Angelo Mathews, Perera and Gunaratne fit for India tour

Angelo Mathews, Perera and Gunaratne fit for India tour

"When you've had negative results for a period of time you need to see some change somewhere,” Sri Lankan coach said.

Angelo Mathews
Angelo Mathews walks to bat during a practice session. (Photo by LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI/AFP/Getty Images)

The Sri Lankan team got a major boost as Angelo Mathews is set to return to the team for the tour of India. The former skipper has been struggling with persistent injuries of late and recently missed out on the entire tour of Pakistan owing to a calf muscle tear. Along with Mathews, Kusal Perera and Asela Gunaratne who were nursing a hamstring and a thumb injury respectively are fit enough to be on the selection chart for the tour.

They have been struggling in limited-overs cricket after suffering a series defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe in their own backyard, the Indians whitewashed them across formats. The UAE tour started off on a positive note as they won the series 2-0 but the change of formats turned their fortunes and Pakistan won the ODI series 5-0 and the T20Is by a margin of 3-0. Sri Lanka have thus lost 16 consecutive limited overs matches.

Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Ashley de Silva confirmed that the trio have satisfactorily recovered from their injuries and are available for India series. “Angelo and Kusal Janith [Perera] have both recovered and they will be considered for selection for the Indian series. Asela Gunaratne is fit as well,” he said.

Change on the cards

Interim coach Nic Pothas admitted that the morale of the team was at an all-time low and they are looking to make changes that would bring about a difference in their fortunes.

“It’s pretty obvious what the mood will be like when you’ve lost 16 games,” Pothas said. “With respect to new faces, that’s a conversation that we need to have with the selectors. But I think it stands to reason that in any walk of life, -when you’ve had negative results for a period of time you need to see some change somewhere,” he added.

Pakistan had made a fortress out of their adopted home UAE, they never lost a Test series on the soil but the Lankans changed history. The coach believes his team deserves the credit for having achieved something none of the other major teams could do.

“On the Test series, let me remind you that we made history,” he stated. “We did something that no other nation has ever done in the UAE. It tends to have been forgotten due to the fact that ODIs follow the Tests. But we have to give huge credit to the team and to the captain,” Pothas added.

“Overall across the whole tour we can certainly glean a lot of positives. The fielding has improved out of sight and certainly was one of the shining lights throughout the month that we were out there. And the bowling as well was of a very high standard; the execution of the plans was very pleasing,” he further mentioned.

Pothas admitted that their batting didn’t click but the Pakistani bowling attack is also one of the best in the world.

“Obviously, some of the batting didn’t go according to plan, but that’s the cricket world and other teams are allowed to play well. It was also one of the best bowling attacks in the world so it’s always going to be tough, but I think on the whole the series started off very well with that Test win. Certainly the attitude, the character and the fight shown by that team was very, very pleasing,” he concluded.