After a loss to India in the ICC World Cup 2023, Sri Lanka’s sports minister, Roshan Ranasinghe, took a daring step on Monday and fired the nation’s cricket board, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). The decision was made in response to months of accusations of corruption leveled at the wealthiest sports organization in the nation.
The 1996 World Cup captain of the nation, Arjuna Ranatunga, will lead a new temporary board as chairman, according to a statement issued by Ranasinghe’s office.
“Sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe has formed an interim committee for Sri Lanka Cricket,” read the press release.
The board’s primary task will be to look into the Sri Lankan team’s dismal World Cup performance. After secretary Mohan de Silva resigned, the Sri Lankan board of directors created a new seven-member panel that includes a retired Supreme Court judge and a former board president.
After a loss to India, Sri Lanka’s cricket board is dismissed
The action is perceived as an attempt to improve Sri Lankan cricket’s reputation, which has been damaged by claims of misconduct and subpar play. Following a World Cup defeat against hosts India by 302 runs, Ranasinghe publicly called for the resignation of the entire board.
Following demonstrations on Saturday, there has been a public outrage and police deployment outside the board office in Colombo following Sri Lanka’s setback, which saw them down 14-6 at one point and all out for 55.
Former SLC official Ranasinghe had declared that “they should voluntarily resign” because “they had no moral or ethical right to remain in office.” The board, he had previously claimed, was “traitorous and corrupt”.
In order to get to the World Cup semifinals, Sri Lanka must perform a mathematical miracle against Bangladesh later on Monday. In a letter dated Saturday, Ranasinghe requested support and understanding from the entire members of the International Cricket Council (ICC), an organization that forbids political meddling in cricket, according to AFP.
In the letters, which were made available to Sri Lankan media, Ranasinghe stated, “Sri Lanka Cricket has been besieged with complaints of player disciplinary issues, management corruption, financial misconduct and match-fixing allegations.”
A three-person panel the minister had created last month to look into allegations of corruption at the board was forced to be withdrawn by the ICC because it was thought to be political meddling.
The ICC did not respond right away to Ranasinghe’s most recent action, which involved the removal of a board that had been elected in May and whose president, Shammi Silva, was serving a third consecutive term.
Ranasinghe holds the board responsible for the “deterioration” of standards, pointing out that Sri Lanka has not won the World Cup since 1996.
In August, a cabinet minister named Prasanna Ranatunga, who is the brother of the recently appointed interim board chairman, stated in parliament that the 1996 victory was “the biggest curse for our cricket”.
“Money started flowing to the cricket board after 1996 and with that came those who wanted to steal,” he stated.
After claiming that the ICC regarded Sri Lanka as one of the most corrupt cricketing nations in the world, former sports minister Harin Fernando implemented stringent anti-corruption regulations in 2019.