Mathews on timed-out dismissal: 'Never seen a team or a player stoop so low'

Mathews on timed-out dismissal: 'Never seen a team or a player stoop so low'

In almost certainly the most explosive press conferences of his career, Angelo Mathews called the actions of rival team captain Shakib Al Hasan and the Bangladesh team “obviously disgraceful.” He said he had “never seen a team or player fall so low” in his 15 years of playing international cricket.

It was “unfortunate” that his helmet strap broke in a match against Bangladesh because he doesn’t think “any other team would do that,” he added.

This was all in response to Shakib appealing a “time limit” dismissal against Mathews and winning that decision, which meant Mathews was out without facing a ball. Mathews had reached the batting crease and was preparing to face Shakib’s pitch when the strap on his helmet broke while he was trying to tighten it. Mathews then asked for a replacement helmet, but as it took some time for it to arrive, it was delivered upon Bangladesh’s appeal, approximately three minutes and 20 seconds after Sadeera Samarawickrama was dismissed.

The ICC playing conditions stipulate that the new batsman must be “ready to receive the ball” within two minutes of dismissal. The helmet strap broke about one minute and 55 seconds after Samarawickrama completed the catch, just as Mathews was making his final preparations to face Shakib, although he had not yet taken guard.

“It was obviously a disgrace on the part of Shakib and Bangladesh,” Mathews said. “If they want to take grounds like that and stoop to that level, something is wrong, drastically.

“It is very disappointing the way Bangladesh played. If I was obstructing the field, there is no problem. Within two minutes I was in the playing area, and it was when I was in the area that my helmet broke. The referees saw this. Still I had five seconds left. After showing my helmet, the referees said [Bangladesh] had appealed. Then I asked where the common sense was because my two minutes hadn’t passed.

“Unfortunately [the strap breaking] It happened against Bangladesh. I don’t think any other team would do that, because it was black and white. “It was an equipment malfunction.”

Angel Mateo

“I have no words to explain it. In my 15 years of playing I have never seen a team or a player fall so low.

“Unfortunately [the strap breaking] It happened against Bangladesh. I don’t think any other team would do that, because it was black and white. It was an equipment malfunction. It was also a security issue. We know that without a helmet I can’t face bowling.”

When asked about the incident after the match, Shakib mentioned that he had known Mathews since they played under-19 cricket against each other, but stressed that “rules are rules.”

Mathews said his view of Shakib had changed in light of the controversy.

“Until today, I had great respect for him and the Bangladesh team,” Mathews said. “Everyone plays to win. If it’s within the rules, it’s clearly fine. But in my incident today, within two minutes it was clearly there. We have video evidence and we’ll release a statement later. I’m not just coming in and saying things here. I’m speaking with evidence. From the time the catch was taken to the time I stepped into the crease, I still had five seconds after breaking my helmet.”

The referees gave Shakib the opportunity to withdraw his appeal after Mathews explained to them and Shakib that the strap on his helmet had broken. But Shakib did not retire.

“Yes, Shakib had the option of [withdrawing appeal]. He knew that this was not a waste of time and that I was there within my time. “I wasn’t trying to waste time or get an advantage.”

The Sri Lankan team also did not shake hands with the Bangladesh team after the match, and several players from both teams exchanged tense words as the game went on. Many of the Sri Lanka players shook hands with the unout batsmen after Bangladesh chased the target of 280, but they did not go towards the stairs leading down from the Bangladesh dressing room to shake hands with the remaining Bangladesh players.

“You have to respect people who respect us,” Mathews said of Sri Lankans not shaking hands with their opponents. “They have to respect the game itself.

“We are all ambassadors of this beautiful game, including the referees. If you don’t respect and use your common sense, what more can you ask for?”

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo correspondent in Sri Lanka. @afidelf