Former Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews admitted after Sri Lanka’s ICC World Cup 2019 match against West Indies that he hadn’t been bowling even in the nets lately and that the ball that got rid of centurion Nicholas Pooran was the first one he bowled in eight months.
“I haven't held the ball for, what, a good eight months and that was the first ball after eight months! Yeah, I mean, we knew that we had to make up two overs,” Mathews told reporters in the ICC mixed zone after the match.
“We couldn't just bowl the spinner towards the end when Pooran was batting beautifully, so I said to the captain, ‘Look, I have a bit of experience, so I'll just try bowling the two overs’”.
He added that Pooran’s effort was an excellent one and that he was glad to have gotten him out at the time since he had been batting well throughout his time at the crease.
“Pooran was the man that we needed to get and, you know, quite fortunate to get him in the first ball before he clobbered me for a few sixes! But yeah, it was a fantastic effort by Pooran.
“He batted all the way through and he nearly got them through, but it was fortunate for us, you know, to get him at the right time.”
Mathews’ bowling has taken a back seat in recent years due to a spate of injury issues; before this game, the last time he bowled internationally was in December 2017.
However, he admitted he is now working on getting back to pulling double duty for the team as soon as possible.
“Yeah, unfortunately, I didn't have the time to build it up. I mean, I need a little bit of time to start bowling and build it up because the body needs to adapt, so it takes a little bit of time.
“Unfortunately, I didn't have enough time to build it up before the World Cup. Glad that I was able to, you know, help the team out bowling a couple of overs today, but I'm trying my best to start bowling as soon as possible going forward.”
The win served as nothing more than a consolation for Sri Lanka, who are already out of contention for the semi-finals.
Mathews admitted that Sri Lanka are disappointed with the way things panned out but are aiming to finish things on a high.
“We're disappointed. We had our chances throughout the tournament. I thought in the Australia game the middle order didn't fire. We had that game in our hands after the brilliant start.
“In the South Africa game, we didn't bat well either so we had our opportunities in the tournament, but unfortunate that, you know, we couldn't reach the semifinals.
“But at least if we can finish off well, that would be a good thing.”