I feel betrayed: Here is Mathews’ letter to Sri Lanka Cricket
The full text of Angelo Mathews’ letter to SLC CEO Ashley de Silva, following his removal as captain:
I write to you pursuant to the meeting held on Friday the 21st of September 2018 at SLC premises, which was attended by all the selectors along with the National Cricket Coach Mr. Chandika Hathurusinghe. At this meeting the selection committee and the coach informed me to step down as Sri Lanka’s captain of the ODI and T20 team. Though I was initially surprised, it was immediately felt that I have been made the scapegoat in this entire saga of Sri Lanka’s dismal performances against Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the Asia Cup. 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. As you know all decisions are taken through a mutual understanding with the Selectors and the Head Coach. And though I do not agree with the reasoning that the losses should be accrued single handed to the Captaincy, I however eagerly and wholeheartedly respect the request of the selection committee and the head coach in asking me to step down and do so with immediate effect.
You would recall that I relinquished my captaincy in all formats in July 2017, pursuant to captaining Sri Lanka continuously for a period of 5 years in all formats. During this tenure under my captaincy series wins were recorded against England, we whitewashed Australia 3-0 and winning the Asia Cup in 2014 were some memorable occasions. However in the team’s best interest having felt that the time had come for new leadership I voluntarily resigned as Captain from all formats of the game in July 2017.
Thereafter, pursuant to Sri Lanka suffering heavy defeats in all formats and having several appointed Captains, namely Upul Tharanga, Thisara Perera, Chamara Kapugedara, Lasith Malinga and Dinesh Chandimal during the tenure between July 2017 and December 2017 in the ODI and T20 formats, Mr Chandika Hathurusinghe immediately having been appointed as Head coach met with me in person, requested me to reconsider taking up the Captaincy until the World Cup in 2019. Though myself, my family and close friends discouraged me in taking up the mantle, being confident in Hathurusinghe and his plans to elevate the performances of the Sri Lankan team and in the best interest of my country I agreed to do so until the World Cup.
I wish to put it on record that though Sri Lanka suffered these heavy defeats in the Asia Cup, which is shocking to say the least, especially in the backdrop where we had a reasonable series against South Africa, I had no intention to quitting and running way from the issues at hand especially owing to the World Cup being only a dozen games away. Furthermore as an obligation of a player I will keep working hard in all aspects of the game and will be available to represent Sri Lanka at any given time with my fullest. I also believe that 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. I have played the game true to my conscience and have given my best at all times and have felt that I am fit enough to play the formats and also have performed adequately over a period of time to hold my place in the team. You will know that I was also the overall highest run scorer in the South Africa series from both teams.
In the given circumstances I thus resign as the Captain of the Sri Lankan ODI and T20 team with immediate effect in considering the request of the selection committee and the coach to resign. I thank the selectors and the National Coach for speaking to me in person and conveying your thoughts in respect of the Asia Cup and giving me the opportunity to step down in this manner.
I wish all the successes to our National Cricket team and all of you.