Asantha De Mel led selection committee set for another term

Written by Rohit Pawar

The Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) is pondering over continuation of Asantha De Mel led selection committee for another term, Cricket Age reliably learns. Sports Minister Harin Fernando has asked country’s all 65 Sports bodies, including Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) to submit the nominations before the May 30th.

It has learnt that despite the poor performance in the current tenure, the SLC has decided to send the same four names – Asantha De Mel, Brendon Kurruppu, Hemantha Wickramaratne and Chaminda Mendis along with Vinothan John – to the Sports Ministry. Cricket Age has the access of the SLC management committee document that says that assistant secretary Crysantha Kapuwatha has already communicated with Sports Ministry regarding the same.

The selection committee, led by Asantha De Mel, had been appointed on November 25, amidst the political drama in the country. Obviously, the appointment of Asantha and other selectors was also a politically influenced decision. While De Mel enjoys the backing of a top politician, Kurruppu and Chaminda Mendis were also included in the committee due to some ‘non cricketing’ reasons.

Moreover, during last six months, Asantha and Co. has done nothing but to create further confusion and uncertainties over the selection of the squads, with no continuity at all.

When Asantha De Mel took over, Dinesh Chandimal was leading Sri Lanka in all three formats. Six months on, Chandimal is out of the world cup squad, and was discarded even for the test series against South Africa recently. Later, he appointed legendary Lasith Malinga as captain for the most tough South Africa tour just to make him a scapegoat for the failures. Later Asantha De Mel and Co. snubbed Malinga from the captaincy and gifted the reins to Dimuth Karunaratne, who has a solid average of 15 in ODI cricket and has not played in this format in last four years. Now, Dimuth, with a strike rate of less than 65 and experience of less than 20 ODIs will stand against Virat Kohli, Faf Du Plessis and Eoin Morgan. To make things worse, for the most coveted global event of cricket, they have selected 20 years old Avishka Fernando as one of the opener and Kusal Perera as designated wicket keeper, that proves that the selectors have failed miserably! Moreover, as they parachuted themselves through political influence, they have also brought allrounders Milinda Siriwardena and Jeevan Mendis in the world cup squad on certain ‘political recommendations’. Both the players were nowhere near the world cup contention, but now suddenly are in UK, preparing for the mega event!

De Mel (who is currently enjoying two months paid holiday in UK as selector cum manager), especially, is notorious for promoting ‘politically influenced’ players. Until few weeks ago, he was promoting an ordinary but politically powerful allrounder Ramith Rambukwella during the domestic tournament. Fortunately for Sri Lanka, Rambukwella couldn’t cash in the opportunity provided by De Mel, otherwise he would have been vice captaining Sri Lanka in the world cup!


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Rohit Pawar

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