The title is Thuppahi Coinage; while the report below is the account penned by Andrew Fidel Fernando from the World Cup heartland, 6 November 2023; … while the highlighting and pictorial illustrations are thuppahi vada
In almost certainly the most explosive press conferences of his career, Angelo Mathews called the actions of opposition captain Shakib Al Hasan and the Bangladesh team “obviously disgraceful”. He said he’d “never seen a team or player stoop so low” in his 15 years of playing international cricket. It was “unfortunate” 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 for a “timed out” dismissal against Mathews, and winning that decision, which meant Mathews was out without facing a ball. Mathews had got to the batting crease and was preparing to face the bowling of Shakib when the strap of his helmet broke as he attempted to tighten it. Mathews then called for a replacement helmet, but as this took some time to arrive, he was given out following Bangladesh’s appeal, roughly three minutes and 20 seconds after Sadeera Samarawickrama had been dismissed.
The ICC’s playing conditions stipulate that the new batter must be “ready to receive the ball” within two minutes of a dismissal. The helmet strap broke about one minute and 55 seconds after Samarawickrama’s catch was completed, just as Mathews was going through his final preparations to face Shakib – though he hadn’t taken his guard yet.
“It was obviously disgraceful from Shakib and Bangladesh,” Mathews said. “If they want to take wickets like that and stoop down to that level, there’s something wrong, drastically.
“It’s very disappointing way that Bangladesh played. If it was mankading or obstructing the field, there’s no issue. Within two minutes I was at the crease, and it was when I was at the crease that my helmet broke. The umpires saw this. I still had five seconds left. After I showed my helmet, the umpires said [Bangladesh] had appealed. So, I asked where common sense was because my two minutes hadn’t passed.
“I’ve got no words to explain it. In my 15 years of playing I’ve never seen a team or a player stoop so low. Unfortunately [the strap breaking] happened against Bangladesh. I don’t think any other team would do that, because it was black and white. It was equipment malfunction. It was a safety issue as well. We know that without a helmet I can’t face the bowling.”
When asked about the incident after the match, Shakib mentioned that he had known Mathews since they had played Under-19 cricket against each other, but stressed said that “rules are rules”.
Mathews said his view of Shakib had changed in light of the controversy.”Up to today, I had utmost respect for him and the Bangladesh team,” Mathews said. “You all play to win. If it’s within the rules, it’s clearly fine. But in my incident today, within two minutes I was clearly there. We have video evidence and we’ll put out a statement later on – I’m not just coming and saying things here. I’m talking with proof. From the time the catch was taken to the time I walked into the crease I still had five seconds after breaking my helmet.”
The umpires gave Shakib the opportunity to withdraw his appeal after Mathews explained to them and to Shakib that his helmet strap had broken. But Shakib did not withdraw.
“Yes, Shakib had the option of [withdrawing appeal]. He knew that this was not time-wasting and I was there within my time. I wasn’t trying to waste time or get an advantage.”
The Sri Lanka team also did not shake hands with the Bangladesh side after the match, and several players from both teams had exchanged tense words while the game was ongoing. Many of the Sri Lanka fielders shook hands with the not-out batters after Bangladesh chased down the target of 280, but they did not go towards the staircase leading down from the Bangladesh dressing room to shake hands with the remaining Bangladesh players.
“You need to respect people who respect us,” Mathews said about the Sri Lankans not shaking hands with their opponents. “They have to respect the game itself. We all are ambassadors of this beautiful game, including the umpires. If you don’t respect and you don’t use your common sense, what more can you ask for?”