The Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is likely to retain Ranjith Madurusinghe, Ranjan Paranavithana, Farveez Maharoof as junior selectors, while removing controversial Gajaba Pitigala and Dilshan De Silva from the newly proposed 5-members selection panel, Cricket Age reliably learns. Former Sri Lanka cricketer Nilantha Ratnayake and former U19 manager Shane Fernando are tipped to replace Pitigala and Dilshan De Silva in the panel.
The tenure of present junior selection committee, headed by Madurusinghe, was originally slated to expire on May 31. However, the SLC extended it’s tenure until July 15.
According to sources, the SLC has reduced the junior selection committee to 5, against the existing panel of 9 members.
“We have finalized five members in the junior selection committee and will be seeking Honorable Sports Minister’s approval. The committee will once again be headed by Mr. Madurusinghe” a top SLC Official told Cricket Age.
However, the Sports Ministry has sent a letter to SLC, instructing that all the junior selectors needs to resign from their posts as district and provincial cricket associations to fulfill the criteria.
“This is a condition, the honorable Sports minister has mentioned in the letter and we have prepared the final list of these five members, after consulting with them” the top official added further.
A former Sri Lanka player with an unmatched knowledge of grass root cricket, Madurusinghe and his committee has been credited to unearth young batting prodigies like Avishka Fernando, Ashen Bandara, Charith Asalanka, Shammu Ashan, Hasitha Boyagoda, Pathum Nisanka, allrounders like Kamindu Mendis, Jehan Daniel, Wanindu Hasaranga and fast bowlers like Nipun Ransika, Lahiru Kumara, Asitha Fernando during his previous tenure. Out of all these, Avishka Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Asitha Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga, Kamindu Mendis have already made their international debut.
Paranavithana, one of the most respected Sri Lanka sports journalist, has been the integral part of the Madurusinghe led present committee. an encyclopedia of junior cricket, he, along with Madurusinghe, unearthed and nurtured plenty of young talents, who were unfortunately ruined by former U19 incompetent and biased coach Hashan Tillakratne during the U19 world cup earlier this year.
Nilantha Ratnayake, a fast bowler from the prestigious Sinhalese Sports Club, played 2 ODI’s for Sri Lanka in late 80s. He was involved in cricket management at a well known school in Kandy and has good knowledge and experience in junior cricket. In his present tenure under the supervision of Madurusinghe, he has done a commanding job.
Shane Fernando, a stalwart of prestigious Colts Cricket Club, has served Sri Lanka cricket as U19 team manager in the past and is well respected for his cricketing expertise. He was nominated by Sinhalese Sports Club for the job, where he played his cricket!
Maharoof, however, is a shameful inclusion in the newly proposed committee, largely due to his unprofessional conduct in the existing committee. He has made it a habit to ignore his responsibility, in order to focus on his business and other non-cricketing activities. He runs a pre-school, real state business and is a commentator, analyst for media groups as well. It’s his private thing and he can do whatever he wants, but it is the U19 team, which suffers because of his other commitments.
Last year, Cricket Age had exposed how Maharoof was busy in inaugurating his pre-school midway through the Asia Cup that too without informing SLC. At that time also, his incompetence as team manager allowed three promising players to consume alcohol in the team hotel after the match. Then, when he was also the manager of the U19 team, few players were accused of carrying whiskey bottles and accessories from the Bangladeh.
Most interesting thing is that Maharoof is not in the good book of SLC top brass as well. However, until now, he has climbed up at SLC rapidly, only because of his habbit of going behind everyone and lobbying for multiple jobs at SLC!
Both Pitigala and Dilshan De Silva, meanwhile, were expected to be removed, as they were on the radar of SLC Top brass. Pitigala, the present secretary of Galle CC, has been on the loggerheads with SLC administrators, due to certain irregularities in his club. Dilshan De Silva was blamed for that whiskey bottles saga in the Bangladeh and while Maharoof, with his manipulation, survived, Dishan found it difficult to remain in the system!