Angelo Mathews' Unexpected Swan Song A Remarkable Farewell.


Angelo Mathews’ Unexpected Swan Song: A Remarkable Farewell.

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In 2023, these words lose their familiar resonance, unlike the past fifteen years of Angelo Mathews’ enigmatic career. Expected to be Sri Lankan cricket’s leader, an all-rounder reaching for the stars, and the beacon of hope for a cricket-loving nation post Sangakkara and Jayawardene, Mathews did make his mark. From his school days at St.

Joseph’s, his leadership skills shone. His Test career was stellar, with 100+ appearances and a 44-average. He led Sri Lanka to their first Test series win in England, had a remarkable 2014 with the bat, claimed a T20 World Cup medal, and guided the ODI side to the 2015 World Cup quarter-finals when the team was struggling.

However, just as he was set to carry the post-Sangakkara legacy forward, injuries plagued him. Struggles to stay injury-free and giving up bowling to manage his workload defined this frustrating phase. Despite returning from injuries, he wasn’t the same player, and his importance dwindled.

Between his ODI debut in 2008 and the 2015 World Cup, he played 156 out of 188 ODIs. In the next four-year cycle, he missed more games (37) than in the previous seven years.

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Mathews’ fragility dimmed his potential for superstardom, making him a bittersweet tale of unfulfilled potential.

Still, Sri Lanka Cricket frequently turned to him when needed. He briefly resumed captaincy in white-ball formats, though it was taken away after the Asia Cup in 2018, and he was dropped from the England tour.

He made comebacks, displaying his experience, but his fitness issues persisted. By mid-2021, he lost his T20I spot, and the ODI World Cup cycle saw limited appearances.

Now, in an unexpected turn of events, Mathews finds himself in India, called upon to play in his fourth ODI World Cup due to Sri Lanka’s depleted bowling resources. What the future holds is uncertain, even for Mathews. He has prepared by working on his fitness and remaining ready for any opportunity. Sri Lanka may be hoping for the idealized Mathews, the perfect all-rounder, but they might have to settle for the fragile version with just three ODIs this year.

Mathews, reflecting on his journey, stated, “I’ve probably seen it all over the last 15 years,” a statement that encompasses both pride and the harsh reality of his career.


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