A day after, when he was unceremoniously sacked as Sri Lanka captain in the aftermath of the disastrous Asia Cup campaign, Angelo Matthews has been dropped from Sri Lanka’s ODI squad for the series against England over fitness issues. However, the Sri Lankan captain has responded almost immediately. demanding the selectors allow him to undergo a fitness test.
Though the squad hasn’t been released yet, it has been named and sent to the Sports Minister for his mandatory approval giving Mathews a small ray of hope to make his way back into the set-up.
It is understood that concerns’ over Mathews fitness were at the heart of the all-rounder’s exclusion from the side and was the chief talking point between him, coach Chandika Hathurusingha, and the selectors- the same meeting where Mathews was asked to relinquish the leadership duties from limited-overs cricket.
Mathews has had recurring injuries in his legs in the past 24 months but it is his match fitness that has come under scrutiny after he was involved in two run-outs during the Asia Cup.
Though he has stopped bowling, Mathews remains one of the bedrock of Sri Lanka’s batting in the past 24 months. Since the start of 2017, Mathews has notched up 888 runs at an average of 59.20, albeit at a modest strike-rate of 76.35. He was also the highest run-getter in Sri Lanka’s recent bilateral ODI series against the Proteas, having scored 235 runs at an average of 78.33.
“It was immediately felt that I have been made the scapegoat in this entire saga of Sri Lanka’s dismal performances against Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the Asia Cup. I’m willing to take part of the blame but at the same time, feel betrayed and let down if the blame is solely put on me”- Mathews in a letter to SLC CEO.
Mathews has already voiced his concerns over the selectors’ decision to remove him from the captaincy by sending a letter to SLC CEO Ashley de Silva where he resented being made the “scapegoat” for Sri Lanka’s woeful exit from the Asia Cup.