Twenty20 cricket is money-spinning and popular but for Sri Lankan captain Angelo Mathews, nothing comes close to the thrill of playing Test cricket. "Test is the ultimate format. I really enjoy playing Test cricket. It's not always as easy as you think, but Test is the ultimate form. And we (Sri Lankans) always enjoy playing Test cricket," Mathews, who leads the Test and ODI side of the country, said.
Mathews, who has been named skipper of Sri Lanka's ODI squad for the Champions Trophy next month, said the team has a right blend of experience of youth and they will give their best shot in the eight-nation tournament. "We are playing in a strong group. We have New Zealand, Australia and England. We will give our best shot and see how it goes. We have got some really good guys who are professional in things. You know professionalism is always there in our team. It makes the job easier for the skipper. We have got some really good youngsters coming through. We need to have that correct combination in the World Cup," he said.
"Seniors are important part of the team. Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have always been there. They always give the full support in helping out the youngsters," he added. Sri Lankan cricket, which hasn't tasted much success in the recent past, will get back to its winning ways soon but one needs to be patient with the results, said Mathews. "It's looking very bright but it needs time. It doesn't happen in a few a months' time. It takes time. You have to be patient with that. You have to go smoothly. You have introduced few youngsters as well as you need to have that combination of seniors and juniors," he said.
Mathews, who has been named skipper of Sri Lanka's ODI squad for the Champions Trophy,feels that they have a balanced side for the tournament.
The young Sri Lankan all-rounder, who recently stepped down as Pune Warriors' captain owing to his poor form, said the IPL franchise failed to deliver as a unit which is the reason why it is languishing at the bottom of the points table with just two wins from 11 matches played so far. "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. It's not easy but feels great when you get your act together.
"I can't really point out a single thing because we have done pretty well in some games and few games we could have gone easily through. It's just that we had it and we gifted them away. It's not easy to keep your heads up always. One and half months you play sixteen games, quick turnaround. You need to flush out the negatives and take whatever positive you can," he said. Warriors have had three captains this season. When Mathews dropped himself, New Zealander Ross Taylor took over.
But it is Aaron Finch, who has been leading the side and incidentally is the best Pune batsman in the ongoing edition with 281 runs at an average of 35.12 in eight matches. "We have already had three captains. We have got two captains in my absence -- Finch and Taylor. So, I thought it was best to have that continuity and consistency," he said.
On Tamil Nadu governments decision not to allow Sri Lankan players feature in Chennai IPL games due to anti-Sinhalese sentiments prevailing in the city, he said,"It's a sensitive matter to be honest. It's not an issue between the two countries. If it was an issue you wouldnt have seen us playing in the IPL. It's a sensitive matter but we won't be able to play in Chennai."