Mathews: I have been made the scapegoat

Angelo Mathews has accused the Sri Lanka cricket board (SLC) of solely blaming him for the team’s poor performances at the recent Asia Cup in the UAE.

Mathews was stripped of the ODI and T20I captaincy after Sri Lanka went on to lose to Afghanistan and Bangladesh and suffer an early exit in the tournament with Dinesh Chandimal given the reins in the 50-over format.

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The 31-year-old had stepped down from being Sri Lanka’s captain in limited-overs cricket in July last year but was persuaded to reconsider his decision by coach Chandika Hathurusingha.

Now Mathews says he feel “betrayed and let down” after he was axed as leader with less than year to go before the next World Cup.

In a letter to Sri Lanka Cricket, Mathews said: “I have been made the scapegoat in this entire saga of Sri Lanka’s dismal performance 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 Head Coach.”

Mathews, who has had multiple struggles with injuries during the last two years, has also threatened to quit playing the white-ball formats if the coach and selectors feel he cannot hold onto his place in the team.

The allrounder went on: “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 will host England in five ODIs, a one-off T20 and three Test matches from October 10.