Angelo Mathews, the youngest all rounder in the Sri Lanka cricket team is an inspiration to our youth. At 22, the talented youngster excels in batting, bowling and fielding often giving us cause to “whoop,” with his acrobatic displays in fielding.
Born on June 2, 1987, Angelo attended St. Joseph’s College and took to cricket akin to a ‘duck to water,’ as the epithet goes proving his mettle in every game. His skills were primarily honed at home and school, never having gone to any private institutions for specialized training. He captained the school U13, U-15, U-16 and U-19 cricket teams, thereby earning the honour as the ‘Most Outstanding Cricketer.’
He received the 2006 Prince of Wales Trophy by Dominic Chilcott, the erstwhile British High Commissioner, who said; “He is clearly going places and before long will be a household name throughout the cricketing world!” Subsequently, Angelo captained the Sri Lanka Under-19 team, the Sri Lanka Development squad team and thereafter secured a spot in the National team and continues to hold forte as a formidable player.
‘The Island’: Is it tough being the youngest player in the team?
Angelo: No, as I am treated as an equal by the others. There is no favouritism. It is a team effort and each player is required to play their role effectively, irrespective of age or seniority levels.
‘The Island’: How do you handle criticism?
Angelo: Positively! Any criticism is constructive and I strive to improve but if its mere gossip, I ignore it.
‘The Island’: What is your career aspiration?
Angelo: To be The Best All Rounder in the cricketing sphere and play as much cricket as I could muster. ‘The Island’: Who are your role models?
Angelo: Andrew Flintoff for his exemplary levels of performance as an all rounder and Kumar Sangakakara for his excellence in batting.
‘The island’: A memorable moment as a National team player?
Angelo: Preventing…from scoring a six at the T20 by pushing the ball forward, going over the line, getting back and catching it again! It was instinctive and thrilling!
‘The Island’: What’s your modus operandi?
Angelo: To keep practicing all year through, irrespective of it being in or off season. Through that I strive to be consistent in the game. To the query about his support network, Angelo refers to his father, Tyronne Mathews as his tower of strength. “It was my father who played a mammoth role in my cricketing life, backing me at every opportunity, accompanying me to practices at school etc. I am also grateful to my mother Monica, who
is equally supportive, my first coach Kapila Manohara, coach Jerome Jayaratne and other coaches who have and continue to mould me, Fr.Rector and the teachers of SJC. I am also grateful to my present coach, the players in the National team and a host of others.”
‘The Island’: What is your message to youngsters who wish to tread a similar path?’
Angelo: In order to excel in any sphere, one must sacrifice a great deal and have a sense of purpose. It is essential to focus on the path one wishes to tread without being distracted.