Angelo Mathews honoured with Wisden India Cricketer of the Year 2015 award
Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lankan captain has been adjudged as one of Wisden India’s Cricketers of the Year for 2015. Amongst hard hitting batsmen and aggressive fast bowlers, Mathews has made a mark for himself in world cricket today, and he had a terrific 2014.
Wisden India Award is chosen by the editor of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack India, (also known as Wisden India) an annual reference book on cricket. It is given for excellent accomplishments in the previous calendar year. Adopted by its parent publication The Wisden (UK), it is a highly revered award in Asia's cricket circle, given first in the year 2013. Besides Mathews, the award list honoured Ajinkya Rahane, Rishi Dhawan, Mithali Raj, Umar Akmal and Mominul Haq.
Mathews took over the captaincy from the Sri Lankan great Mahela Jayawardene in 2013 to lead in both Test and ODI formats. He had a huge task on his hands to take Sri Lankan cricket forward and also to captain veterans like Sangakkara, Jayawardene and T. Dilshan – players who had been the torch-bearers of Sri Lankan cricket since 2005.
In the 2014 Test series against England, Mathews made 18 off 90 balls, staying at the crease long enough to force England to settle for a draw. Under his captaincy, his side won a historic series against England which was a huge feat for Sri Lankan cricket.
Matthews had an average of 77 in Tests and 62 in one-day internationals. He also helped Sri Lanka draw the first Test match against Pakistan in 2014 by making 91 and 157 in the two innings. He has been instrumental in nearly all of Sri Lanka’s recent victories.
He has been trying to work on his game and also to adapt to different conditions. “I’ve just tried to play the situation. There has been a bit of fine-tuning of my technique as well. That’s helped me adjust my game from innings to innings, and widen my range. Even before I became captain, I set myself the goal of becoming the No. 1 all-rounder in the world. In the last year, I think I’ve taken a few steps towards that.” Matthews was quoted saying to Wisden India.
Speaking of the victory in England and his match winning partnership with Rangana Herath in Headingley, he said, “That was definitely my best batting in Tests. It was one of those days when everything I tried went smoothly. Once we passed a lead of about 200, that freed both me and Ranganaaiya [elder brother] up even more, so we just started going for it.”
Been named as the ICC World Test XI after leading in only 4 Test series speaks volumes about his captaincy and answers his critics in the best way possible. “I’ve learned a lot, and I will keep learning as long as I’m playing cricket,” he added.
One thing is for sure – expectations from Matthews are soaring very high, and we’re not likely to be disappointed.