Chandimal, Tharanga to cap­tain Sri Lanka

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Sri Lanka ap­pointed two new cap­tains yes­ter­day to re­place An­gelo Mathews, who re­signed after his side’s hu­mil­i­at­ing home se­ries de­feat to bot­tom-ranked Zim­babwe. Di­nesh Chandimal will lead the Test side while Upul Tharanga will cap­tain in lim­ited-overs matches, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said.

The reshuf­fle caps a tur­bu­lent pe­riod for the be­lea­guered Sri Lankan side, whose loss to Zim­babwe fol­lowed a fit­ness and coach­ing cri­sis and an early de­par­ture from the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy.

“Mathews ten­dered his res­ig­na­tion a short while ago this morn­ing,” said SLC chief Thi­langa Su­math­ipala said. “We want to re­group and re­struc­ture and move for­ward.”

Mathews said he took the blame for Sri Lanka’s re­cent woes, and was mak­ing room so his suc­ces­sor could pre­pare the side for the World Cup in 2019. “There were times when I wanted to step down, but I did not want to let the team down at that time be­cause there were no re­place­ments as such,” he told re­porters.

“But I feel this is the right time. The team’s in­ter­ests su­percede my in­ter­ests. My hon­est opin­ion is that there are can­di­dates who can take over the reins.” Mathews bore the brunt of the crit­i­cism lev­elled at Sri Lanka’s crick­eters in the af­ter­math of their 3-2 se­ries loss at home to min­nows Zim­babwe on Mon­day.

Mathews de­scribed the shock de­feat as low­est point in his ca­reer and a “hard pill to swal­low”. The strug­gling side en­tered the se­ries with­out a coach after Gra­ham Ford’s sud­den exit fol­low­ing their poor show­ing in the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy last month.

Sri Lanka’s sports min­is­ter de­liv­ered the squad an ul­ti­ma­tum after that per­for­mance, or­der­ing play­ers get in shape or face the boot after declar­ing them un­fit to com­pete on the world stage.

Rock bot­tom

Sri Lanka Cricket man­ager Asanka Gu­rus­inghe said the team had hit rock bot­tom but would bounce back. “After los­ing to Zim­babwe, we have to go up. This side is too good to keep go­ing down,” Gu­rus­inghe said.

Their first chal­lenge starts Fri­day, when Chandimal will lead the side in Colombo for the one-off Test against Zim­babwe. “I am go­ing to put my heart and soul into the team,” Chandimal said. Tharanga, who will take over in Twen­ty20s and ODIs, said there was much room for im­prove­ment fol­low­ing the em­bar­rass­ment against Zim­babwe. “As a team we did not per­form well,” he said.

The team re­mains plagued by fit­ness prob­lems, with up to 20 play­ers bat­tling in­juries in the past year, said chief se­lec­tor Sanath Jaya­suriya. Mathews had to re­turn home halfway through Sri Lanka’s tour of South Africa ear­lier this year and missed Bangladesh’s tour of Sri Lanka due to a ham­string in­jury. —AFP

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s new Test cricket cap­tain Di­nesh Chandimal (C) chats with crick­eters dur­ing a prac­tice ses­sion at the R Pre­madasa Cricket Sta­dium in Colombo yes­ter­day. Sri Lanka and Zim­babwe will play a one-off Test match start­ing to­mor­row at the R Pre­madasa Cricket Sta­dium in Colombo. — AFP

DERBY: New Zealand’s Amy Sat­terth­waite bats dur­ing the Women’s World Cup cricket match against Eng­land at the The County Ground, Derby, Eng­land yes­ter­day. — AP

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