Reports: Angelo Mathews set to return to limited-overs captaincy

Angelo Mathews
Angelo Mathews is gearing up to embark on his second reign as ODI skipper
Ram Kumar

What's the story?

According to various reports, Angelo Mathews is set to take over Sri Lanka's ODI and T20I captaincy from Thisara Perera. A board member, who is privy to the developments, has revealed that Mathews will soon be confirmed as the team's limited-overs skipper.

"Angelo (Mathews) agreed to take over the reins after head coach Chandika Hathurusingha convinced him. The selectors spoke to him on Monday after training and he will be announced as the new captain Tuesday morning", a senior board official was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.

The background

Between 2012 and 2017, Mathews had a middling reign as Sri Lanka's captain across all formats of the game. Following the team's shock 2-3 ODI series loss against Zimbabwe on home soil during July, he stepped down from captaincy in the three formats.

The heart of the matter

Since Mathews relinquished captaincy duties, Sri Lanka unveiled Dinesh Chandimal as Test skipper. Subsequently, the team's fortunes improved drastically in the longest format. While they lost series to India both home and away, a resurgent outfit ended Pakistan's 15-year undefeated reign in the UAE.

However, Sri Lanka have not been able to overturn their recent slump in both ODIs and T20Is. Opener Upul Tharanga succeeded Mathews as skipper and led the team to a slew of defeats. He was soon replaced by all-rounder Thisara Perera. But the side's struggles in the limited-overs formats continued unabated.

With Chandika Hathurusingha taking over as head coach, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) wanted the limited-overs teams to progress under a new direction. As a consequence, Perera was sacked from the white-ball captaincy.

Although Chandimal was also in contention for the leadership role in ODIs and T20Is, his inability to seal a place in the team in the two formats seems to have gone against him. Subsequently, the pathway has ostensibly been cleared for Mathews to return to limited-overs captaincy for his second stint.

What's next?

Sri Lanka's next assignment will be a full tour of Bangladesh comprising a ODI tri-series, two Tests and as many T20Is. Their campaign in the tri-nation series is scheduled to start on January 17 against Zimbabwe at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Dhaka.

Author's take

Considering the fact that he had stepped down from the captaincy only six months ago, the decision to reinstate Mathews at the helm of affairs does not appear to be a prudent move. Sri Lanka's paucity of feasible leadership options may have forced them to take such a decision.

Edited by Ram Kumar


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