Nottingham: Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews has spoken of the shock he felt when Shaminda Eranga suffered a heart scare in Ireland.
Saturday saw Eranga come out to face the final ball of Sri Lanka’s innings in the second one-day international against Ireland in Malahide, but he did not bowl after feeling unwell in the interval and being taken to a Dublin hospital with what was later confirmed as an elevated heartbeat.
Sri Lanka won the fixture by 136 runs for a 2-0 series win over the Irish that set them up nicely for a five-match ODI series against England starting at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge ground on Tuesday.
But a miserable weekend for Eranga was compounded when the International Cricket Council announced on Sunday that he would miss the England series in any event after being found to have an illegal bowling action.
The nature of Eranga’s illness is similar to that which forced the early retirement of England batsman James Taylor in April, although there is no suggestion that Eranga’s heart problem could end his career.
For Mathews, Eranga’s illness was a bolt from the blue.
“He was warming up — and just before we went on the field, he said ‘something happened to me, can you touch my heart because it is beating fast?’,” Mathews told reporters at Trent Bridge on Monday.
“I felt something unusual, so I quickly called the physio (who) went for the doctor with him. It was a shocking incident.
“He’s (still) undergoing those tests (for) an elevated heartbeat.”
Last year’s World Cup saw Sri Lanka thrash England by nine wickets in Wellington.
But Eoin Morgan’s men have improved greatly as a white-ball side since the World Cup and earlier this year made it to the final of the World Twenty20 in India, where they were beaten in a last-over thriller by the West Indies.
“I don’t know if it’s a springboard, but it’s certainly a huge confidence-booster,” said England limited-overs captain Morgan.
Hopes are growing that Morgan’s team will be able to put up an improved showing in front of their own supporters at the 2019 World Cup in England.
“There’s a bit more expectation on us as a side, and it’s important to relish that expectation,” the Irishman added.
“We’re still at the beginning of building for what we hope will be a successful campaign in the 2019 World Cup.”