After the Sri Lanka all-rounder became the first international cricketer to be ‘timed out’ for not being ready to face the ball within two minutes of the fall of a wicket, Mathews hit out at Bangladesh over their ‘disgraceful’ actions at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi.
“I haven’t done anything wrong. I had two minutes to get ready which I did but there was an equipment malfunction and I don’t know where commonsense (had) gone. It was disgraceful from Shakib and Bangladesh,” Mathews said during the post-match press conference.
“If they want to play cricket like that, stoop to that level, it is something wrong drastically. If I got late, past my two minutes and the law says I have to get ready in two minutes, I still had five more seconds to go.
“It was just pure commonsense, I am not saying (doing) ‘Mankading’ or obstructing the field here, It is absolutely disgraceful.”
The dramatic dismissal happened in the 25th over of the Lankan innings when the 36-year-old walked out to bat after the dismissal of Sadeera Samarawickrama but found that the helmet strap was broken and immediately signalled for a replacement instead of facing the bowler Shakib Al Hasan.
This prompted Bangladesh to appeal for a ‘time out’. Mathews was seen having an animated discussion with umpire Marais Erasmus and Richard Illingworth, explaining that he had some issue with the helmet strap. He also approached Shakib, who didn’t withdraw his appeal and the Sri Lankan cricketer was forced to leave the field.
A furious Mathews, who made a late entry into the World Cup as a replacement player, walked back to the dug out, smashing his helmet outside the boundary rope in disgust.
Mathews’ dismissal added another chapter to the bitter rivalry between the two teams when he was timed out, the first instance in international cricket across formats.
After the game, the Lankan players avoided shaking hands with the Bangladesh counterparts, which Mathews defended saying, ‘we’ll respect them if they respect us’.
“You want to respect people who respect us. We are all ambassadors of this beautiful game. If you don’t respect and use your commonsense then what more you can ask for,” he said on why Sri Lankan players did not shake hands with their opponents after the match.
“Until today I had utmost respect for him (Shakib) and Bangladesh team, obviously we all play to win and if it is within rules it is fine. But within two minutes I was there…we have video evidence. We will bring out a statement later. I am talking with proof from the time the catch was taken and then I got to the crease,” Mathews said.
“We talk about player safety. So, should I have played without my helmet on? So the umpires had a bigger job, they could have checked upstairs. Even wicketkeepers don’t open their helmet. It is commonsense. It was complete equipment malfunction.
“In my 15 years, I have never seen a team going down to this level. Obviously umpires could have checked upstairs (with the TV umpire). I’m not saying that if I would have been there I would have won the match.
“We need to have commonsense, it was clearly a malfunction. I didn’t pull it (strap) and break it. I was in complete shock. Unfortunately it happens with Bangladesh. I don’t think any other team would do that.
“Shakib had the option, they knew it was not time wasting. He had the choice (to not approach the umpires) but he decided to go the other way.”
When Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hasan was asked if he had any regrets about his decision to appeal, he said, “No, not at all. I mean, one of our fielders came to me and said if you go by the law, he’s out because he had not taken guard within the time-frame.
“So then I appealed to the umpire. We played Under-19 World Cup together, so I know Angelo for a long time since 2006. Yeah, I’m better within the rules.”
Asked if it was against the spirit of cricket, Shakib retorted back, “Well, then ICC should change the rules.”
Asked what Mathews told him when the incident happened, Shakib said, “He came and asked me whether I will withdraw my appeal or not. I said, ‘you know, I understand your situation’. It was unfortunate, but I don’t want to.”
World Cup 2023: Bangladesh secures 3 wickets victory over Sri Lanka
Bangladesh went on to win the ill-tempered game by 3 wickets, chasing down 280 with 53 balls to spare.
(With inputs from PTI)
Watch World Cup 2023: Angelo Mathews becomes first ever player to be timed out in cricket | Sri Lanka vs Bangladesh