Sri Lanka's white-ball captain Angelo Mathews believes that a new rehabilitation process on the lower half of his body will help him to stay injury free in 2018. Throughout last year, Mathews was plagued by a series of hamstring, quadriceps and ankle injuries and missed out on a large portion of cricket. There was new hope when he accepted the team's white ball captaincy ahead of the tour of Bangladesh having stepped down from the role six months ago. However, after just one game in Bangladesh, he was forced to return home as the old hamstring injury resurfaced.

Mathews missed the tri-nation campaign in Bangladesh and the two Tests that followed. He was expected to travel to Bangladesh to take over the captaincy duties ahead of the T-20s having finished his rehabilitation work. But the medical experts who have been treating him have warned against returning to competitive cricket soon after injury. Instead, he will make his return during the Nidahas Trophy, the tri-nation tournament that will be played to celebrate Sri Lanka's 70th year of independence.



"Everyone is looking forward to the event and I am very excited. It will be a great opportunity for all the players. India are tough opponents and Bangladesh have shown some tremendous improvements over the years. I believe it will be a competitive series," the 30-year-old told Cricbuzz.

"With my injuries, we have now changed the strategy. In the past, as soon as I had got fit, I had gone and played. The consultant in UK Dr. Thamindu Wedathilleke and the consultants here like Professor Arjuna de Silva and others have insisted on looking at the scans rather than looking at clinically. In the past, I have rushed back to playing before the scars are fully healed. I am able to run and train and do other activities at the moment. But the game intensity is quite different and our stance is different now. We will let it settle fully and unless that happens I am not going to start playing again. It is going to be difficult for me and the team as well when I am injured so often," Mathews noted.

"The training methods, gym work and quite bit about my preparation have changed. We are well equipped now to meet the demands I feel. Still, we can only minimize the injury and there's no guarantee as such that everything will be fine. However, I am trying my very best to stay injury free. I am learning about my body and getting to know my body."

Mathews has had little trouble when he plays as a specialist batsman, but the team management has constantly urged him to bowl as well in a bid to balance the side and that has got him into trouble. "It all depends on what the consultants say. First thing is that I need to get fully fit and there's no point of rushing things. I would like to bowl but in order to get there I need to get fully fit," he said, indicating that his return is likely to be as a specialist batsman.