Here are a few extracts from the interview of former Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews conducted by Mr. Chamila Karawita behalf of Sri Lanka Cricket on 2019.11.22
Question – How did you spend your free-time after the Test matches vs New Zealand to polish your skills?
A – I mainly used those two and a half months’ time to improve my fitness levels. I practiced hard on my batting as well as bowling skills too. It’s been two and a half months since I started bowling again.
Q – Sri Lanka’s next international assignment is against Pakistan; Sri Lanka’s first Test tour in Pakistan after 10 years. How is your preparation?
A – I have prepared well for this tour though the practice time was limited. As a team, we didn’t start out training yet. But as individuals, we have trained separately. Yes, it’s been 10 years since we last toured Pakistan for a Test series, but our teams have gone there after 2009 for T20I & ODI series twice and as an individual, I’m ready for this tour.
Q – You are the most senior player in the Test team among a lot of young faces. Is it extra pressure for you?
A – Pressure is common for every player regardless of his debut or last match. But once you have experience, the pressure on you will get reduced as you will remember how to react to those situations. If you have done something wrong, you’ll know what to correct next time. But people expect a lot from you once you are a senior player. you just have to give your maximum every time without thinking about those things.
Q – How about the ODI matches?
A – Actually, there’s no difference at all. There will always be pressure as I usually come to bat in the middle order. But a player must adjust his style according to different scenarios. As a senior player, it is my responsibility to help out younger players while guiding the team to the victory.
Q – You have many years ahead of you to continue your cricket career. What are your future goals?
A – It’s like this. My aim is to play until the 2023 World Cup. I am keen to maintain my fitness levels at best in the coming years. But I’m not going to look far ahead. I can’t control injuries. But I am determined to be fit as ever. I consider representing my country as much as possible as a great honor. I’ll look at it year by year. My main target is the 2023 Cricket World Cup.
Q – You entered the team as a valuable all-rounder. But now you are contributing only in the batting department?
A – I played almost all the matches for Sri Lanka as an all rounder in 2012-2016. I was young and didn’t care much about resting. Now I know the importance of rest while playing. I couldn’t bowl recently but I’m gradually training to start bowling again.
Q – It’s going to be a busy year ahead for Sri Lanka after the Pakistan tour as there are more than 30 international matches scheduled. How do you coop with this situation if you are planning to contribute to the team as an all-rounder?
A – I’m planning to bowl only in T20I matches in the distant future. I don’t want to be too ambitious. I had a chat with the selection committee too and decided to play as a genuine batsman in ODIs and Test matches and to play as an all rounder in T20Is. We have an important T20 World Cup in 2020. So that’s the plan so far.
Q – How do you build the rhythm to bowl in international matches after not bowling for years?
A – When I started bowling again in the nets, most of the practices got washed out due to rain. But we are professional players and we must be prepared for every situation. During the past 2 months, I worked hard on bowling and will continue to do the same.