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'Let entire nation down': Sri Lanka's Mathews apologises

Source: PTI
June 16, 2024 17:03 IST
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Agnelo Matthews

IMAGE: Angelo Mathews reflected on a difficult 2024 T20 World Cup. Photograph: Anushree Fadnavis /Reuters

Sri Lanka's veteran all-rounder Angelo Mathews reflected on a difficult 2024 T20 World Cup and issued an apology to Sri Lanka on behalf of his teammates, saying they were "heartbroken" to have "let the entire nation down".

The 2014 winners succumbed to South Africa on difficult ground in New York before falling to continental rivals Bangladesh in a low-scoring thriller in Dallas. Their other match against Nepal was rained out, effectively eliminating them from contention for the Super 8s with one match remaining.

Their competition has been marked by logistical difficulties. They were one of two teams, along with the Netherlands, slated to play their group games at four different sites, prompting spinner Maheesh Theekshana to remark that the fixture selection was "so unfair". But Mathews, Sri Lanka's most senior player, downplayed their significance.

"Yeah, I think first of all we've let the entire nation down and we are sorry because we've let ourselves down. We never expected this. I mean, we came across a lot of challenges but those are not something to sort of worry about, but, unfortunately, we didn't make the second round," Mathews said in a pre-match press conference.

Sri Lanka will face the Netherlands in St Lucia on Sunday night in a match that is a dead rubber for them. The Netherlands can still qualify for the Super Eight, but they must rely on Nepal to win their first match against a full-member team in Bangladesh, as well as leapfrog Bangladesh in net run rate.


Sri Lanka entered the T20 World Cup after winning three consecutive T20I series since December, and Mathews admitted it was difficult to underperform.

"That's something we regret because [with] the way we played Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, and Bangladesh in Bangladesh, I thought we didn't do justice to our capabilities in this tournament. When you come into a World Cup, you can't take any team lightly but unfortunately, the way we played against those teams just before the World Cup, and then once we came back here and the way we played, obviously the wickets were quite different but we didn't do justice to ourselves," he added.

Mathews, who is now 37 years old, stated that he has made no hard decisions on his white-ball future. He has been a steady presence on the Test side in recent years but was dropped from the limited-overs teams until the current selection committee reinstated him.

"I play every game as if it is my last game. Nothing in life is certain. I'm trying to do whatever I can for the team. I don't have big hopes about the next game, or the next series. I have some time to think about all those things and make a decision. From my side, I haven't settled on anything. The selectors' opinions are needed, more than mine. I'm playing because of the love I have for the sport - whether that's for the national team or my club team," Mathews said.

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