Sri Lankan cricket in deep crisis as Sanath Jayasuriya’s selection panel resigns


Sri Lankan cricketer Lasith Malinga (L) reacts as the chairman of selectors Sanath Jayasuriya (R) and Upul Tharanga look on during a practice session at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on August 26, 2017. After losing the Test series 3-0, Sri Lanka have also lost the ODIs 3-0 with two more matches to go.

The Sanath Jayasuriya-led Sri Lankan cricket selection panel has stepped down in the wake of the country’s horrible performance against India. Sri Lanka suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat in the Test series and have already lost the five-match ODI series against Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team.

Sri Lanka Cricket vice-president Mohan de Silva has confirmed that Sanath Jayasuriya’s panel has indeed stepped down.

“Sri Lanka Cricket chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya, as well as committee members Ranjith Madurasinghe, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Asanka Gurusinha and Eric Upashantha, have decided to resign,” Sri Lanka’s sports ministry said.

“A combined letter bearing the names of the above committee has conveyed this decision to sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekara. According to the letter, their tenure will end on September 7.”

The string of poor shows has promoted the Sri Lankan government to institute a probe but the cricket board officials have refused to step down.

Sri Lanka Cricket president Thilanga Sumathipala, left, speaks as chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya watches during a media briefing ahead of the one-day International against India in Colombo on Aug. 16, 2017. (AP)


The president of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) 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 teams poor showing,” Sumathipala said in Colombo today.

World Cup-winning captain 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.

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 long term plans to resurrect the country’s cricket but it will take 3-4 more years to yield results.

Sri Lankan cricket has been passing through one of its worst phases in recent times. With a rare win against India in the ICC Champions Trophy in June this year, the Lankans have suffered from stagefright and even thrown in the towel against unfancied teams like Zimbabwe.

The retirement of Mahela Jayawardene (R) and Kumar Sangakkara has hurt Sri Lanka’s cricket. (AP)


Two years have passed since Sri Lanka bid farewell to the last of their batting greats yet the South Asian side appears no nearer to ending what has been a difficult period of transition.

When the brilliant Kumar Sangakkara followed the equally prolific Mahela Jayawardene into retirement in 2015, even the most optimistic Sri Lankan fans acknowledged the void they left was simply too big to be filled overnight.

What they probably did not anticipate was that two years down the line, the team would still be hopelessly in the throes of a seemingly interminable era of regeneration.

Once admired, even envied, for their steady supply of freak bowlers with bizarre actions and a near-invincible record at home, Sri Lanka’s recent humiliating 3-0 whitewash at the hands of India made for a particularly painful watch.

Only Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne offered fleeting glimpses of batting prowess but Sri Lanka were otherwise completely outclassed by the tourists in one of the most lop-sided series of recent times.

Angelo Mathews is given out during the third day’s play of the third cricket Test match between Sri Lanka and India in Pallekele, Sri Lanka, Aug. 14, 2017. (AP)


The debacle followed their first ever one-day series loss to Zimbabwe in July, which prompted a frustrated Angelo Mathews to relinquish the captaincy of both the test and one-day sides.

Mathews appeared to have sparked a revival last year when they whitewashed Australia but the 3-0 home win proved little more than a false dawn.

Sri Lanka were subsequently thrashed in both tests and one-dayers in South Africa, lost a home test against Bangladesh and then failed to progress beyond the group stage at this year’s Champions Trophy.


The India whitewash has led the country’s sports ministry to call for a report from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to explain why the side performed so poorly, while former captain Aravinda de Silva believes the board lacks vision.

“We are going through a rebuilding process but you can’t be saying that forever,” de Silva, hero of Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup triumph, told the Hindu newspaper last week.

“Short-term process is good for a few months, one or two series, but not for the future.

“So we need to seriously look at the team in the long-term and not keep chopping  and changing,” said de Silva, who quit as head of the board’s cricket committee in May.