x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Sri Lanka cricket team led by Angelo Mathews has right balance

The all-rounder will have enough experience to draw from while captaining a relatively young side.

Angelo Mathews will lead Sri Lanka in Tests and one-day internationals. Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo
Angelo Mathews will lead Sri Lanka in Tests and one-day internationals. Aijaz Rahi / AP Photo

The appointment of Angelo Mathews as the Sri Lanka captain was never in question.

The 25-year-old all-rounder will lead the country in Tests and one-day internationals while playing under another promising youngster, Dinesh Chandimal, 23, in Twenty20s.

Mathews could not have wished for a better time, place or opponent to lead Sri Lanka against than Bangladesh at home.

He has his sights set on ending the team's slide in the ICC rankings. Sri Lanka have been the top-ranked T20 side since their run to the World Twenty20 final in September, but slipped down the Test and ODI tables after having been second in both in 2009.

They are sixth in Test rankings and fifth in ODIs.

They have not won a Test series away from home since 2008, and have only triumphed in four Tests since Muttiah Muralitharan, the bowling great, retired in 2010.

"My main ambition now is to see Sri Lanka in the top three in the next few years but it can only be achieved as a collective effort and with a blend of youth and experienced players," Mathews said.

He added the presence of older heads was essential to help the youngsters. "I remember when I first made my debut the seniors such as Mahela, Sangakkara, Murali, Dilshan, Vaas and Jayasuriya were there to support me," he said.

Mathews will still have Jayawardene, Sangakkara and Dilshan – all past captains – to assist him.

So the blend of youth and experience is definitely a step forward for Sri Lanka.

 

apassela@thenational.ae