Troubles made us tougher, united – Mathews

by Revata S. Silva

Sri Lanka Test captain Angelo Mathews smiles as he speaks at the media conference yesterday at SLC while Lasith Malinga, Sri Lanka T20 Captain, looks on. (Pic by Saman Abeysiriwardena)

Up on their arrival on home soil, after what could be termed the most successful cricket tour of England, Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews told the media yesterday, June 26, that outside pressure and troubles they underwent in England, especially by way of unsavoury comments made in the British media, made his team tougher and more united in hostile conditions.

"As we faced more and more troubles, the unity within the team became stronger and stronger," the young National skipper said talking to a packed conference room at Sri Lanka Cricket headquarters in Colombo.

"We prepared really hard for this series. We had to train early morning before we went on the tour to get use to colder conditions where the ball swings. The coaching staff and the management gave their maximum support. All these contributed to the eventual result."

On former coach Paul Farbrace’s defect just before the series, Mathews said he personally felt there was no secret in international cricket in the present day because ‘there were loads of videos around.’

"I feel there is no secret. There is nothing to hide," he said indicating the unexpected leaving of the coach to the rival camp did not affect his team’s preparations.

On the extensive sledging that was seen during the course of the Test series, Sri Lanka captain said they returned what they received from England.

"Sri Lanka is not a verbally aggressive side. But we have a policy. If they give something, we’ll return it to them the same way."

"Not many teams have succeeded in those wet early summer conditions in England, like the way we did it. It was a hard-fought win. We look forward to the forthcoming South Africa series," Mathews added. Sri Lanka won in all three formats for the first time inā€ˆEngland in this tour.

Lasith Malinga, who skippered Sri Lanka in their T20 success in England, also addressed the media. When asked whether he was worried when the Lankan bowlers struggled for a prolonged period to take the final England wicket in the final Test in Headingley, he said, "I’ve played about 30 Tests before retirement and I’m still happy that I left room for new faces to take over from me. I don’t think I would have done better had I played that match."

Marvan Atapattu, who coached the Lankan side, said that it was a collective effort. "We do it together; the Manager, Ruwan (Ruwan Kalpage), Vaasy (Chaminda Vaas), the physio and the trainer, and the Khettarama Academy under Gerome (Jayaratne), we all work together and this is a success of all of our effort," said Atapattu who received accolades for the magnificent results he produced after taking over the post on a short notice after Farbrace’s leaving.

Sri Lank a team Manager Michael de Zoysa and SLC Vice President Mohan de Silva also addressed the gathering.

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