Cricket Board dismissed following humiliating World Cup performances
Sri Lanka's Minister of Sports, Roshan Ranasinghe, took a bold step on Monday by removing the country's cricket board, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), following a humiliating loss to India at the ICC World Cup 2023.
This decision follows months of corruption allegations against the wealthiest sports organization in the country. In an official statement from Ranasinghe's office, it was announced that Arjuna Ranatunga, the captain of Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup-winning team, would become the new chairman of a temporary board established for Sri Lanka Cricket.
The statement read, "Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe has formed an interim committee for Sri Lanka Cricket." The primary objective of this new board is to investigate the poor performance of the Sri Lankan team in the World Cup.
Following the resignation of secretary Mohan de Silva, the Sri Lankan board of directors has appointed a new seven-member panel, which includes a retired Supreme Court judge and a former board president. This move is seen as an attempt to restore the tarnished reputation of Sri Lankan cricket, which has been marred by corruption allegations and subpar performance.
Ranasinghe publicly called for the resignation of the entire board after Sri Lanka's devastating 302-run loss to India at the World Cup. This loss had the team at one point 14-6 and eventually all out for 55, leading to public outcry and protests outside the board office in Colombo.
Ranasinghe insisted that SLC officials had lost their moral and ethical standing and should voluntarily step down. He had previously accused the board of being disloyal and corrupt. Sri Lanka faced Bangladesh later on Monday and required a miraculous turn of events to secure a spot in the World Cup's final four.
In an attempt to address the issues, Ranasinghe had written to the International Cricket Council (ICC) full members, seeking understanding and support. The ICC has strict rules against political interference in the sport. Ranasinghe pointed out that Sri Lanka Cricket had been plagued by player discipline problems, management corruption, financial misconduct, and match-fixing allegations.
The ICC had previously compelled the minister to withdraw a three-member panel he had appointed last month to investigate alleged corruption within the board due to it being deemed as political interference.
The ICC has not immediately responded to Ranasinghe's latest action, which dismissed a board elected in May, with Shammi Silva serving as the president for a third consecutive term. Sri Lanka has not won the World Cup since 1996, with Ranasinghe attributing the decline in standards to the board.
Another cabinet minister, Prasanna Ranatunga, brother of the newly appointed interim board chairman, stated in August that the 1996 victory had brought about "the biggest curse for our cricket," as it led to an influx of money and individuals with corrupt intentions.