Reuters: Angelo Mathews is reconsidering his role as Sri Lanka captain after the one-day series loss to Zimbabwe which he considers one of the lowest points in his career, the 30-year-old has said.
Sikandar Raza’s stellar all-round display guided Zimbabwe to their first one-day international series win over hosts Sri Lanka with a nervous three-wicket victory in the fifth and final match at Hambantota on Monday.
Zimbabwe, ranked 11th, had never beaten Sri Lanka before this series and their triumph is all the more special after they lost to Scotland last month and were beaten by Afghanistan earlier this year.
“It’s one of the lowest points in my career, and a hard one to swallow,” Mathews said after the 3-2 series defeat.
“Everything went against us, from the toss to misreading the wicket. But there are no excuses. At the end of the day we were not good enough to beat them. They played better cricket.”
Sri Lanka’s form in the 50-over format has been dismal since the 2015 World Cup and they have suffered series defeats against England, South Africa, Australia and drew against Bangladesh at home. They also exited this year’s Champions Trophy in the group stage.
“Still haven’t thought about stepping down,” Mathews said. “There’s time. I’ll give it a bit more thought and talk to the selectors. I haven’t decided anything yet.
“We have not been consistent. The pressure is on all of us. The more we lose, the more pressure we are under. There is no solution for that and the only solution is winning. We try to win games, but we commit too many mistakes.”
Sri Lanka, the 1996 world champions, have left the door open for West Indies to pip them in the race for automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.
The top eight ranked sides, including hosts England, will qualify directly with the rest having to go through a qualification tournament to make the 10-team event.
Sri Lanka are ranked eighth and will host India for a five-match series while West Indies, ranked a place below, play the same number of matches against England before the cutoff date of Sept. 30.
“We have an India series coming up, but before that, we have the test against Zimbabwe to talk about,” Mathews said. “The Indian series will be even tougher.
“In a small period we have to fix our problems. As a team we did do the training, but nothing is working in the middle.”
SLC apologises to stripped groundsmen
AFP: Dozens of groundsmen at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota cricket stadium have complained that they were ordered to give back their uniforms before being paid - even though they were wearing them at the time.
Sri Lanka’s cricket board was forced to apologise after social media reports that some workers had to leave the ground in their underwear at the end of the fifth one-day international between Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe on Monday.
“Whilst stern action will be taken against those responsible, Sri Lanka Cricket wishes to apologise to those subjected to this ignominy, and will take steps to ensure they are compensated,” the board said in a statement.
The workers had been told that they would not be paid until they returned the uniforms provided by the board. Zimbabwe claimed the one-day international series against Sri Lanka 3-2, embarrassing a home side that has struggled with fitness, losses and coaching upheaval.