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Sri Lanka Drop 'Scapegoat' Mathews for England ODIs

| September 27, 2018, 12:57 AM IST

Colombo: Sri Lanka's sacked skipper Angelo Mathews was dropped Wednesday from the ODI and T20 squads against England after he accused the board of making him a scapegoat for the team's Asia Cup debacle.

The 31-year-old all-rounder was not included in the 15-man squad for the five one-day internationals and the one-off T20 against England beginning on October 10.

Cricket officials said fitness concerns forced them to drop Mathews. However, he was retained in the Test squad, officials said.

"I have been made the scapegoat in this entire saga of Sri Lanka's dismal performance against Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the Asia Cup," Mathews said in a letter to Sri Lanka Cricket after he was sacked earlier this week as ODI and T20 captain.

“I’m willing to take part of the blame but at the same time, feel betrayed and let down if the blame is solely put on me,” Mathews wrote.

“As you know all decisions are taken through the mutual understanding with Selectors and the Head Coach. And though I do not agree with the reasoning that the losses should be carried single-handedly to the Captaincy, I however eagerly and wholeheartedly respect the request of the selection committee and the head coach asking me to step down and do so with immediate effect.

“I wish to put it on record that though Sri Lanka had suffered these heavy defeats in the Asia Cup, which is shocking to say the least, especially in the backdrop where we had a reasonable series against South Africa, I had no intention of quitting and running away from the issues at hand especially owing to the World Cup being a dozen games away.”

The board said it asked Mathews to step down and allow Dinesh Chandimal to lead Sri Lanka against England in all three formats of the game.

The sacking followed Sri Lanka's drubbing in the Asia Cup, with losses to lower-ranked Afghanistan and Bangladesh ensuring its quick exit from the competition.

Sri Lanka squad: Dinesh Chandimal, Upul Tharanga, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Niroshan Dikwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Akila Dhananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Lasith Malinga, Amila Aponso, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha and Kusal Perera.

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