Sri Lanka Cricket Boss Dismisses Any Possibility Of Stepping Down
The nation's cricket team has had a torrid time against India, having lost all their engagements so far.
Even as the Sri Lankan cricket team endures a rather painful period of transition after the retirement of several superstars in quick succession, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief Thilanga Sumathipala is set on ignoring the calls for his resignation from former captain Arjuna Ranatunga. Sri Lanka have had a torrid time at home, with the worst display coming against the rampaging Indian team, as the hosts have lost all three Tests and also three One-day Internationals (ODI) played so far, two from a position of strength.
"There is no need to resign, the administration is not at fault for the team's poor showing," Sumathipala said on Tuesday.
Ranatunga, the current minister of Petroleum, said he had written to both the President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that they should intervene to put Sri Lanka's cricketing fortunes back in order.
He demanded the sacking of the Sumathipala administration and appointment of an interim committee to run SLC.
Sri Lanka lost the Test series 0-3 to India and are currently 0-3 down in the five-match ODI series. If they lose the next two games, they will have to play in a qualifying round for the 2019 World Cup, to be held in England.
Crowd trouble erupted at the last two ODIs with angry fans throwing bottles on to the field and holding up play.
Sumathipala, the current deputy speaker in national parliament, was elected to head the SLC in 2016 after a long reign by politically appointed interim committees.
He said his administration has laid long term plans to resurrect the country's cricket but it will take 3-4 more years to yield results.
Ranatunga claims that Sumathipala's administration is responsible for dwindling cricketing fortunes, where Sri Lanka has slid in all three ICC rankings.
Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera announced last week plans to have a two-day brain-storming of all stake holders to assess where Sri Lanka had gone wrong.
The former greats -- Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena -- are of the view that Sri Lanka's first class system needs a revamp with a four-day provincial tournament to be played by the cream of national cricketers.
They feel that the present system, with too many mediocre teams taking part, does not contribute to producing players of high quality.
Sumathipala's administration is accused of encouraging more clubs to participate in the first-class tournament with the aim of winning votes in election to SLC.
Not even the President or the Prime Minister could contest SLC elections and win, the voting system is so corrupt, Ranatunga claimed.
(With PTI inputs)