Mathews ruled out for three weeks


Angelo Mathews will return home today after being ruled out for three weeks with a hamstring injury. (Files)

by Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka’s ODI captain Angelo Mathews will return home after doctors recommended a three-week rest as he picked up a hamstring injury. Mathews hurt his right hamstring during Sri Lanka’s opening fixture of the tri-nation series against Zimbabwe in Dhaka on Wednesday. He missed Friday’s second game against Bangladesh, which Sri Lanka lost by a massive 163 runs but remained in Dhaka as team management was hoping to get him back in action at some stage of the competition.

His medical reports were sent to doctors in England but the team management was informed that the captain will be out of action for three weeks.

That puts his participation in the two-match Test series, that gets underway on the 31st of January, in doubt as well. The plan is for Mathews to now return to Bangladesh for the two-match T-20 series.

"Angelo will return home on Sunday. He will continue the rehab work in Colombo and we will bring him back when he is fit," a Sri Lanka Cricket official told Sunday Island.

Sri Lanka had taken 16 players to Bangladesh and have enough resources to cover for the ODI series although they will miss their captain’s class and experience. Sadeera Samarawickrama is the stand-by for the tour, but the selectors were looking at the option of sending middle-order batsman Dhananjaya de Silva to Dhaka as the squad has too many opening batsmen and few middle-order batters.

Sri Lanka have lost both their opening games of the competition and need to win today’s group game against Zimbabwe to keep their chances alive.

Dinesh Chandimal, the Test captain, will continue to lead the side for the remaining ODI games.

Mathews has been plagued by a series of calf, hamstring and ankle injuries since returning home from the tour of South Africa in January last year.

Since then, he missed the tour of Australia and the home series against Bangladesh last year. He made a comeback during the Champions Trophy, but hurt his hamstring again ahead of the tour of UAE for the series against Pakistan.

He returned for the tour of India and played as an all-rounder in the shorter formats of the game, but the hamstring injury flared up again during the second T-20 International in Indore and had to skip the last game in Bombay.

The 30-year-old had stepped down as captain after the shock series defeat to Zimbabwe in July last year, but six months later, agreed to take up the captaincy of the white-ball team on a request made by Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha.

Despite recent setbacks due to injuries, Mathews has been very consistent. Since his debut in November 2008 until December 2017, across all formats, he had played most number of games. While Mathews had played 338 games across the three formats, an equally busy player like India’s M. S. Dhoni had played in 320 games in the same period.

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