In a surprising turn of events, Sri Lanka’s veteran all-rounder, Angelo Mathews, has been omitted from the squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe. Despite making a successful comeback to the One Day International (ODI) team after a two-year absence, Mathews seems to have lost favor with the team management, leaving many cricket enthusiasts astonished.
Earlier this year, Mathews made a comeback to the ODI side during the New Zealand series. His return was met with great anticipation, as he was considered a certain selection for the World Cup. However, he failed to make a significant contribution with the bat, scoring only 18 runs in two innings against Afghanistan in the first ODI. As a result, he was dropped from the squad for the second ODI. This may possibly mark the end of Mathews’ ODI career, spanning 221 matches.
In the second ODI against Afghanistan, Mathews had a chance to prove himself, but he could only manage a modest innings of 44 runs. Although he was retained for the third match, he didn’t get an opportunity to bat. Despite his absence from the World Cup squad, Mathews is still part of Sri Lanka’s plans, as indicated by the message conveyed by the Sri Lanka Cricket selectors.
Apart from Mathews’ exclusion, there aren’t any surprising names in the squad announced under the leadership of Dasun Shanaka. However, the team faces a significant concern in the form of an injured paceman. Dushmantha Chameera, who had an impressive performance during the Afghanistan series, has returned after a long-standing injury. Lahiru Kumara also has fitness issues, while the young paceman Matheesha Pathirana has been included. Kasun Rajitha features as another pace option in the squad.
The Sri Lankan team will be looking to secure a spot in the ICC World Cup through the qualifiers in Zimbabwe. The tournament will test the team’s mettle, and they will have to perform well to earn their ticket to the prestigious event.