Angelo Mathews. File Photo
The injury troubles of Angelo Mathews is continuing to hurt Sri Lanka as their white-ball captain has been ruled out of the two-match T20I series in Bangladesh. Last month, the 30-year-old was announced as Sri Lanka's limited-overs captain till the 2019 World Cup. However, Mathews returned home early from the tour of Bangladesh with a right hamstring injury that has continued to hurt him since January last year.
Chairman of selectors Graeme Labrooy told Cricubzz that Mathews will not take part in the series. Test captain Dinesh Chandimal, who took over the captaincy from Mathews half-way through the tri-nation series in Bangladesh, will lead the team in the two games.
The last time Chandimal played in a T20 International was more than a year ago in a similar scenario as Mathews picked up a hamstring injury during the tour of South Africa. It was a disappointing tour for Sri Lanka as they were whitewashed 3-0 in Tests and 5-0 in ODIs. However, Chandimal captained the side to a series win in the shortest format.
"We don't want to risk Angelo for just two games. Our plan is now to bring him for next month's tri-nation Nidhas Trophy at home," Labrooy told Cricbuzz. The tournament that will be played to celebrate Sri Lanka's 70th Independence Anniversary next month will involve India and Bangladesh and will be played at Colombo's R. Premadasa Stadaium.
Meanwhile, fast bowler Lasith Malinga is unlikely to feature in the Bangladesh T20Is, although the selectors are hopeful that he will make a comeback for Nidhas Trophy.
The 34-year-old missed out on international cricket for close to two years due to a knee injury before making a comeback during Champions Trophy last June. Since his return, Malinga has featured in 13 ODIs and has taken just 10 wickets at an average of 62. After a poor home series against India, he was dropped for the tours of UAE and India. However, he has done reasonably well in T20Is since the injury, having taken 12 wickets in six games. However, his economy rate has been high at 8.25.
There has been concerns about Malinga's fitness as well and Labrooy said that the fast bowler has been asked to play domestic cricket to be considered for selection for Nidhas Trophy.
"Once he plays domestic cricket we will consider him. We have sent a message not just to Lasith but all players to feature in domestic games. I know it is not ideal when we have a First Class tournament going on and you are considered a T-20 specialist. However, to be in the system, you have to feature in domestic cricket," Labrooy added.
The last time Malinga played a domestic game was more than a month ago when he turned up for Nondescripts Cricket Club (NCC) against Tamil Union in the Premier League tournament. NCC won the game by ten wickets, but Malinga bowled only ten overs in the game.