In an interview with CricBlog.Net, conducted soon after the Bangladesh team returned to their hotel in Delhi, Donald said, “It was disappointing to see. I can understand Shakib taking his chance. His words were ‘I was doing everything to win’. You can sense in my voice that I don’t like it…
“I don’t like that sort of thing. It was really difficult to watch that unfold – one of Sri Lanka’s all-time greats walking off the field without a ball bowled to him being given out for time. That’s where I stand on that.
“You talk about the respect and the dignity for each other and for the game, the spirit of the game. I just don’t want to see things like that. That’s just me. I just don’t want to see that sort of thing in our game where, okay, someone was sharp out there and said ‘well, you can appeal’. I was like, ‘really – this is not going to happen, this cannot be happening, this can’t be happening’.”
The problem for Mathews was that, though he had walked out to bat at the fall of Sadeera Samarawickrama’s wicket within the stipulated time, he wasn’t ready to take strike on time, since he broke the strap of his helmet as he pulled it to put it in place. “The most sensible thing would have been to just to say, ‘okay, no worries, mate, sort your helmet out quickly; you have time to replace it’,” Donald said.
Donald said that when he saw the events unfolding, he was half-thinking of running on to the field to ask Shakib to withdraw his appeal.
“My immediate reaction when that happened – and this is just [that] my instincts would have taken over – is I almost actually thought of going on that field and saying, ‘enough is enough, we don’t stand for this; we are not that kind of team who stand for this’. That was my immediate thought.
“Things happened so quickly, but you’re talking about authority and I’m not the head coach, I’m not in charge. I just saw Marais Erasmus [the umpire at the bowler’s end] say, ‘please Angelo, you can now depart the ground’. And, seeing Angelo pick his helmet up and then walking off and throwing it against the advertising boards; it just was… I was surprised.”
Donald: ‘There was no eye contact at all’ after the game
The acrimony spilled over to the end of the game. The Sri Lanka team also did not shake hands with the Bangladesh side. Many of the Sri Lanka fielders shook hands with the not-out Bangladesh batters after the chase was done, but they did not go towards the staircase leading down from the Bangladesh dressing room to shake hands with the remaining Bangladesh players.
“Last night I sat in bed and I just thought, ‘what just took place there?’ For me, the question I asked was: ‘what just happened there?’ I even sat in the change room and I was dead quiet,” Donald said. “We didn’t shake hands, and you walk on the field, and I knew what was going to come after Sri Lanka had fielded… it was just going to be a very, very blank reception and that it certainly was.
“There was anger. The only word you can use, really, is anger. At the end of the day then, like I normally do, I’m almost out there on the park first shaking hands and I just knew that these guys were heading for one place and that’s the dressing room. There was no eye contact at all, no conversations, nothing. I don’t know, a lot of these cricketers today can call me old-fashioned but I just don’t think there is any place for it. I just don’t think so.”