Sri Lanka’s sports minister dissolves cricket board following World Cup debacle | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: Sri Lanka’s sports minister, Roshan Ranasinghe, made a significant move on Monday by sacking the national cricket board shortly after the country’s humiliating defeat by India at the World Cup. This decision follows months of conflict between Ranasinghe and Sri Lanka Cricket, the wealthiest sports organisation in the financially strained island, over allegations of widespread corruption within the board.
To lead a new interim board, Ranasinghe has appointed Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup-winning captain. The newly formed seven-member panel also includes a retired supreme court judge and a former board president.
This development came on the heels of the resignation of the board’s second-highest officer, secretary Mohan de Silva, a day prior to Ranasinghe’s action.
Sri Lanka’s devastating 302-run loss to India last week at the World Cup, where they were at one point 14-6 and ultimately dismissed for a mere 55, prompted a public outcry. Police have been deployed outside the board office in Colombo following angry protests on Saturday.
Ranasinghe, publicly expressing his displeasure, had demanded the entire board’s resignations, accusing Sri Lanka Cricket officials of lacking the moral and ethical right to remain in office. He had previously labelled the board as “traitorous and corrupt.”
In response to the World Cup defeat and allegations of corruption within the board, Ranasinghe had written to full members of the International Cricket Council (ICC), seeking understanding and support, despite the ICC’s regulations against political interference in the sport.
“Sri Lanka Cricket has been besieged with complaints of player disciplinary issues, management corruption, financial misconduct, and match-fixing allegations,” Ranasinghe stated in the letters, which were released to Sri Lankan media.
It’s worth noting that the ICC had compelled Ranasinghe to withdraw a three-member panel he had appointed last month to investigate alleged corruption within the board, deeming it as political interference.
As the newly appointed interim board chairman, Arjuna Ranatunga, takes charge, it marks a significant shift from the previous board, which was elected in May, with President Shammi Silva on his third consecutive term.
Sri Lanka has not won the World Cup since 1996, and Ranasinghe holds the board responsible for the “deterioration” of cricketing standards. Notably, another cabinet minister, Prasanna Ranatunga, brother of the newly appointed interim board chairman, had previously stated in parliament that the 1996 World Cup triumph had been “the biggest curse for our cricket.” He attributed the influx of money into the cricket board after 1996 as a factor that attracted individuals with intentions to engage in corrupt practices.
In 2019, former sports minister Harin Fernando had introduced stringent anti-corruption laws, stating that the ICC considered Sri Lanka one of the world’s most corrupt cricketing nations. The ongoing controversy within Sri Lankan cricket highlights the challenges faced by the sport in the country.
(With inputs from AFP)

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