Mathews' confidence has taken a massive battering — Arnold

Russel Arnold responds to questions from fans in his weekly column
May 20, 2013

PhotoWhy did Angelo Mathews give up captaincy of his IPL franchise so soon and was it the right move?Meena Perera

Mathews should never have been Pune captain. Captaincy also means leading with performances and as a cricketer, although he is captain of Sri Lanka, he still has a lot of growing up to do. The pressure of the IPL is different, where getting to know and handling many different egos, personalities and cultures is never easy. Stepping down seems a good decision, but his confidence has taken a massive battering. He will be tested in his career going forward, as he needs to perform first before thinking about getting the best out of the team. There are huge challenges ahead for him and keeping life as simple as possible right now is important.

If you take Rangana Herath out of the equation, who is Sri Lanka's next premier spinner?Chethana

We don't have one. Suraj Randiv and Ajantha Mendis just don't seem to have that zip any longer and Tharindu Kaushal is still a rookie and still only shows potential. Sachithra Senanayake is competing well, but only in the short form, so there is no name I can confidently put out there.

Although Mahela Jayawardene has a great record in Test cricket, his stats show that he has not done well in places like Australia, South Africa and England. For a batsman with a sound technique and a player who has many years of experience, why does he continue to struggle when playing in these countries?Shevantha Vithanage

It is surprising indeed. Mahela is one with a good technique and if you do have a look at his temperament that too is sound. He has toured these countries, but not regularly. Players make the adjustment for different conditions and then you come back home — it's only after a prolonged break that you go back to those different conditions, so it's always a fresh a start once again. Mahela has not been able to adjust both his technique and game plan when away on tour in these countries. He is one who trusts his natural instincts a lot and that could be the barrier in dominating overseas, as the scoring areas and options do differ based on the conditions. Most other batsmen do struggle too, but, yes, I do agree that Mahela has failed to dominate in those countries.

International players make the 'sliding stop' look very easy, but when I try to do it my knee always get stuck in the ground and I topple over. How do I get better at this?Paul Saravanamuttu

Practice of course is what will help you improve. For starters, try practising on a balanced surfaced that is not too dry and not too moist. Once you have more control over maintaining your upper-body position, you will be able to control the slide as you wish. For the slide, it's not your knees that you use, but the side of your thigh/glutes. You should not be landing with your knees — the impact should be on your thigh not knee.

Do you think the new selection panel is making rookie mistakes by including several young players into the squad too soon? Since the new selectors have taken over, we have seen a number of players being included into the national squads. What do you think of this?Wasim Ahamed

No, not at all. Sri Lanka need to find a batch of core players fast and young ones at that. I think it's the ideal time to do so, especially when you look at the schedule. They took the opportunity to give many a feel of being around the national team when playing against Bangladesh, but picked the strongest squad available for the Champions Trophy. I cannot find fault with this ploy.

A lot of people classified Thilan Samaraweera as a 'flat-track bully', but his century in South Africa and now in England in the LV County Championships shows that he can score runs anywhere. He does have poor footwork for a batsman with a great Test record, so my question is then: is footwork really important and why?CT Kumarasinghe

Yes, footwork is important because it does give you more of a chance to tackle challenges, but that does not mean you cannot score or that you can't guarantee success. There are more factors that contribute to success than just footwork. The mental side of the game and your fitness all come into the picture. I believe that you are better served when you look to capitalise on your strengths and work around your weakness like Thilan. He knows his game inside out, but needs to be disciplined in shot selection and that's what he does well. With the shorter game taking focus nowadays, players work on getting themselves on a stable base with their feet, which actually allows you to hit the ball harder than when getting to the pitch of the ball.

Ask Russel Arnold a question »

© Island Cricket


UppercuT's picture
Member since:
19 October 2011
Last activity:
2 years 4 weeks

Don't know if it's wise to 'loose confidence' over a captaincy record in a T20 league(domestic one at that too). I mean they play 'as a group' ONLY 45 days in a year!!! Should treat this a more like entertaintment(WWE??).
If Mathews really has 'lost confidence', he should know better than that!!

Stormy's picture
Member since:
15 January 2011
Last activity:
4 hours 40 min

I would like to think Mathews got his fingers burnt than losing confidence, after all this was not his choice but forced in to it through injury. His form was poor to average at best and that should be of concern. I would also like to think that Mathews will look at this as more a T20 bash and not much more but there are enough scars to cause dramas if he doesnt handle the situation well.

The lack of spinners is a serious concern given SL definitley has no pace bowling talent. I dont understand this! The reason sighted for the lack of pace bolwing is spin friendly wickets and now there arent spinners. There isnt a flood of high scoring batters either. Shouldnt be a surprise given those in charge of SLC are busy looting and petty politics while the game is left to its own.

Mahela just cannot cope with seam and pace. Get the same bowlers at the SSC and he will bat forever. He just hasnt been able to cope with the change in conditions.

The slide in the field - international venues are like billiard tables - a far cry your average domestic field.

Ravana's picture
Member since:
8 July 2010
Last activity:
25 weeks 3 days

No mention of Akila Dhananjaya why ? Is it that Arnold is playing safe as usual ?

Such a waste, this man has forum where he can express straightforward opinions but he chooses to play safe and be conservative in the Rajith Fernando mode.

I guess they don't make Tony Griegs and Ian Chappells anymore !

If Mathews has lost his confidence and both Sanga and Mahela have also followed suit, what are our chances in the champions trophy ?

Has IPL destroyed us once again ?

Anonymous's picture

@Ravana: What if these are his straight forward and honest opinions?? All you guys like is sensationalism not the facts! Sri Lanka is no place for any person to be honest. Those days are long gone! Why dont you protest outside Temple Trees for that since you are such a honest and straight forward guy??

Ravana's picture
Member since:
8 July 2010
Last activity:
25 weeks 3 days

if they seem like honest, straightforward don't know the meaning of the word !

What more can you expect from an "anonymous" poster ??!!

nadeeshand's picture
Member since:
14 January 2010
Last activity:
5 years 15 weeks

Arnold please dont hate on your fellow rival school Angie..

Neo's picture
Member since:
3 April 2011
Last activity:
5 years 8 weeks

SL s chances at the Champions trophy, il go out on a limb here and say its similar to a snow ball's chance in hell.

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