Mathews loses his modesty? | Sunday Observer

Mathews loses his modesty?

Kusal Mendis watches his former captain Angelo Mathews do dips and push-ups in a strange scenario during the concluded first cricket Test against New Zealand in Wellington
Kusal Mendis watches his former captain Angelo Mathews do dips and push-ups in a strange scenario during the concluded first cricket Test against New Zealand in Wellington

One of Sri Lanka’s least troublesome sportsmen, if not the good-guy imaged Angelo Mathews, could be fast losing out on his modest identity which he has up to now jealously guarded only to let it all crash out in apparently settling a score with his coach Chandika Hathurusinha during the concluded first cricket Test against New Zealand in Wellington this week.

A large following of Sri Lankans could not believe their eyes when they saw the dusky good boy of Sri Lanka cricket make what was somewhat of an embarrassing gesture by producing what some call dips or push-ups on the pitch after painstakingly reaching a century in the presence of his under-study Kusal Mendis who was only an impish schoolboy when Mathews graduated to the Sri Lanka team.

While some may applaud Mathews for replying Hathurusinha in what they would call a fitting manner for ditching him from the limited overs team on physical fitness grounds, many others who have followed him closely could be biting their nails to figure out what made their idol with a well disciplined upbringing stoop down to such a low level to prove a point.

“I always thought that Angelo was the kind of person that Sri Lanka needed if you take some of the sportsmen and women we have had in the past. But what he did was not what I wanted to see. On the field his job is to bat and score runs not to show us how he trains in the gym. I hope it will be the last time he has done this”, said one fan, Ajith Liyanage who told the Sunday Observer he watched every ball that Mathews faced during his unbeaten 120.

The biggest fear, in an age when sport is about life itself and no longer about who won the match, is that some sportsmen have become over emotional unbecoming of their professional obligations while abusing their celebrity status and setting the wrong example for the younger generation by their pantomime gestures on the field of play.

Early this month a football player representing Tottenham in the high stakes English Premier League was yellow-carded after he scored a goal and kept his finger on his lips in a sarcastic gesture against Arsenal and their supporters.

Mathews by his sideshow has created more curiosity about himself and could come under more scrutiny for the rest of his career.

But former Sri Lanka fast bowler and head selector Graeme Labrooy contrary to what others may think is having the last laugh that their fitness formula for Mathews had worked.

“I am very happy to say that we (former selection committee and Hathurusinha) challenged him to prove his fitness and he achieved something out of it. Before this I have never seen him work so hard on his fitness. It benefitted the team”, said Labrooy.

He referred to Mathews’ gesture as something to do with what he called “borderline ethics”.

The world governing body for cricket too has set in place a players’ Charter where abuse and misbehaviour are strictly noted and miscreants taken to task. But never has a cricketer been charged for gesturing towards the dressing room where sits his coach and team-mates in a manner that is not akin to a celebration of a batting milestone, wicket or catch.

It is also unlikely that Mathews will have to officially answer to his employer Sri Lanka Cricket, but the former captain who had the knack to endear to fans will now find himself continuously under the microscope to prove himself each time he goes out to play which could be harder for him than he would have made it for Hathurusinha. 

Comments