Colombo: Sri Lanka’s sacked skipper Angelo Mathews accused the country’s cricket board on Monday of blaming him solely for the island’s humiliating exit from the Asia Cup.
The 31-year-old all-rounder has threatened to retire from the two shorter formats of the game after being dumped on Sunday as captain of Sri Lanka’s One-day International and Twenty20 teams.
“I have been made the scapegoat in this entire saga of Sri Lanka’s dismal performance against Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the Asia Cup,” Mathews said in a letter to Sri Lanka Cricket.
The board said it asked Mathews to step down and allow Dinesh Chandimal to lead Sri Lanka during England’s tour which begins next month.
“The national selectors ... have requested Mathews to relinquish his duties as captain with immediate effect,” the board said in a statement. It did not elaborate on why Mathews was sacked.
“I’m willing to take part of the blame but, at the same time, feel betrayed and let down if the blame is solely put on me,” Mathews wrote.
“If the selectors and coach are of the view that I am unfit to play ODI and T20 cricket and thus not entitled for my place in the team, I would also consider retiring from the ODI and T20 formats as I never want to be a burden to the team.” Sri Lanka have been grappling with a leadership crisis over the last 18 months, during which Upul Tharanga, Lasith Malinga, Chamara Kapugedera and Thisara Perera have also been tried as ODI captains.
But it follows Sri Lanka’s drubbing in the Asia Cup, with losses to lower-ranked Afghanistan and Bangladesh ensuring the island nation’s quick exit from the competition.
Sri Lanka were thumped by 137 runs against Bangladesh in their opening match of the tournament, and have now lost 30 of their 40 matches since January 2017.
Chandimal, who was already captain of Sri Lanka’s Test side, now takes the reins in all three formats of the game.
Sri Lanka will face England in five One-day Internationals, one twenty20 and three Test matches from October 10.