Axed from the ODI side on fitness and attitude grounds by the selectors and head coach Chandika Hathurusingha, Angelo Mathews looked leaner and fitter at Galle and Pallekele but while receiving the praise to have overcome those issues and having let his "bat do the talking" with scores of 52, 53, 20 and 88 across four innings, the ex-skipper affirmed that his preparation leading upto this Test series was no different than usual.
Sacked as captain of the national side at the end of island nation's disastrous Asia Cup 2018 campaign, Mathews further received a major blow as Sri Lanka Cricket(SLC) dropped him from the ODI and T20I squads altogether. The board made the decision regarding his fitness issues, for which Mathews was subsequently demanded to pass the yo-yo test before the home Test series against England.
Having passed the stern challenge reaching the standard yo-yo number, Mathews revealed the happy development over social media network, Twitter, on Tuesday, October 15.
Now, after playing one of his best knocks on Day 4 at Pallekele, Mathews when asked whether he was happy with his running between the wickets and fitness, he replied, "You tell me. That's not something that I have told. But people are concerned, and they need to answer that question."
Mathews, who signalled that he was letting his "bat do the talking" when he reached 50 and has now been relieved by Hathurusingha for "making the effort to do things the way we expect", further said, "I have done nothing extraordinary when it comes to preparation, I have been training the same way for the past ten years. I must thank the high-performance centre staff and all the coaches, and the physios and trainers and everyone for providing me all the facilities and looking after me well."
"I concentrated on what I need to do. I didn't concentrate on other things. I prepared myself like I have always prepared. If I get the opportunity I want to score runs."
"My job is to score runs and not worry about other things," he expressed, "Just focus on the game and move forward and not to worry about what other people are saying. If I am honest with myself and If I am doing the thing, that's what matters," before signing off with, "My stats will speak on behalf of me, But they took a decision. I'm disappointed but I can't control it."
(Inputs from ESPNcricinfo)