Captaincy in IPL more challenging: Matthews

All-rounder says Pune gifted away a number of matches.

Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown, wrote an old bard by the name of William Shakespeare in the 16th century.

Ask any modern-day cricket captain and none will disagree.

With every performance coming under tight scrutiny and careers written off at the stroke of a pen, the task of a captain can sometimes be doubly dangerous. He not only has to take the right decisions but also play the right way.

Any slack in either of the two responsibilities and the world will come gunning for the captain’s head. But some cool lads like Sri Lanka all-rounder Angelo Mathews want to disregard the hullaballoo associated with a skipper getting dropped for non-performance.

"One should not be ashamed or embarrassed when a captain has to sit out if he doesn’t deliver.

If you are not doing well as a player, you have to give opportunity to someone who is in form. You always have to try for the best combination,” Mathews told Mail Today. The 25-year-old is currently playing in the Indian Premier League and recently stepped down from the captaincy of Pune Warriors India after a string of poor performances, both from the team as well as himself.

"It was in the best interest of the team. I could not play some of the matches and in my absence we had two captains -Aaron Finch and Ross Taylor. In leadership, you can’t be moving things around too much. So, I thought it was best to have that continuity and consistency and stepped down,” he said.

Going back a few months, India captain MS Dhoni too was criticised and doubts were raised about his place in the team after a string of poor performances.

"There is a lot of pressure on you as a player because cricket is a game where you get criticised.

You need to have a balanced mind and work towards consistency,” Mathews said.

He agreed that captaining a team in IPL, which is based on a 'club’ concept, comes with its fresh set of challenges.

"It’s not easy.

When I am captaining Sri Lanka, I know all the players.

But here you have seen most of them but you don’t know the domestic players,” he said. "We have got some really talented players. It’s just that we haven’t delivered but it has been a great experience captaining Pune Warriors.” Mathews, who was made the Test and ODI captain of the Lankan team in February, said that had things gone Pune Warriors’ way in one or two matches, they would not have been at the ninth spot in the IPL. "We have done pretty well in some games and in few others we could have gone through easily. It’s just that we gifted away the match either with the bat or the ball. One mistake can cost you the game,” he said.

Regarding the issue on Sri Lankan players being barred from playing in Chennai, Mathews said: "It’s a sensitive matter, to be honest.

It’s not an issue between the two countries otherwise you wouldn’t have seen us playing in the IPL. It’s sad that we are not able to play in Chennai.” The Champions Trophy in June will be Mathews’s first big assignment as national captain and he says the team’s first aim is to reach the semi-finals. "Our first goal is to enter the semi-finals. We are playing in a strong group. We have New Zealand, Australia and England.

We will give it our best shot in the Champions Trophy.” Mathews, who is quite young for a captain, added he needs the support of the seniors in order to perform well.

"It’s a great honour to captain such a wonderful country. My personal ambition is to try and get the team in the top three in Tests and ODIs. We are doing well in the T20 format too and are ranked No. 1 so hopefully we will be there,” he said.

"Seniors are important part of the team. Dilshan, Mahela and Sanga have always been there.

They always give full support in helping out the youngsters. So they make it easier for me. I want them to continue at least till the next World Cup.”

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