Angelo Mathews steps down as Sri Lanka skipper after Zimbabwe series loss

Angelo Mathews has stepped down as Sri Lanka skipper in all three formats after suffering a 2-3 series loss to Zimbabwe and there are reports that Dinesh Chandimal or Upul Tharanga could lead the side.

cricket Updated: Jul 11, 2017 23:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Angelo Mathews,Sri Lanka national cricket team,Zimbabwe national cricket team
Angelo Mathews has stepped down as skipper of the Sri Lanka cricket team across all formats after they lost a bilateral series to Zimbabwe for the first time.(AFP)

Angelo Mathews has stepped down as Sri Lanka skipper across all three formats after his team lost the ODI series against Zimbabwe 2-3. This was Sri Lanka’s first-ever loss to Zimbabwe in a bilateral series and it continued their torrid run in 2017.

Following Sri Lanka’s three-wicket loss to Zimbabwe in the final ODI at Hambantota which led to their series loss, Mathews had said that he was reconsidering his decision to be captain of Sri Lanka. “It’s one of the lowest points in my career, and a hard one to swallow. Everything went against us, from the toss to misreading the wicket. But there are no excuses. At the end of the day we were not good enough to beat them. They played better cricket,” Mathews said.

With his departure, Sri Lanka have little time to look for a captain. The team plays a one-off Test against Zimbabwe on July 14 while India tour the country for three Tests, five ODIs and a Twenty20I starting on July 26. According to reports, the likes of Dinesh Chandimal or Upul Tharanga could lead the side. Tharanga has achieved success while leading the side in the recent past. In 2016, Tharanga was at the helm when he led Sri Lanka to victory in the tri-series in Zimbabwe which also included the west Indies.

Sri Lanka have endured a torrid time in 2017. They were eliminated in the first round of the ICC Champions Trophy while they were whitewashed 5-0 against South Africa. With this series loss to Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka are now under pressure for automatic qualification to the ICC World Cup in 2019 in England. Sri Lanka, who are in eighth spot, have lost points and this will give West Indies, who are currently in ninth spot, some relief. The top eight teams will directly qualify for the World Cup.

Mathews took over in 2013 when Mahela Jayawardene handed over the reigns. He has had some high points in his tenure as captain. He helped Sri Lanka to victory in all three formats during the 2014 tour of England. He achieved a 3-0 whitewash over Australia in Tests while he played a pivotal role in Sri Lanka securing a win over India in the ICC Champions Trophy match at The Oval. However, with the Sri Lankan team in a transition phase with the retirement of some legends, the task of rebuilding has gotten harder with the departure of Mathews as skipper.

First Published: Jul 11, 2017 23:16 IST