Mathews also bagged two other awards in a glittering ceremony graced by Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera and Pakistan cricket legend Wasim Akram who was the chief guest – the All-rounder of the Year for both Test and One-Day Internationals.
The awards which featured the performances of Sri Lanka’s cricketers for 2015 saw Dilshan and fast bowler Lasith Malinga bag two awards apiece.
Dilshan also won the T20 Batsman of the Year while Malinga picked up the Bowler of the Year award for both categories ODI and T20.
Wasim who played in 19 Tests and 59 ODIs against Sri Lanka between 1985 and 2002 recalled many memories of the matches between the two countries since his first visit to the country with Imran Khan’s Pakistan side in 1985.
“We had many major battles on and off the field, but lots of them off the field. Sri Lanka is a memorable place for me. It’s a ‘Heaven on Earth’ and we call it the Pearl Island,” said Wasim.
“What I like about the country is the positive energy that generates from the people. Everyone in Sri Lanka is happy and with a smile on their face. When I walk on the road I feel safe and it’s like my second home. People smile and say hello and some want to take selfies,” he said.
Wasim said his love for the country has made him an unofficial ambassador of Sri Lanka and wherever he went he always told people that Sri Lanka was one country they should not miss visiting.
Speaking of the country’s cricket Wasim said, “Sri Lanka played cricket in the real spirit. They are quite calm but deadly.”
Wasim praised the school system in Sri Lanka and said that it was “an unmatchable school cricket structure” that has helped the country produce so many great cricketers like Aravinda de Silva, Arjuna Ranatunga, Chaminda Vaas, Sanath Jayasuriya and Muthiah Muralitharan.
Wasim thanked Sri Lanka Cricket president Thilanga Sumathipala for inviting him to the awards presentation and said, “I am always available for Sri Lanka Cricket in any capacity. Pakistan and Sri Lanka are brotherly countries and one should help each other.”
(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by dailynews.lk has not been edited by SLM staff)