“This Breakdown Needs to be Sorted”

File image of Sri Lanka cricketer Angelo Mathews. (Photo credit: Reuters)

Kumar Sangakkara has urged Angelo Mathews and head coach Chandika Hathurusingha to patch out their differences so that the former Sri Lankan captain can make it back into the national One-Day and T20I side as soon as possible.Mathews was asked to step down from the limited-overs captaincy following Sri Lanka’s exit from the 2018 Asia Cup, after which he sent out a mail to the Sri Lankan Cricket Board (SLC) stating that he was made the “scapegoat” in the entire saga. He was subsequently dropped from Sri Lanka’s limited-overs squads for the England series despite being in good nick which did not go down well with Mathews. He, in particular, was surprised in the part Hathurusingha took in removing him from captaincy and dropping him from the side only 10 months after being asked to don the captain’s hat.

Sangakkara, who has played under Mathews in the past and been an admirer of Hathurusingha said the two needed to sort out their differences rather quickly.

“I think this breakdown of communication needs to be sorted quickly,” Sangakkara told ESPNcricinfo. “It needs to be sorted through direct, honest and clear conversations between captain, the management and the player concerned. They need to make sure, also, that the public has the right idea of why this decision has been taken, especially at an emotional time.

“What they have to be careful is that it’s not a knee-jerk reaction to the team’s performance at the Asia Cup, but it’s actually a worthwhile decision for the side. But I really think that with Hathurusingha’s strategy, Angelo will find himself back in the side very soon.”

Mathews’ repeated run-outs recently is believed to be a reason behind his ouster from the shorter formats of the game. Sangakkara, who has batted with Mathews plenty of times in his career said that he did not consider him to be a poor runner between the wickets. The former captain also insisted that a lot of the run outs stemmed from Sri Lanka not fielding a consistent top order.

“The running is not a stat that I’ve really looked at – I wasn’t the best runner between the wickets either,” Sangakkara said. “I think that in a batting line-up where you’ve batted in the same positions consistently, communication improves between batsmen. They understand each other’s games, and understand how the other batsman runs, and how they react to quick singles or turning back for a second or a third.

“One of the things you seen when you have bad running between the wickets is bad communication – maybe a player doesn’t know what his partner is looking for in terms of gaps and singles. That’s another reason I think Sri Lanka needs to very quickly settle down with a consistent batting line-up.”

While Mathews has been omitted from the ODI and T20I squad, he is still a part of the Sri Lankan side for the three-Test series against England in November. A slew of injuries of injuries has meant Mathews hasn’t bowled a lot in recent times. Sangakkara, however, suggested that in the interest of Sri Lankan cricket it was essential Mathews started to bowl once again.

“Angelo’s performances in the past suggest that he’s a player of great value to the side. I think it’s very important to get Angelo bowling again,” said Sangakkara.

“I think it does his confidence a lot of good. It does the Sri Lankan side a lot of good. And whoever is captain – whether it’s Angelo or Dinesh Chandimal – it gives them a lot of options to use a multi-skilled cricketer in different situations. All of that is going to be absolutely vital to their chances at the World Cup.”

First Published: September 28, 2018, 11:06 PM IST