Lankan greats protest cricket~~s interim body

Published: Thursday, March 9, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo:Former Sri Lankan captain Aravinda De Silva led a group of players to persuade President Mahinda Rajapakse to restore democracy in the country's cricket administration, reports said.

De Silva, Hashan Tillekeratne, Asantha de Mel and Brendon Kuruppu joined a large group of administrators at a meeting at the Singhalese Sports Club ground here on Wednesday to demand the sacking of the interim committee running Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

The interim committee was appointed by Sports Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga last year after he sacked the elected SLC executive, the country's richest sports body.

"Two months ago we met the sports minister and asked him to hold fresh elections, but our request seems to have fallen on deaf ears," De Silva was quoted as saying on Thursday.

"Hence we decided to make a plea to the president."

Representatives from 17 of the country's 22 districts attended the meeting, which blamed the interim committee for the continued poor run by the senior and junior teams.

Sri Lanka, who were ranked second in one-dayers and fourth in Tests last year, have dropped to number seven in both forms of the game, according to the latest rankings.

De Silva blamed the current administrators for diluting the importance of domestic cricket, saying it was the main reason for the falling standards.

"I am simply amazed as to why they have scrapped a provincial tournament," said the hero of Sri Lanka's World Cup triumph in 1996.

"Some players told me that it's a crime to stop the tournament as it provided us the much-needed competitive edge in domestic cricket.

"It's a mystery why it was cancelled."

De Silva, who was the elected vice-president of Sri Lanka Cricket, said he and the others were dismissed without an inquiry.

"There was no inquiry after we were sacked," he said. "The allegations of financial irregularities brought a bad name to all of us. We are desperate to clear our names."


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