We have no concerns with Mathews’ fitness – De Mel



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Angelo Mathews has been recalled for white ball cricket after being axed from the bilateral series against England.


Chairman of Selectors Ashantha De Mel seems to have agreed that people were barking up the wrong tree when Angelo Mathews was dropped from the ODI side after the Asia Cup debacle in September.


Mathews, who was sacked as white ball captain after Sri Lanka lost to Bangladesh and Afghanistan during Asia Cup was also overlooked for the ODI series against England as Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha questioned his fitness and poor running between the wickets.


The axing of Mathews from white ball cricket looked strange as he possessed Sri Lanka’s all time best average. Mathews averages 42:36 in ODIs, slightly higher than his much accomplished former team mate Kumar Sangakkara (41:96)


De Mel, who picked his first team on Friday, said he had no reservations in recalling Mathews. Incidentally, De Mel was the Chairman of Selectors when Mathews made his international debut ten years ago.


"Well we know that he has passed his fitness tests. I have no concerns whatsoever. As far as his running between the wickets is concerned, you have to remember that there are two people running and both have to be alert and you cannot blame one guy alone. I am not prepared to buy that kind of story," De Mel told Sunday Island.


De Mel also said that he felt fast bowler Lasith Malinga was the best person to lead the side in white ball cricket. "We felt that he is the best out of the lot and we will see how it goes. A captain has to command a place in the side first and Malinga is a permanent fixture in the team," De Mel added. Malinga has been appointed captain just for the New Zealand series.


The selectors also sprung a huge surprise when they named Niroshan Dickwella as vice-captain ahead of several seniors. His choice of reviews during the last England series may have come under criticism but he is a natural leader. His record in school cricket can never be broken as he captained Trinity College for the league, one-day and T-20 titles in 2012. The same year Trinity won the Big Match over St. Anthony’s after 26 years.


"He has potential to go onto captain the side one day. He has captained the under-19 sides well. He is a smart bloke and remains cool under pressure which is very important for a captain. We have to groom him gradually to take up the mantle one day."


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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