By Madushka Balasuriya
Ashantha De Mel’s tenure as the head of Sri Lanka Cricket’s National Selection Committee has been extended by the Ministry of Sports, SLC announced yesterday. De Mel has played 17 Tests and 57 ODIs for Sri Lanka picking
Ashantha De Mel
up 59 wickets apiece in each format. He also led Sri Lanka’s pace attack as they gained Test status and was the first Sri Lankan fast bowler to take a five-wicket haul.
He will be joined on the Committee by Vinothen John and Chaminda Mendis, with Brendon Kuruppu and Hemantha Wickramaratne vacating their roles. It is understood a fourth selector will be announced in the near future.
“The Minister of Telecommunication, Foreign Employment and Sports Honourable Harin Fernando has recommended the following members to function as National Selectors for a period of one year commencing 5 August 2019,” stated an SLC media release.
De Mel, Mendis and John are all former national cricketers, with the former two having been in the role since November 2018. During this time the selection committee oversaw a radical overhaul of playing staff with mixed results.
Among the positives have been the installation of Dimuth Karunaratne as Test and limited overs captain, and the blooding in of young players, with Avishka Fernando’s recent success the undoubted highlight. However the decision to draft in several players, who had been out of the one-day setup for many years, back for the World Cup certainly raised eyebrows as Sri Lanka endured a middling campaign.
The extension of De Mel’s term comes amidst uncertainty elsewhere in SLC’s back room structure, with widespread reports more or less confirming the imminent removal of Chandika Hathurusingha from the post of national team head coach.
Sports Minister Harin Fernando also recently confirmed that the possibility of putting in place an Interim Committee to run SLC had been broached with the International Cricket Council, but had been shot down.
Sri Lanka’s next assignment is a two Test match and three T20I series against New Zealand. The first Test will get underway in Galle on 14 August.