The President of Sri Lanka Cricket Thilanga Sumathipala has refused to heed the call for resignation from the legendary captain Arjuna Ranatunga. “There is no need to resign, the administration is not at fault for the team’s poor showing,” Sumathipala was quoted as saying by PTI 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 were whitewashed 0-3 in the Test series to India and are currently 0-3 down in the five-match One-day International 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.
Sumathipala 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 International Cricket Council 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 competed 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 as the voting system is so corrupt, Ranatunga claimed.