Teams Played For
Sri Lanka, Kolkata Knight Riders, Sri Lanka A, Pune Warriors, Nagenahira Nagas, Basnahira Greens, Delhi Capitals, Kandy, Sri Lanka Board Presidents XI, Dambulla, Delhi Bulls
With the likes of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, and Mahela Jayawardena bolstering the top order for Sri Lanka for several years, the Lions were in search of a genuine all-rounder, who can bat lower down the order and chip in with a few overs with the ball.
In 2008, the Lankans introduced an effervescent youngster named Angelo Mathews in the ODI series against Zimbabwe at Harare.
Earlier, the name of Mathews started doing rounds in the U19 World Cup of 2006. Looking at his talent, the Lankan management made sure that the teenager was drafted in the side at the highest level early in career.
Mathews soon made rapid strides at the international level and booked his berth in the national side in all three formats of the game. He made a mark for himself during his career-best performance of 6/19 against India.
However, Mathews became a household name during the 2009 T20 World Cup in England where he plucked an incredible catch on the ropes. During the tournament, where Sri Lanka reached the final but faced defeat against their Asian rivals Pakistan, the all-rounder played an integral part in the Sri Lankan campaign.
He was part of the 4M’s for the Lions in the coveted multilateral competition featuring Muttiah Muralitharan, Angelo Mendis and Lasith Malinga.
From there on, Angelo grew leaps and bounds in stature as an all-rounder in all formats of the game. He was bagged by the Delhi Daredevils, Kolkata Knight Riders and the now-defunct Pune Warriors India in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Due to his tactical acumen and composure, Mathews was handed the captaincy of the Sri Lankan team in 2013, taking over from Jayawardena.
With the Sri Lankan heavyweights retiring one by one, the onus was on Angelo Matthews to lead the pack during a tumultuous transition phase. Angelo did justice to his duty by leading from the front.
During one of the games against Australia, chasing 240, Lankans were certainly looking at defeat with the score reading at 107-8. He then scored 77 and stitched a match-winning partnership of 132 with Lasith Malinga for the ninth wicket to pull off an improbable victory for Sri Lanka.
The year 2014 was memorable for Matthews and Sri Lankan cricket. They won the 2014 T20 World Cup and the Asia Cup. Mathews notched up consecutive tons in the bilateral ties in England, at Lord’s and Headingley, helping Sri Lanka win their maiden Test series in England. Sri Lanka also won the ODI series 3-2 subsequently.
A poor show in the 2015 World Cup and perennial battle with injury saw Mathews receive a substantial amount of flak. A loss at home against Zimbabwe was the final nail in the coffin for Sri Lanka, who was undergoing a difficult transition period.
Mathews had to give up his captaincy following the humiliating defeat against Zimbabwe in 2017. Ever since the 33-year old has struggled to cope with his injury concerns but remains a revered all-rounder in world cricket today.
(As of January 2021)