Mathews aims for South Africa tour return


Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has revealed that he withdrew from the tour to Zimbabwe this month in order to make sure he’d be fully fit for South Africa in December.

Mathews has been dealing with various leg injuries, most notably a torn calf muscle, for a few months, and his recovery took a recent hit. This forced him out of the Zimbabwe trip.

He has been replaced by Rangana Herath as skipper, while batsman Upul Tharanga was added to the squad as his playing replacement.

Mathews said: “I had about one-and-a-half months to recover and I was preparing myself to be ready for the Zimbabwe tour.

“Unfortunately there has been a setback. We did an MRI scan which revealed that I had multiple injuries on the same leg.

“I had to pull out after the expert medical panel advised me and [told] SLC not to send me to Zimbabwe because it might jeopardise my chances of playing in South Africa.

“We are planning to take a closer look at why this is happening. I hope my injury doesn’t take that long to heal.

“The doctors have advised rest, and the recovery can be earlier than that or more; we will have to play it by ear.

“I don’t think it will surpass the South African tour.”

Mathews is the latest in a long line of players to be injured this year, most notably their pace bowling attack, and SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala is unimpressed with the team’s player management.

He said: “We have not managed our players properly for the last three years.

“We are experiencing good cricketers who have come in from Under-19, U-23 and club level, but once they reach the top level they can’t sustain their physical condition because they have been badly managed.

“Mathews is a world-class allrounder and there is so much demand and so much of pressure on his body that it’s not easy for a person like him to be without an injury unless he has a proper scientific approach.

“Mathews had the highest number of match days in the past 18 months. At this level a player simply cannot go on.

“He has to pull out and take a genuine break for the body to recover. We don’t have enough recovery time.”