Colombo, 12th July 2017:
Sri Lanka Cricket today (12) confirmed that National captain Angelo Mathews has stepped down from the captaincy.
Speaking with the board ‘Angi’ stated he felt it was time to take a step back and concede the reigns, and thanked the board for the unstinted support it has extended to his captaincy over the past 18 months.
In a letter to the board, Angelo stated:
I am immensely thankful [to you] for being extremely considerate of my reasoning and accommodative of my decision to resign as the National Cricket Captain with immediate effect.
When I was bestowed with this great Honour of Captaining the Sri Lankan National Team in 2013, I was overwhelmed to say the least and if not for the immense support and trust placed in me by Sri Lanka Cricket I could not have withstood the pressures of Captaincy for a period which has now exceeded four and half years. I am also immensely thankful to the senior players who were part of the team when I took over the mantle of captaincy at a very young age. They too were always at my side to guide me when it was needed the most.
Over the last four and a half years I was immensely proud to be with a team blessed with immense natural talent and unfathomable potential. I am thankful to every single player who played with me and supported the Sri Lankan Team to achieve some significant milestones in Sri Lanka’s Cricketing History. We as a team were able to defeat England in all three formats in a single bilateral series in 2014; we managed to win an Asia Cup in the same year, and white wash Australia for the first time in a test series in 2016. These memories are beyond words, which I will always cherish.
However, though the Sri Lankan team has not fulfilled its true potential during the last several months I personally believe that such is not owing to the lack of skill nor effort nor the lack of commitment of the players. However, as the captain I cannot turn a blind eye to the failures of our team during the last several months. In this regard I am very much concerned that we were unfortunate to lose to Zimbabwe during the recently concluded ODI series. This loss to me personally as stated previously is the lowest point in my cricketing career. On this notion after giving deep and considerate thought that I decided that it was time for me to resign as the Captain of the National Team in all formats. Furthermore, I was also very mindful that my resignation at this juncture, would ensure that sufficient time being given to my successor to take the National Team confidently through to the next ICC World Cup in England in 2019.
On this note I am immensely thankful to my teammates and to every member of the support staff of the National Team for their encouragement and support over the last several years. The Sri Lankan Media requires a special note of appreciation for their commitment and encouragement to my Team and me. The Entire Nation has over the years continuously backed me and the team, which has given me the most encouragement. I wholeheartedly thank every single cricket fan that has cheered us unhindered all the way.
You would also appreciate that I have at all times played in the exclusive interest of Sri Lankan Cricket and has not at any time compromised my National duties for any personal gain. I have at all times given utmost priority to making myself available over and above any franchise commitment and has even at times pre-terminated franchise commitments to fulfil national obligations.
On this note subject to me being selected for National duty I would ensure my fullest commitment to the National Cricket Team moreover I would at all times support and guide our young and profusely talented team and my successor in every way to make our Nation Proud”
Meanwhile, SLC announced today that 32 year old Left-hand batsman Upul Tharanga has been appointed as the captain of the National white ball side whilst 27 year old Right-hand batsman/wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal will captain the National Test side.
Speaking at the press conference held this morning Chairman of the National Selection Committee, Sanath Jayasuriya expressed his confidence in the two new captains and went on to elaborate that the team’s success was not dependant on one single player but that each player needed to fulfil their individual role in bringing success to the team.
Responding to reporters he stated that although injuries have been the cause behind a high incidence of players revolving through the national squad, the steps taken by the board to minimise injuries as well as manage player recovery is beginning to pay dividends.
He further added that now is the time that all those who love cricket must support the team with positivity and stand with them.
Team Manager Asanka Gurisinha meanwhile stated that although Sri Lanka have hit a low, he has every confidence that there is nowhere but ‘up’ to go from here, and that he believes this team has the capability and talent to do just that.