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Angelo Mathews shouldn't have stepped down as skipper, says Arjuna Ranatunga

416   //    26 Aug 2017, 13:53 IST

Angelo Mathews Sri Lanka Cricket
Ranatunga felt that Mathews was made a scapegoat for the team's poor performances

What's the story?

Former Sri Lanka skipper Arjuna Ranatunga criticised the decision of Angelo Mathews to step down as skipper of the side in all formats of the game and felt the onus was on Sri Lanka Cricket to not allow such a situation to have occurred.

Mathews resigned from captaincy following the shock ODI series to minnows Zimbabwe at home earlier this year.

Ranatunga, though, is not impressed and felt that Sri Lankan cricket authorities should have supported Mathews rather than allowing him to be made the scapegoat for Sri Lanka's horrible run of form.

"Mathews is the best captain I have seen after Ranjan Madugalle. When he said that he wanted to quit, SLC should have told him to hang in there without throwing the towel in. If I had any say, I would have told him that this is not the time to quit," Ranatunga told Cricbuzz.

"When Sri Lanka whitewashed number one ranked Australia in the Test series last year, there were a lot of people to take credit, but sadly when he lost he was made the scapegoat and all the blame was on him.

"Mathews was a very positive captain, but due to constant changes and lots of chopping and changing he started becoming negative because he lost the confidence," Ranatunga added.

In case you didn't know...

Sri Lanka Cricket accepted the call by Mathews by appointing Dinesh Chandimal as the skipper of the Test side while Upul Tharanga was made captain in the limited-overs formats of the game. 

The results on the field have not improved one bit though as they were whitewashed 3-0 at home by India in the Test series while they trail 2-0 in the five-match ongoing ODI series between the two sides.

The heart of the matter

Following the 3-0 Test series whitewash against Australia, Sri Lanka's fortunes on the field have taken a downward trail as they lost both the ODI and T20 series that followed.


They were also whitewashed in both the Test and ODI formats during their tour of South Africa earlier this year. They did, however, triumph in the T20 format against both South Africa and Australia in their own backyard.

Consistently has been badly missing though as they were knocked out of the 2017 Champions Trophy in the group stages itself despite a surprising win over India.

Mathews had expressed self-doubt whether he would remain in charge until the 2019 World Cup following the exit and the ODI series loss against Zimbabwe in July served as the final nail in the coffin as Mathews stepped down as skipper.

Ranatunga, the 1996 World Cup winning captain, and considered one of the greatest captains the game has ever seen, offered his sympathy to Mathews and feels that he has received little help from the cricket administration in Sri Lanka.

Extra Cover: Disappointed Angelo Mathews opens up about quitting captaincy

What's next?

With Upul Tharanga banned for two ODI matches by the ICC due to slow over-rate, Sri Lanka has been forced to appoint Chamara Kapugedera as the skipper as the hosts look to save the series against India on Sunday when the 3rd ODI will be played at Pallekele.

The remaining two ODI's will be played at Colombo.

Author's take

It is no secret that Arjuna Ranatunga has issues with the present administration of Sri Lanka Cricket and he might have been taking a swipe at them with his remarks regarding Mathews' captaincy.

He did, however, make a valid point as Mathews got little support during his time as skipper. He still seems the best man for the job and seemed committed to the cause despite the troubles on the field.