Colombo: The President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Thilanga Sumathipala has refused to heed the call for his resignation from legendary cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga.
“There is no need to resign, the administration is not at fault for the team’s poor showing,” Sumathipala said today.
Ranatunga, the current Minister of Petroleum Resources Development, said he had written to both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe asking them to intervene to put Sri Lanka’s cricketing fortunes back in order.
He demanded the sacking of the Sumathipala administration and the 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 ODI with angry fans throwing bottles onto the field and holding up play.
Sumathipala, the current Deputy Speaker of 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 three-four more years to yield results.
Ranatunga claims that Sumathipala’s administration is responsible for the country’s dwindling cricketing fortunes, where Sri Lanka has slid in all three ICC rankings.
Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara last week announced plans to have a two-day brainstorming session with all stakeholders to assess where Sri Lanka had gone wrong.
Cricketing 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 feature the cream of the country’s 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 at the SLC election.
Not even the President or the Prime Minister could contest SLC elections and win, the voting system is so corrupt, Ranatunga claimed. (Press Trust of India)