Former SL skipper Ranatunga enters politics

Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2001, 3:14 [IST]
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Colombo: Former Sri Lankan cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga swapped the pitch for politics on Monday, joining the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), officials said.
Ranatunga, 37, a hero in Sri Lanka after leading his team to victory in the 1996 World Cup, joined President Chandrika Kumaratunga's SLFP ahead of the December 5 parliamentary elections and signalled he may enter the hustings. "There is a lot that can be done to improve sports in the country," Ranatunga said over state television shortly after he met with Kumaratunga. Ranatunga's father was a minister in Kumaratunga's cabinet. Ranatunga retired from international cricket in August 2000 after an acrimonious relationship with several officials of the island's cricket Board. In March 2001 he was in court to answer charges that he, his brother and several others assaulted teenage cricket players outside their home in Colombo. Ranatunga was granted bail and the case is set for a next hearing on December 7, two days after the elections. Two months ago, the Sri Lankan cricket Board cleared Ranatunga of match-fixing charges levelled by an Indian bookmaker who claimed he helped fix the result of a Test against India in 1994.

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