Players have had worse careers, of course, and only a fool would turn their nose up at 356 international appearances, a Test batting average of 44 and a World T20 winners medal. But Mathews arrives at this World Cup as a pariah of Sri Lankan cricket. There is a feeling of unfulfillment: a sense of fate going awry.
A kid destined to captain is a captain no more and may never be again. The seam-bowling all-rounder is now simply a batsman, his bowling stripped away by his own body. The golden boy has lost his lustre and been robbed of his shine.