Mathews steps down as SL skipper after Zimbabwe debacle; Chandimal, Tharanga to lead
Sri Lankan cricket captain Angelo Mathews has stepped down amid intense criticism over his side's series defeat to bottom-ranked Zimbabwe on home soil, an official said Wednesday.
Mathews met with chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya to discuss his future with the team before a one-off Test against Zimbabwe beginning Friday, said an official with Sri Lanka's cricket board.
"He has quit the captaincy from all three forms of the game," the official said on condition on anonymity, referring to Test, one-day international and twenty20 formats of cricket.
An official announcement of Mathews' resignation was expected later Wednesday, the official added.
Mathews took the brunt of the criticism levelled at Sri Lanka's cricketers in the aftermath of their 3-2 series loss at home to minnows Zimbabwe on Monday.
Mathews described the shock defeat as a low point in his career and a "hard pill to swallow".
It compounded woes for the struggling side, which entered the series without a coach after Graham Ford's sudden exit following their poor showing in the Champions Trophy last month.
Sri Lanka's sports minister delivered the squad an ultimatum after that performance, ordering players get in shape or face the boot after declaring them unfit to compete on the world stage.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka appointed two new captains to replace Angelo Mathews.
Dinesh Chandimal will lead the Test side while Upul Tharanga will captain in limited-overs matches, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said.
The reshuffle caps a turbulent period for the beleaguered Sri Lankan side, whose loss to Zimbabwe followed a fitness and coaching crisis and an early departure from the Champions Trophy.
"Mathews tendered his resignation a short while ago this morning," said SLC chief Thilanga Sumathipala said.
"We want to regroup and restructure and move forward."
Mathews said he took the blame for Sri Lanka's recent woes, and was making room so his successor could prepare the side for the World Cup in 2019.
"There were times when I wanted to step down, but I did not want to let the team down at that time because there were no replacements as such," he told reporters.
"But I feel this is the right time. The team's interests supercede my interests. My honest opinion is that there are candidates who can take over the reins."
Mathews bore the brunt of the criticism levelled at Sri Lanka's cricketers in the aftermath of their 3-2 series loss at home to minnows Zimbabwe on Monday.
Mathews described the shock defeat as lowest point in his career and a "hard pill to swallow".