Angelo Mathews has replaced Matheesha Pathirana in Sri Lanka's 2023 World Cup squad in hopes of getting their team back on track after a poor start to the edition.
Sri Lanka qualified for the World Cup with a stellar show in the qualifiers, which were played in Zimbabwe earlier this year. But the main tournament is not going according to plans for them.
They have won only one match, against the Netherlands, in four outings so far and one of the major reasons for their poor run has been the injuries to key players.
After their key leg-spinner, Wanindu Hasaranga was ruled out of the tournament, skipper Dasun Shanaka also exited the tournament. The latest is the injury of pace bowler Matheesha Pathirana, who has also been ruled out of the World Cup due to a shoulder injury.
Veteran batter Angelo Mathews has been included in the squad as his replacement. He was already with the squad as a travelling reserve and is now immediately in contention to play their next game against England on October 26 at the Chinnaswamy stadium in Bengaluru.
Can Angelo Mathews turn things around?
Pathirana’s exit might just turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Sri Lanka as the youngster struggled with the ball before missing two games due to injury. He had registered figures of 1/95 and 1/90 in two matches against South Africa and Pakistan respectively. Though his replacement is not like-for-like, former skipper Angelo Mathews will surely lend some much-needed solidity to the batting line-up that has been inconsistent.
Sri Lanka were in a very good position against Australia at 125/0 before their batting imploded to be shot out for just 209 runs. Against Pakistan, they looked set to post a total in excess of 380 but eventually ended with 344 due to their poor show in the last 10 overs.
Angelo Mathews, interestingly, last played an ODI back in June 2023 against Afghanistan. He has been a part of Sri Lanka’s World Cup squad in 2011, 2015 and 2019. This will be his fourth World Cup appearance if he gets to play a game in the remaining five outings.
Overall, Mathews has played 221 ODIs for Sri Lanka scoring a massive 5865 runs at an average of 41.01 with 40 half-centuries and 3 centuries to his name.
Sri Lanka updated squad:
Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis (c & wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Chamika Karunaratne, Dunith Wellalage, Maheesh Theekshana, Lahiru Kumara, Dilshan Madushanka, Angelo Mathews, Dushan Hemantha, Kasun Rajitha, Dimuth Karunaratne.