Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Angelo Mathews will no longer captain Sri Lanka in all three formats after he stepped down from the leadership role.
Mathews informed the national selectors about his decision on Tuesday, which was just a day after his side were beaten 3-2 by Zimbabwe in a five-match ODI series.
Mathews admitted that losing the series was “one of the lowest points” of his career, and after the fourth ODI on Saturday, he conceded that he had doubts about captaining Sri Lanka at the 2019 World Cup.
The 30-year-old was made captain in 2013 and went on to lead Sri Lanka in 34 Tests, 98 ODIs and 12 Twenty20 Internationals.
“I am leaving with a heavy heart,” Mathews told Cricbuzz. “But no regrets. I have had an outstanding four years as captain. I have been accused of various things by people, but I am telling you that I have always been honest and given 100 percent. I believe in karma.”
Mathews revealed that he wanted to give up the captaincy a year ago, but opted not to since there were no obvious successors.
However, it seems that Mathews reached his breaking point following the series loss to Zimbabwe.
“I had got great support no doubt. But I think the time is right to go,” he said. “Let some fresh thinking come in. I wanted to step down a year ago as well. But at that point there was no one to take over. Now I feel that there are candidates who can take over the captaincy and who are ready for the job. No point in just hanging around in the job. Not my style anyway.
“After the loss I had a deep think about it. No doubt it was a bitter pill to swallow as we didn’t expect it. I was very very disappointed because I set myself and the team high standards. My personal opinion was that we needed a change. I felt that I needed to leave enough time for my successor to gel with the team on his way to the 2019 World Cup.
“That was the only thing in my mind. If I leave a year from now, it won’t be nice. This is the right time for change. Whoever is going to lead the side, I will give my fullest support.”
During Mathews’ tenure as captain, Sri Lanka secured their first-ever Test series win in England in 2014 and also whitewashed Australia 3-0 in a Test series last year.
“To win a series in England and to become the first captain to do so was fantastic,” Mathews said. “We won the Asia Cup as well just prior to that. Whitewashing Australia was equally special as we had only won one game against them previously.
“I would like to thank Jesus for being with me during good and bad times and for blessing me abundantly. I would like to thank my family, my parents and my siblings. Past and present administrators, past and present selectors, my team. I have a long list. I would like to thank the public as well and the media.”