Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Angelo Mathews has been reappointed as Sri Lanka’s limited overs captain less than six months after he stepped down from the position.
Upul Tharanga succeeded Mathews as limited overs captain, but in the recent limited overs series against India, the selectors handed the leadership role to all-rounder Thisara Perera.
Mathews admitted that the decision to hire Chandika Hathurusingha as head coach played a large role in his decision to return as captain.
“When I stepped down I never thought of taking over the captaincy again,” Mathews was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “But as soon as we came back from India, the president had a discussion with me. Also Hathu aiya, and the selectors spoke to me and asked me to consider taking up the captaincy again. I took a few a few days to think about it, and because of a few reasons I decided to accept.
“I’ve also known Hathu aiya for a long time and I know how he operates. He’s not here just to survive. It’ll be very easy to work with him. When you have a coach like him that other countries are desperate to have, it’s a great thing. Cricket has given me a lot. If I turn my back in the hour of need I’ll not have done right by cricket.”
Despite Mathews having missed 20 of Sri Lanka’s 39 ODIs in the last 18 months due to a host of leg injuries, Hathurusingha feels the 30-year-old is the best candidate to lead Sri Lanka.
“My thought was that he’s the best person to lead the ODI team because he warrants a place on his own performance,” Hathurusingha said. “The only concern we had was his physical fitness and we have a plan in place to help him.”
Mathews’ first assignment will be the upcoming ODI tri-series in Bangladesh, which will also feature Zimbabwe and get underway on January 15.
Dinesh Chandimal, who retained the Test captaincy, returned to the ODI team along with wicketkeeper-batsman Kusal Mendis and all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga.
Uncapped pace bowler Shehan Madushanka has also been picked, even though he has only featured in three first-class matches and three List A games to date.
“He’s got pace and you can’t coach that,” Hathurusingha was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo. “When we go to the next World Cup, we’ll need about seven or eight fast bowlers who have played at least 15 ODIs each. We’ve chosen Madushanka as a player we might use in the long-term.”
Sri Lanka’s tri-series squad: Angelo Mathews (capt), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Shehan Madushanka, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Wanindu Hasaranga