Ranatunga urges ICC to probe Sri Lanka chief

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

For­mer skip­per Ar­juna Ranatunga has blamed Sri Lanka’s string of hu­mil­i­at­ing de­feats on the coun­try’s cricket chief and de­manded his in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil. In what could be the open­ing shots of a new bid to head Sri Lanka Cricket, Ranatunga, 53, told AFP there was no “proper discipline” in the na­tional team which has had a hor­ror run of re­sults.

The team lost by an in­nings and 53 runs in the sec­ond Test against In­dia on Sun­day, af­ter be­ing crushed in the first match by 304 runs. They are now fight­ing to avoid a white­wash in the three-Test se­ries. Sri Lanka also suf­fered an early exit from the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy, and lost a one-day se­ries at home to bot­tom ranked Zim­babwe last month. Ranatunga ac­cused Sri Lanka Cricket pres­i­dent Thi­langa Su­math­ipala, 52, of be­ing in­volved in gam­ing-a claim Su­math­ipala de­nies-and said he should not be al­lowed to hold of­fice.

“There is no proper discipline in the team... (but) no point in blam­ing the crick­eters when they get in­volved in all these gam­bling things. First they have to get the of­fi­cials in or­der,” Ranatunga told AFP. There have been re­ports of at­tempts to ap­proach Sri Lankan play­ers for al­leged match-fix­ing.

Sev­eral of­fi­cials, um­pires and play­ers have been sus­pended or fined for in­volve­ment in match-fix­ing or re­fus­ing to co­op­er­ate with in­ves­ti­ga­tions. Ranatunga said the In­ter­na­tional Cricket Coun­cil should in­ves­ti­gate Su­math­ipala over al­leged gam­bling links and the con­duct of the Sri Lankan board. “I want to know if the ICC has a back­bone to check if these peo­ple (Sri Lanka Cricket man­age­ment) are in com­pli­ance with ethics stan­dards,” Ranatunga told AFP.

There was no im­me­di­ate com­ment from the ICC. But Su­math­ipala de­nied the al­le­ga­tion and ac­cused Ranatunga of a smear cam­paign in a bid to take over the board. Su­math­ipala said Sri Lanka’s sports min­istry and the ICC had both cleared him to hold of­fice at SLC, as well as at the Asian Cricket Coun­cil and ICC. “I deny any in­volve­ment per­son­ally, di­rectly or in­di­rectly with gam­ing busi­ness,” Su­math­ipala told AFP.

‘THEY MESSED UP EV­ERY­THING’

He also slammed Ranatunga, Sri Lanka’s min­is­ter of petroleum, for ac­cus­ing Pres­i­dent Maithri­pala Sirisena’s gov­ern­ment of fail­ing to pro­tect the game. “If he wants to crit­i­cise the gov­ern­ment, he must first re­sign,” Su­math­ipala, said adding that al­le­ga­tions are fre­quently made against the board when the na­tional team per­forms badly.

“Ev­ery time the game is af­fected at the mid­dle, Sri Lanka crick­eters are not per­form­ing to the ex­pec­ta­tion, we hear this kind of noise com­ing from the same quar­ter,” Su­math­ipala said.

He added that Ranatunga was hop­ing to oust him as Sri Lanka’s cricket chief, a po­si­tion he tried and failed to se­cure in elec­tions in Jan­uary 2016. “The same man (Ranatunga) is con­tin­u­ously mak­ing ev­ery ef­fort un­demo­crat­i­cally, un­eth­i­cally to hold of­fice of Sri Lanka Cricket, even when he has been demo­crat­i­cally de­feated more than once,” Su­math­ipala said. Ranatunga and his younger brother Nis­han­tha stood against Su­math­ipala at last year’s board elec­tions and lost. The next elec­tions are due in five months. Since re­tir­ing from the game, Ranatunga has en­tered pol­i­tics and he was an un­elected cricket ad­min­is­tra­tor in 2008.

Au­thor­i­ties have not re­sponded to his de­mand that an in­terim com­mit­tee run Sri Lankan Cricket. “I thought OK, if the gov­ern­ment thinks this is right-and I am part of this gov­ern­ment-I tried to take a step back and al­lowed them (the board) to run. They have messed up ev­ery­thing,” Ranatunga said. Last month Ranatunga also de­manded an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the coun­try’s 2011 World Cup fi­nal de­feat by In­dia, which was ac­com­pa­nied by al­le­ga­tions of match-fix­ing. Sports min­is­ter Dayasiri Jayasekera said he was will­ing to or­der a probe if there was a writ­ten com­plaint.—AFP

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