SLC back Mathews as skipper

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After a meeting with Sri Lanka cricket bigwigs it has been announced that Angelo Mathews will lead the national team until at least the 2019 World Cup.

SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala confirmed at a press conference that the views of the top brass are shared by chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya.

The SLC met with Mathews, coach Graham Ford and manager Ranjith Fernando after the Test series whitewash suffered at the hands of the Proteas.

Sumathipala dismissed suggestions that Mathews captaincy was up for discussion saying that he remained the most suitable candidate for the job.

The president said: “Mathews too, must understand this responsibility and should work to rebuild the team.

“We hope that the South African pitches for the T20I and ODI series will be more familiar to our players.”

While the batsman have come in for criticism Sumathipala praised the seamers saying: “We have selected the best 11 out of 20. If we are afraid of losing, we will not learn to win.

“It is quite pathetic to accept that we could not go beyond the 150-mark in three innings. We not only failed in the batting, but we missed some crucial catches where we could have put pressure on the South African batting.

“The truth is that we were not capable of facing the pace and bounce. We have to find a solution to this. We are quite satisfied with coach Graham Ford’s service. Instead of pointing fingers at people, we have to re-unite to get the team on a winning path.”

Jayasuriya conceded that it was no surprise that Sri Lanka lost to South Africa on fast pitches: “We had included a bunch of young cricketers to South Africa, thinking about the future of the national team.

“They need time to mould. So we have to accept the loss. We have just begun.

“As the Sri Lanka team is full of young blood, it is not a surprise that they faced a setback in South Africa.

“Even though we have given them the best squad, things did not turn out as we thought. We wanted one of the top-four batsmen to play a long innings and score a hundred. At least two or three batsmen should have played a long innings. But it did not work

The former opening batsman backed Mathews to turn things around: “This is not a time to blame and destroy Mathews’ captaincy. This is a time when we have to strengthen Mathews.

“As a former captain I know how these allegations can badly affect Mathews’ morale, especially during a series. We have to support Mathews, correct our faults and face the T20I and ODI series’ with confidence.”

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