Sri Lanka vs Australia 2016: Angelo Mathews ready for Australian challenge
Reacting to Australian speedster Mitchell Starc’s claims that he will be under extra pressure to perform after their recent debacle against England, Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews said that pressure was part and parcel in the life of any international cricketer and added that he will not be shying away from the challenge of bringing back the hosts to their glory days.
The island nation have struggled to find able replacements for their long-standing batting stalwarts Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara and have endured a drastic decline in fortunes in all formats of the game. The tour to England proved to be a disaster as the team not only suffered embarrassing losses but also ended up losing key players to injuries, especially the fast bowlers.
With the players failing to recover in time, the Sri Lankan selectors have been forced to name as many as five uncapped players in the squad for the first Test against Australia which begins at Kandy from Tuesday. The recent injury setback is certainly not going to help Mathews cause but the skipper admitted that the resurrection of Sri Lankan cricket was anyway going to be a long-term process.
"This rebuilding voyage is definitely long term," Mathews told the Sri Lanka Cricket website. “It would be a progressive phasing of getting the right combinations in place. You have two options. Either you run away from reality or stay and get your team back to winning ways."
Mathews is undoubtedly Sri Lanka’s go-to man with both bat and ball and Starc, who will be making his long-awaited return to Test cricket with the first Test between the two nations, was quick to make it clear that he would be gunning for the wicket of the Sri Lankan skipper who averages 55.58 with the bat in 33 Tests at home.
He also shined during Australia’s previous tour to the island nation back in 2011 scoring 274 runs at an average of a little above 91.
Mathews said that pressure was inevitable as an international cricketer but added it was important that a cricketer relied on his basic instincts if he has to perform consistently at the highest level of the game.
"It is nice to have that pressure," Mathews said. “For life is all about pressure. It is nice for people to have expectations, but when you are the captain I don’t think much about expectations. Expectations are always there. You need to back your instincts as a player."