Angelo Mathews © Getty Images
Angelo Mathews © Getty Images

With the yoeman service that Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have provided to Sri Lankan cricket for over a decade and half, it would be difficult to find their replacements overnight, feels Angelo Mathews. Mahela Jayawardene to work for grassroot development of cricket in Sri Lanka

“The retirement of Mahela Jayawardene and impending one of Kumar Sangakkara will certainly create a vacuum. It takes a bit of time for sure to fill up the void created by them,” Sri Lankan captain Mathews told PTI in an interview today. Kumar Sangakkara shines for Surrey as Kevin Pietersen fails

For the Lankan skipper, the biggest challenge will be to see through the transition phase. “It will be a challenge as a captain to see through a transition phase. I am pretty sure there are some talented youngsters, who will adapt to the situation. We have four years of time till next World Cup and hopefully the transition phase will be complete by then,” the Delhi Daredevils all-rounder added. Sri Lanka’s sports minister urges Kumar Sangakkara to reconsider his retirement decision

Mathews, who has been playing an important role for Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League, singled out Shreyas Iyer as a “special talent” among Indian youngsters. “I am not saying this because he is playing for Delhi Daredevils but as soon as I saw Shreyas, I thought there is something special in this boy. He [Shreyas] has the ability to play fearless cricket against international bowlers upfront. Kumar Sangakkara confident about Sri Lanka’s future after ODI retirement

He is in a different league among the youngsters and I knew while training with him for couple of weeks,” Mathews said praising the 20-year-old Mumbai youngster.

Asked if he is plotting his (Shreyas’) downfall in international cricket very soon, Mathews smiled and said, “Yeah probably, I will have to plan about him as he is a tremendous talent”. Angelo Mathews can overtake Sachin Tendulkar, feels Sri Lanka’s outgoing cricket manager

“When I came into the side, there were players like Mahela, Sanga, Murali [Muttiah Muralitharan], Vaas [Chaminda] and Sanath Jayasuriya. They created a beautiful dressing room culture where juniors where accepted with open arms. Sanga and Mahela have served Sri Lankan cricket with distinction and we are all thankful to them. I consider myself lucky to have played alongside them,” said Mathews, who has played 46 Tests, 156 ODIs and 54 T20 Internationals,” he added. Delhi Daredevils confident of turnaround in IPL, asserts Angelo Mathews

After retirement of Jacques Kallis, Mathews is considered to be one of the top seam bowling all-rounders in world cricket alongside Shane Watson. Asked if there is a dearth of seamer all-rounders in world cricket, Mathews named two cricketers, who he feels will do well in future.

“I won’t be able to honestly tell you why there is a dearth of seam bowling all-rounders in international cricket but Corey Anderson of New Zealand and Chris Jordan of England are two youngsters, who will do well, in the years to come,” observed Mathews.

For Mathews, an all-rounder’s biggest advantage is the availability of a “second chance” which a specialist batsman or a bowler does not get. “An all-rounder has work doubly hard than a batsman or a bowler but it also means that he has a second chance to come back in the match. You can fail in batting but can make it up with bowling. That’s a challenge. An all-rounder is a player, who would always look to create an opportunity for his team,” Mathews said.