Mathews is struggling with the bat in Tests — Arnold

Russel Arnold responds to questions from fans in his weekly column
March 24, 2013

PhotoHow has Angelo Mathews handled captaincy thus far? Is he struggling in Test cricket and is his place under threat if he does not continue to deliver with the bat in Tests?Harshajith and Asanka Mallawarachchi

I think he has done well, especially when you consider captaincy alone. Angelo reads the game well; he has been proactive, unafraid to make changes and he is not afraid to experiment. I'm happy with what I saw, but I'm not so thrilled about the approach and attitude going into the Test series, which we can't blame Angelo for. The instructions given to the curator for the Galle pitch and the placid nature of it, for example. I agree that Angelo is struggling with the bat in Tests and he will need to perform to keep his place in the side. It's always easier to lead from the front with solid performances from the captain. The last thing a team needs is a captain under pressure.

There have been many opinions on an incident involving Lasith Malinga and a journalist. His response to a journalist during the contract crisis did not go down well, what is your opinion on the incident?
Shane De Zoysa

Initially, I made nothing of it and thought it was funny. He is an important cog in Sri Lanka's wheel and an international sporting icon, so people are looking for reasons to nail him. I also saw Sanath use a very similar tone but nothing was made of it.

Who is your favourite cricket commentator?Marlon Jayaratna

My favourite commentator is Bill Lawry.

Were there any players you would have liked to see included in the T20 squad for the solitary T20 against Bangladesh?Iraj Wickramarathne

When looking at the squad, you realise that the following players will eventually make up the T20 side: Kushal Perera, Dilshan Munaweera, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Angelo Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Sachithra Senanayake and Shaminda Eranga. The rest of the squad have been brought in to give them a feel of things, therefore, there's no point in analysing beyond the playing XI because this is for just one T20 game.

There seems to be an obvious trend, where almost all the incoming players to the Sri Lankan side are from only four main clubs: NCC, SSC, Tamil Union and Colts. It appears that performances of players in other clubs are being constantly ignored. What do you have to say about this?Randika Fernando

I don't think that this is the case. No matter what club you're from, it's going to be tough to get into the Sri Lankan side right now because the best players in the country are in the Sri Lankan side. The selection policy should not be focusing on picking players from each club, but picking the best players no matter what club they come from.

Why do so many Sri Lankan batsmen wear so much of protective gear? They wear chest guards and arm guards even on slow, low pitches and even when facing bowlers who are not express pace. Why is that? Is it because they fear getting hit, or is it a habit?Ashan Janaka

The bounce on wickets in Sri Lanka tends to be unpredictable, so it becomes hard for batsmen to trust the bounce. If the protective gear is available, you are better off using it than risk an injury.

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Anonymous's picture

Mathews while I agree has not set the world on fire with the bat in Tests still has the 2nd best AVG (42) in tests over the last two years amongst those that have played 10 Tests or more in the said period.

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