After sidelining himself from the action earlier this year, Angelo Mathews has written to Sri Lanka Cricket, confirming his availability for selection in the national side again, ESPNcricinfo mentioned in a report.
Mathews last turned out for Sri Lanka in early May, 2021 before a month-long tussle with the board related to the national contracts. The 34-year-old was hurt at the treatment handed out to him and other senior cricketers by SLC as it offered them contracts with a significant pay cut and no clear details given on how the new contract list was arrived at.
ESPNcricinfo reported, “under the central contracts offered by the board, Mathews was set to take a pay cut in the range of USD 50,000 (LKR 99,50,000 approx).”
And though the stand-off was later resolved, Mathews had kept himself unavailable to be picked in all formats. There were speculations that the cricketer may even opt to retire from international cricket because of the rift with the board.
Before the standoff was cleared, Sri Lanka dropped senior players such as Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal and Dimuth Karunaratne from the limited-overs set-up and further weakened an inexperienced side by taking excessive offence to a bio-secure breach in the UK and banning Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis.
But since then, Chandimal has returned to the national fold and Karunaratne is expected to get back in the side as well when Sri Lanka next play Test cricket.
If Mathews also returns, his first assignment on comeback will be the home series in November against West Indies, which precedes the second edition of the Lanka Premier League in December.
Mathews has played 90 Tests, 218 ODIs and 78 T20Is for Sri Lanka with over 12,000 runs and nearly 200 wickets at the international level.
In the absence of senior players like him, Sri Lanka will be entering the coming T20 World Cup in the preliminary round and take on Namibia, Ireland and the Netherlands. A failure to make the top 2 in Group A will mean a first-round exit, which would be one of Sri Lanka’s most embarrassing results on the field.