“Obviously disgraceful” was how Angelo Mathews described the antics of Bangladesh’s squad and opposing captain Shakib Al Hasan at one of the most fiery news conferences of his career. In his fifteen years as an international cricket player, he claimed to have “never seen a team or player stoop so low”.
He said he didn’t think “any other team would do that” and called it “unfortunate” that his helmet strap snapped during a match versus Bangladesh.
All of this was in retaliation for Shakib’s successful appeal and subsequent “timed out” dismissal of Mathews, which prevented Mathews from facing the ball. When Mathews tried to tighten the strap on his helmet, it broke. He had reached the batting crease and was getting ready to take on Shakib’s bowling. After Mathews requested a replacement helmet, which took considerable time to arrive, Bangladesh’s appeal resulted in Mathews being substituted almost three minutes and twenty seconds after Sadeera Samarawickrama was dismissed.
The next batter must be “ready to receive the ball” within two minutes of a dismissal, according to the ICC’s playing standards. About one minute and fifty-five seconds after Samarawickrama’s catch was finished, Mathews was making his last preparations to take on Shakib, though he hadn’t yet raised his guard when the helmet strap snapped.
“It was obviously disgraceful from Shakib and Bangladesh,” Mathews stated. “There’s a serious problem if they want to grab wickets like that and go to that extent.
“Bangladesh’s performance was really unsatisfactory. There would be no problem if it was mankading or blocking the field. I reached the crease in less than two minutes, and that’s when my helmet shattered. The referees noticed this. There were five seconds left. The umpires informed me that Bangladesh had appealed after I displayed my helmet. Since my two minutes had not yet expired, I questioned where common sense had disappeared to.
“There are no words to describe it. Never in my fifteen years of playing have I witnessed a team or an individual go that low.
“It’s unfortunate that Bangladesh was the target of the strap breaking. Since it was clear-cut, I doubt any other team would take that action. It was an issue with the equipment. There was also a safety concern. We are aware that I cannot handle bowling without a helmet.”
Shakib stated that he had known Mathews since their Under-19 cricket matches, but emphasized that “rules are rules” when questioned about the incident following the game.
Mathews stated that the dispute had caused him to reevaluate his opinion of Shakib.
“Up to today, I had utmost respect for him and the Bangladesh team,” Mathews stated. “Everyone plays to win. It’s obviously okay if it complies with the guidelines. But in my encounter today, I was obviously there in two minutes. We’ll release a statement later; I’m not just coming here and making statements. We have video proof. I am speaking with evidence. I still had five seconds after shattering my helmet from the moment the catch was made until I entered the crease.”
After Mathews informed both the umpires and Shakib that his helmet strap had snapped, the umpires granted Shakib the chance to revoke his appeal. Shakib, though, did not back down.
Indeed, Shakib was given the choice to [remove the appeal]. He was aware that I was there on schedule and that this was not a waste of time. I wasn’t attempting to get an edge or waste time.”
After the game, there was a handshake between the Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi teams, and during the match, a few players from each team had a heated conversation. After Bangladesh chased down the target of 280 runs, many of the Sri Lankan fielders shook hands with the batters who were still alive. However, they did not proceed to the staircase that led down from the Bangladeshi dressing room to shake hands with the remaining Bangladeshi players.
Mathews remarked, “You need to respect people who respect us,” in reference to the Sri Lankans refusing to shake hands with their opponents. “They must honor the actual game.
The umpires are among us as ambassadors of this wonderful game. What more is there to ask for when you lack common sense and show disrespect?