‘Batted & Bowled Well In Last 2 LPL Seasons’: Angelo Mathews Slams Former SLC Selection Committee

‘Batted & Bowled Well In Last 2 LPL Seasons’: Angelo Mathews Slams Former SLC Selection Committee

After playing as a red-ball specialist since 2021, Matthews made his return to ODIs just last year ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup and this year in T20Is ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup in the West Indies/USA scheduled from June 1 onwards.

ANIUpdated: Monday, January 15, 2024, 04:17 PM IST
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Angelo Mathews | Credits: Twitter

Following a triumphant return to T20Is, Sri Lankan all-rounder Angelo Matthews took a potshot at the previous set of selectors, headed by Pramodya Wickramasinghe, for taking "agenda-driven" decisions that pushed him out of the white-ball cricket set-up.

An all-round performance by a returning Angelo Matthews helped Sri Lanka snatch a three-wicket win from the jaws of defeat against Zimbabwe in the first T20I of the three-match series in Colombo on Sunday night.

The 36-year-old not only scored an unbeaten 46* to guide Lanka out of troubled waters during their 144-run chase, lifting them from 83/6, but also took the new ball and gave away 13 runs in two overs.

After playing as a red-ball specialist since 2021, Matthews made his return to ODIs just last year ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup and this year in T20Is ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup in the West Indies/USA scheduled from June 1 onwards.

Fans can expect to see Matthews play more frequently in T20I cricket and bowl as well. Matthews, while attacking the old selectors, also said that he is in T20I plans of a newly set-up selection panel, headed by the former batter and teammate Upul Tharanga.

Angelo Mathews slams for former SLC selection committee

"In the last two Lanka Premier League (LPL) seasons, I batted and bowled well, but unfortunately, I wasn't selected for the T20 World Cups, and I was not given reasons for that. If you take decisions that are driven by agendas, these kinds of things can happen--we have not even qualified for the Champions Trophy," said Matthews, as quoted by ESPNCricinfo.

"But one thing I believe is that if you train and play wholeheartedly, you can create an environment for yourself where you can perform. I kept my efforts up over the last couple of years. I think I can play for a little while longer," he added.

Matthews' bowling has been a point of debate over the year. When the all-rounder was a part of Sri Lanka's best white-ball sides from 2007-14, he frequently bowled during the powerplays, especially in T20Is. But a number of injuries over the years put his progress as a bowler to a halt. He often had to play as a specialist batter.

Angelo Mathews on current SLC Selectors led by Upul Tharanga

More recently, Matthews has been delivering some quiet and economical overs with the ball, a role that he is enjoying.

The veteran said that he has had great discussions with the selection panel about the T20 World Cup and they are keen to have him travel to West Indies and the USA and bowl some overs besides his batting.

"The communication with me and the new selectors is quite clear. They asked me what my plans were for the future and [told me] their plans as well. We had a very good discussion. They said that I was in their plans for the T20 World Cup, and if I could bowl a few overs. I said, 'Absolutely, if I can help the team in any way," said Matthews.

"I have been bowling in the LPL as well, and you saw me bowling in the [domestic] one-dayers as well recently. If I can bowl a few overs, that helps the balance of the team, and the captain can decide whether he wants to play an extra batter or a bowler," he added.

Angelo Mathews' 55-run partnership with Dasun Shanaka

Talking about his match-winning 55-run partnership with Dasun Shanaka, Matthews said, "When we batted together, I talked to Dasun about how if one of us gets out, it will be really difficult. We thought it would be better if we batted until the 16th or 17th over and kept the required rate at an achievable level--around 10 runs an over. In the end, we had to go after their best bowlers as well. We took some calculated risks."

"Dasun played a good innings, and the person who played the most important innings was Dushmantha Chameera, who got six off the last two balls, or else everything else we did would have been meaningless," concluded Matthews.

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