Mathews unafraid of being stripped of captaincy

“I am not afraid to lose it”

Image courtesy of: Zimbio

Angelo Mathews has made it clear that he is not frightened by the prospect of losing the captaincy following the team’s disastrous performance in the recent Test series against South Africa.

Sri Lanka were whitewashed 3-0 in the Test series, but Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) insisted that they still had faith in Mathews and confirmed that he would continue leading the national team until the 2019 World Cup.

But, should the board change their tune at any point, Mathews has no problem with relinquishing the captaincy.

“I haven’t thought about it,” Mathews, who recently returned home from South Africa after sustaining an ankle injury, told the Daily Mirror. “I will not run away from pressures. Anyone can say anything. If I feel this is the time or if the selectors say, I’m open to it. Whatever others say, I’m not bothered.

“It’s not in my control. If the selectors or Sri Lanka Cricket think they need a change and believe someone else is ready to do the captaincy, it’s not at all a problem for me. As long as I enjoy the game, I will keep playing. I just want to try and perform well as a team and I will always help whoever is captain in the future as well.”

Mathews also returned back to Sri Lanka due to the fact that his wife Heshani is expected to give birth to their first child soon.

Despite coming under heavy criticism for the national team’s lacklustre performance in the Test series against the Proteas, Mathews insisted that he had done everything to the best of his abilities.

He also pointed out that the Sri Lanka team are still in the midst of a transitional phase following the retirements of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.

“I know I am answerable but, as captain, I have done the best possible,” Mathews said. “I worked closely with the coach [Graham Ford]. I always discussed with the selectors when it came to the team. It has been a collective effort. But if someone wants to put the blame on me, so be it.

“Players like Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva have not played much Test cricket, forget about playing outside Sri Lanka. So, we need to give them opportunities. Let everyone blame me, it’s fine. I can take it but let’s not blame the other players. They need support and encouragement and not to be put down.”

Going forward, the 29-year-old pointed out that his aim will remain the same, to win as many matches as possible. But, he once again reiterated that if he is made to give up the captaincy, he won’t put up a fight.

“I’m not here to be captain forever and I will never be captain forever,” he said. “This is just a passing cloud. I am not afraid to lose it and I don’t need it forever. I’m not afraid to step down or lose it or to keep it. I can play under any captain no matter who he is. As long as I perform, I have a lot more to give to the team and the country.”

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