Colombo: Angelo Mathews says criticism of his batting from Sri Lanka's chief selector won't affect him as he prepares to lead the side against New Zealand in a one-off Twenty20 next Tuesday.
Mathews said on Friday that it's only chief selector Ashantha de Mel's personal opinion that the allrounder has lost his power shots and has been reduced to reverse and paddle sweeps to score runs.
Mathews was bowled as he tried to sweep West Indies captain Darren Sammy in the World Twenty20 final this month, a dismissal which contributed to Sri Lanka's defeat by 36 runs, chasing a modest 137.
"People have different opinions and they shouldn't get into me," Mathews said, though he accepted he played a poor shot to get out in the final.
Mathews was named captain of the Twenty20 team for one year starting with the New Zealand match after Mahela Jayawardene resigned following the World Twenty20 defeat. Fast bowler Lasith Malinga was appointed his deputy for the same period and their continuity will depend on an evaluation.
Mathews said he was excited at being named captain. He'd learned from Jayawardene as his deputy, and stood in for him at times. New Zealand allrounder Jacob Oram said his team has a number of youngsters but said experienced players like him will give the team balance.
"We are here to win, we have enough talent and I hope the talent comes out at the right time," he said.
Batsman Tom Latham, spinner Ronnie Hira and seam bowler Adam Milne have played just 14 matches between them. Sri Lanka has added uncapped 19-year-old offspiner Tharindu Kaushal to its squad for the first three of a five-match one-day international series that follows the Twenty20. Kaushal extends Sri Lanka's list of mystery spinners, and Mathews said the selectors were of the opinion that he should be experimented in the home series.
Kaushal was the highest wicket-taker for Sri Lanka in this year's Under-19 World Cup with 11 wickets. Kaushal, like Akila Dananjaya, another spin bowler who made his debut in the World Twenty20, is likely to make his international entry with no first-class experience.
Dananjaya, who performed well in the World Twenty20, has been called up for his maiden ODI series.