Former Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews. - GETTY IMAGES
Former Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews. - GETTY IMAGES

Angelo Mathews, the veteran Sri Lankan all-rounder, could be playing again for his national team Sri Lanka in the near future after making himself available for selection. Back in July 2021, the veteran said that he was contemplating retirement after turning down a central contract offered by Sri Lanka Cricket. Under the contract, the 34-year-old veteran had to undergo a pay cut of around USD 50,000.

Angelo Mathews had said earlier that he was disillusioned by the treatment SLC meted out to him and other senior Sri Lanka cricketers. He also didn’t play the bilateral ODI and T20I series against a second-string India in July after pulling out due to personal reasons. However, it was believed that he opted out after conveying to the selectors that he was not happy with the environment where he was expected to play.

Angelo Mathews-FILE
Angelo Mathews-FILE

Angelo Mathews May Feature In Sri Lanka’s Home Test Against West Indies If His Comeback Plans Are Successful

More than three months later, Angelo Mathews, reportedly, has shown a willingness to don the national jersey yet again. Going by reports, the all-rounder has sent an email to the SLC about his plans to return to the Sri Lanka fold, and the board is set to take a final call on Tuesday, October 12. However, there hasn’t been any official communication from either Angelo Mathews or SLC.

During the time when the Sri Lankan cricketers were at loggerheads with the SLC regarding the contracts, the veteran all-rounder and a few senior players were axed from the limited-overs teams. However, if Angelo Mathews makes a comeback, he may feature in Lanka’s home Tests against the West Indies in the month of November. Thereafter, he may take part in the second edition of the Lanka Premier League.

Dinesh Chandimal ISHARA S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images
Dinesh Chandimal ISHARA S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images

Under the central contracts offered by the board, Angelo Mathews was set to take a pay cut in the range of USD 50,000 (LKR 99,50,000 approx). During this period, the all-rounder, along with fellow seniors Dimuth Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal, had also been dropped from the limited-overs sides as Sri Lanka focused on a youthful overhaul of their white-ball squads.

By the time the contracts standoff was resolved, Angelo Mathews had already made his discontent clear and ruled himself out of selection, while there were even murmurs of possible retirement. Since then, however, Dinesh Chandimal has found himself back in Sri Lanka’s limited-overs side – he has even made the cut for the upcoming 2021 T20I World Cup.

Angelo Mathews Last Donned Sri Lanka Jersey Against Bangladesh

Angelo Mathews has been a key member of the Lankan team in all three formats of the sport ever since he made his debut back in 2008. In 90 Tests, 218 ODIs, and 78 T20Is, he has notched 6236, 5835, and 1148 runs, respectively, to go with 14 centuries and 81 half-centuries.

He last donned the national colours during Sri Lanka’s home Test series against Bangladesh in Pallekele. He has also played for various franchises in the cash-rich Indian Premier League after making his debut in 2009, but he hasn’t found a team since the year 2017. The 34-year-old Angelo Mathews was not a part of the squad that toured England recently and last played the Test series against Bangladesh in April-May.

Angelo Mathews
Angelo Mathews [Image-Getty]
Angelo Mathews has amassed above 10,000 international runs in 3 formats combined. His average of 44.86 in Tests and 41.67 in ODIs is also enviable. He has also picked about 180 wickets with his right-arm medium pace.

Lahiru Kumara, Binura Fernando and Akila Dananjaya have been included in the final squad by Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka will play in two ICC-organised World Cup warm-up games, on Tuesday and Thursday before commencing its T20 World Cup campaign.

Sri Lanka, on Sunday, named their final 15-man squad for the T20 World Cup tournament, dropping eight players from the original 23-member contingent. According to Sri Lanka Cricket selectors, left-arm spinner Lakshan Sandakan and injured bowler Nuwan Pradeep were left out of the team.