mark and think you’re going to bowl a yorker, but you might have to change that in the end. Even in the delivery stride, you might have to adjust. So you have to bowl according to the batsman.”

Mathews noted that Sri Lanka have also been on the prowl for a permanent opening batsman as both Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera have been too inconsistent.

“We’ve been trying to get an opener for a while now,” he said. “e’ve opened with Mahela and Dilshan, we’ve opened with Kusal Perera and Upul Tharanga as well. It hasn’t worked for us, so the selectors thought they’d try out Dimuth Karunaratne as well, because he’s scored a lot of runs in the A team. Unfortunately he failed in the first two matches, so it might be a different combination tomorrow.”

Mathews also hinted that all-rounder Thisara Perera will be included in the squad for the third ODI against New Zealand tomorrow in Dambulla.

This would be Perera’s first appearance in the series after he was left out for the first two ODIs in Hambantota.

“Thisara is a match-winner and we need to find a way to bring him back to the team,” Mathews said. “In the South Africa series we rotated the seniors, but we will play our best available team tomorrow. Whether Thisara will come in in place of another bowler or another batsman – we’re not yet sure. We’ll have to take a call on our exact combination after having another look at the pitch.”

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