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ENG vs SL: Didn’t expect I would play in World Cup 2023, says Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews


ENG vs SL: Didn’t expect I would play in World Cup 2023, says Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews


All-rounder Angelo Mathews is excited to be part of his 4th ODI World Cup campaign, but the senior player said he was not expecting a call-up after his name was missing in the final 15 for the trip to India. Mathews was named as a replacement for young Matheesha Pathirana who injured his shoulder on October 10.

Angelo Mathews had linked up with the Sri Lankan squad as a traveling reserve but he was formally drafted into the Sri Lanka squad earlier this week.

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Mathews has not played an ODI since June 2023 but the 36-year-old comes in with a wealth of experience, having played 3 World Cups in the past. Notably, Mathews had hit 113 in a losing cause against India in his last World Cup match which came in 2019.

Mathews is all set to take the field for Sri Lanka against England in Bengaluru on Thursday and the senior all-rounder spoke about his preparation for the tournament despite not having played enough ODIs in the recent years – 7 in the last 3 years.

“So, what I can control is keep pushing myself individually in terms of fitness, bowling, batting, everything,” he said.

“I mean, when the opportunity comes, I have to be ready. I just did that over the last month or so, I was training extremely hard at HPC with the other boys as well. So, I was giving myself a chance to – if I get the opportunity, to be prepared. But as I said, I didn’t expect, because after the 15 was selected, I was not expecting. But it is what it is, the opportunity came.”


The 36-year-old, who has scored 5865 runs and picked up 120 wickets, said he is committed to giving his best performance. Mathews’s return adds experience to the middle-order, something that Sri Lanka have lacked in the competition.

Sri Lanka are heading into the contest on the back of a win over the Netherlands which ended their 3-match losing run in World Cup 2023.

“I extend my heartfelt wishes for Matheesha’s [Pathirana] swift recovery. It’s truly disheartening for any player to have to leave a World Cup tournament due to injury. I believe he will do a great service for Sri Lanka in the next ten to twelve years. Therefore, my best wishes for his speedy recuperation.

“Moreover, I’m grateful for this opportunity. This marks my fourth fifty-over World Cup match. Our team and I are committed to giving our best performance, with the primary goal of reaching the semifinals. I’m fully prepared to put in the hard work necessary to achieve this.

“It’s my fourth World Cup in five years. I can play as well as I want. We saw the semi-finals, which was our first goal. We can go to the next level. That’s what I and my team are hoping for. So, it’s going to be fun,” he added.

Mathews played a key role in Kandy’s Lanka Premier League triumph. Mathews had been diligently training at the High-Performance Centre in Colombo, keeping himself fit and ready for any opportunity that might come his way.

Published On:

Oct 25, 2023


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