Hailing for St Joseph’s College, the self proclaimed "Superman" has been the talk of the town as of late. With 90 ODI’s and 36 T20’s and the experience of U-19 Captaincy under his the belt, how well equipped is this all-rounder to lead us to Australia/New Zealand 2015?
We need to have a look back at our former captains and see what they brought to the table. Arjuna Ranatunga, possibly the "Malcom X" to Sri lankan cricket, fierce, cut-throat and an ODI average of 35.84 made him one of the most notable leaders we had to grace the cricket field. Next comes the "Master Blaster". Never really liked Jayasuriya as a captain but the destructiveness made up for that fact, hence the Lankan household saying "If Jayasuriya’s out then Sri lanka’s out". Then walks in Mahela Jayawardena (Yes, I left Attapathu out on purpose). Hailed as a General in the field, he brought the tactical mind needed in Sri lanka as well as methodical thinking. Along with his gracefully bating, I, to this day consider him our best captain. I felt that Sangakkara, who eventhought did very well, will always be a specialist batsman in my mind. And then comes Dishan. Well, lets just say I assume he thought captaincy goes well with his beard. So this brings me to my question, what can Angelo Mathews bring to the table? How can he manage and lead a side with the likes Dimuth Karunarathne, Thirimanne and Chandimal? Can he be the sound voice in mid-on, giving adive to a Dananjaya or a Shaminda Eranga? Will he be able to fight for the recognition of talent such as Niroshan Dickwella and Angelo Perera?
Sure he lead the Nagenahira Naga’s to a SLPL final. But with most of our seniors players, notably Sanga, Mahela, Dilshan, considering retirement, how capable is Mathews to handle the mantle of captaincy? He absolutely deserves a place in any ODI squad, but has he earned the right to lead our national side?
With no ODI hundred and decent medium pace bowling, are we going to have a "Darren Sammy" as our skipper? And Sammy proved himself at the recent T20 World Cup, only after heavy scrutiny and pressure. Can Mathews handle this or will he crumble and possibly waste that crutial all-rounder’s spot with Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis and Maharoof, all wanting in. The sad fact is that, it doesn’t seem like we’ve got anybody else to take over our captaincy but is that enough reason to hand it over to 25 year old with a few good knocks under his belt? Is this going to be another 39 year old Jayasuriya situation, where he plays one good knock and is cemented a place for 10 matches? I really don’t see how Mathews can lead us, especially and such a stage in Sri lankan cricket, where the youngster are making the core of the team. It’s even more unfortunate that Jayawardena is stepping down, being our best hope to pave the way for the youngster.
Will "Superman" prove me wrong or are we up for a dark period in Sri lankan Cricket?