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Could it have been the end of Angelo Mathews? 

9 months ago

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  • There was a plot to oust the veteran batter from Bangladesh tour
  • Was it Silverwood’s interference that saved the day for him?
  • Mathews eventually saved Sri Lanka’s pride in first Test
  • Kasun Rajitha’s inclusion raised many eyebrows
  • Another plot hatched to destroy Kamindu Mendis’ future?
By Revatha S. Silva As veteran batter Angelo Mathews possibly saved the day for Sri Lanka with a magnificent 199 runs in Chattogram on the second day of the first cricket Test against Bangladesh on Monday (16), a plot hatched to oust him from the tour has been unveiled, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) sources said yesterday (17). “Mathews was to be dropped from the series for a trivial fitness reason. A minimal failure in some fitness criteria was to be brought in as a reason to drop him from the tour,” the source revealed. “Eventually he had been included in the squad, allegedly only due to the insistence of the new Head Coach Chris Silverwood,” he added. Mathews saves the day for Lanka Bangladesh were in control of the first Test after the third day’s play yesterday, getting a lead of 79 runs with as many as seven wickets in hand. Sri Lanka made 397 (all out) in their first innings, batting first after winning the toss, and 199 out of those runs came from the bat of Mathews, 34, as the only other players to surpass the fifty-run mark were Kusal Mendis (54) and Dinesh Chandimal (66) in the Sri Lankan innings. Avoiding major blow “Sri Lanka would have been in a humiliating position early in the Test. If they struggled to post a big total in the first innings, it could have been a major blow, as the Chittagong (Chattogram) wicket is usually a batting track with only a small assistance to the bowlers,” he opined. Our efforts to contact the Selection Committee Chairman Pramodya Wickramasinghe to get a clarification on the allegation proved futile yesterday. Motive behind including Kamindu In the meantime, it is being alleged that the inclusion of 23-year-old batting all-rounder Kamindu Mendis, who is yet to play a Test for Sri Lanka, has not been made in good faith, but probably with an ulterior motive of destroying his career even before it gets off the ground. “Why was the youngster picked for the side when the Sri Lanka Emerging team was involved in a series in England? Mendis would have been ideally suited for that series (in England). He will just warm the bench there in Bangladesh. The motive behind picking Kamindu for the Tests series could not be for his betterment but for his destruction,” the source explained. Two tours coincide The Sri Lanka Emerging team is playing three four-day matches and three Twenty20 (T20) matches in England from 6 to 29 May, under Nipun Dananjaya and Dhananjaya Lakshan, who are leading the four-day and T20 sides, respectively, in England. Sri Lanka sent 18 players for the two series in England. Meanwhile the Sri Lanka Test team is in Bangladesh for a two-match series being held from 15 to 27 May. Who is the culprit? Who is behind this arbitrary selection process that could potentially ruin the prospects of Sri Lanka in the international stage? Are the culprits the Sports Ministry, SLC, or the National Selection Committee? “It’s definitely the selectors. The SLC is not involved in this situation, nor are there any ministerial forces here. There seems to be some elements which are making personal gains in the selection process. “They try to disrupt the careers of players who do not fall in line with their interests. And they will also try to take revenge from the players who are not in their good books,” claimed the source. Kasun Rajitha’s inclusion “There is a bizarre pattern in the selection process. Some players like Shiran Fernando get selected to the national side just for the purpose of selection, but he hardly plays any match. “This time too, there was a doubt as to how (the 28-year-old fast bowler) Kasun Rajitha got selected to the Bangladesh tour. Though he did well taking two wickets yesterday, he had been sidelined for months for some medical reasons before the Bangladesh tour “These seem to be blunders from the part of the selectors. They only hamper the progress of our team. The national team is not the property of any individual. It is the country’s team. Millions of people are expecting them to do well,” he further argued. The whole lot, or only one individual? “Whether these selections are done in good faith, whether the above blunders are genuine mistakes, or whether there are undue benefits received by some through these questionable selections, is anyone’s guess,” he continued. The alleged culprits are the entire selection panel or only a single element within that panel? “Apparently, it is only one element,” the source answered. The current Sri Lanka men’s senior cricket National Selection Committee comprises Chairman Wickramasinghe, Romesh Kaluwitharana, and Hemantha Wickramaratne.        

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