Inside Story

Priyantha Udayarathne included, as Sri Lanka Cricket likely to announce 7-members Junior Selection Committee

Written by N Krishnamurthy

After much deliberation, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has decided to add few more members into the newly modified and proposed junior selection committee before sending it to Sports Ministry for the approval, Cricket Age reliably learns.

“Earlier, we had decided to name 5-members junior selection committee. However, Now we are going to propose a 7-members committee to Honorable Sports Minister” a top SLC administrator told Cricket Age.

The reason behind SLC changed stance is the existence of 7 provinces around the country.

“We have 7 provinces. So, the idea is to appoint one junior selector for each province” the top SLC administrator added.

Accordingly, the SLC is likely to send a 10 names list to the Sports Ministry, from which 7 will be named as junior selectors and rest 3 will be appointed as coordinators.

The tenure of present junior selection committee, headed by Ranjith Madurusinghe, was originally slated to expire on May 31. However, the SLC had extended it’s tenure until July 15 (yesterday).

Cricket Age had published on June 30 that the Sports Ministry has sent a letter to the SLC, instructing that all the junior selectors needs to resign from their posts as clubs, 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 accordingly” the top administrator 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, 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 has served Sri Lanka cricket as U19 team manager in the past. He has been nominated by Sinhalese Sports Club for the job, where he played his cricket!

Maharoof inclusion in the newly proposed committee, however, is questionable, largely due to the certain controversies during his previous tenure. It was accused that in the preparation of the U19 World Cup earlier this year, Maharoof, along with then incompetent and biased coach Hashan Tillakratne, hijacked entire selection process for the global event, that resulted an embarrassing first round exit for the side!

Pitigala, the present secretary of Galle CC, has been on the loggerheads with SLC administrators for some time now, due to certain irregularities in his club. The English cricket fans have complained to the SLC and have requested for the intervene, claiming that the Galle CC has not returned their payments of purchased tickets after the cancellation of the England-Sri Lanka test series in March due to Covid-19. However, as Cricket Age had published on July 8, by going behind politicians, Pitigala has managed to forcefully include himself in the newly modified list. It is learnt that Pitigala has been promised to appoint as a coordinator at least.

K. H. Nandsena, a former First Class player from BRC, was part of the previous selection committee also, headed by Madurusinghe.

Priyantha Udayarathne, former First Class player of Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC), has lately been added in the list. A man of all sides, he wears many hates like Maharoof – manager of a provincial team, match referee and a commentator (he is associated with controversial Bandula Samanawathuregama).

Viraj de Silva and Suraj Sanjeewa have been included in the list, as representatives of Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association (SLSCA).

The 10 names, recommended by SLC 
Ranjith Madurusinghe
Ranjan Paranavithana
Nilantha Ratnayake
Shane Fernando
Gajaba Pitigala
KH Nandsena
Priyantha Udayarathne
Viraj de Silva
Suraj Sanjeewa
Farveez Maharoof

About the author

N Krishnamurthy