Inside Story

Sri Lanka Cricket still awaiting the arrival of ‘new selection committee’

Written by N Krishnamurthy

Not even three weeks away from departing to South Africa for two test match series, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is still awaiting the approved list of ‘new selection committee’ from the Sports Ministry, Cricket Age reliably learns.

Dimuth Karunaratne led side is scheduled to play first test against Proteas on December 26.

Cricket Age, on November 7 itself, had published that, as per the Sports Law and National Selection Committee recommendation, the SLC is going to announce a single national selection committee for all three national teams – Men’s, women’s and Junior. In the beginning of the November itself, Chairman of the National Sports Selection Committee, army commander Lt Gen Shavendra Silva recommended a seven member selection committee for cricket headed by former Sri Lankan fast bowler Asantha de Mel.

The committee includes Chaminda Mendis, Pramodya Wickremasinghe, Hemantha Devapriya, Ranjith Madurasingha, Uvais Karnain and Ms Nilmini Gunaratne.

However, the SLC is yet to receive the approved list.

“Till now, we have not received the approved list of the new selection committee. We are hoping to get it by this week, as there is not much time left for the tour” a top SLC official told Cricket Age.

Interestingly, as per the Sports Law, the selected squad for any International tour/series must be sent to Sports Ministry 20 prior, to get approval. In this scenario, as Sri Lanka test side is expected to depart on 17-18 December, the board is surely running against the time!

At present, Majority of Sri Lanka players, who were selected for the South Africa tour by coach Micky Arthur, are in Hambantota, taking part in the ongoing Lanka Premier League (LPL). Only captain Dimuth Karunaratne and two other players are in Colombo, as they were not picked by any franchise for Sri Lanka’s much talked about T20 league.

As per several media reports in Sri Lanka, Asantha De Mel has already selected a 22-member squad, including his favorite Lahiru Thririmane, who carries an embarrassing average of 22. However, later, Asantha tried to do damage control, by stating that he has not picked any squad, as till now he himself has not been appointed.

It’s noteworthy that, at present, Sri Lanka cricket doesn’t have any selection committee – National, women’s or junior even. The contracts of all the selection committees have long been expired. Since then, as there is no domestic or International cricket is taking place in the country, the process of appointing new committees is taking much more time than the expected.

In the expired men’s team selection committee, Asantha De Mel was leading the show. In junior committee, meanwhile, former Sri Lanka player Ranjith Madurusinghe and his colleagues (sans Farveez Maharoof) once again made an everlasting impression, by unearthing a plethora of young players across the country. Their efforts, however, were undermined by a biased coach Hashan Tillakratne and one of the junior selector Farveez Maharoof, who ruined Sri Lanka’s U19 World Cup campaign, by manipulating the entire selection process.

Sri Lanka last played a series against West Indies in February and all their international assignments have been put off due to the Covid-19 outbreak, which has paralyzed entire world since then. Due to the pandemic, Sri Lanka has already lost out on hosting a couple of high-profile cricket series. In March, England’s two-Test tour of Sri Lanka was postponed after the ECB requested for it due to the growing threat of the virus. Then, India’s tour of Sri Lanka was also called off, an assignment that could have seen India played three ODIs and three T20Is starting June end and continuing till July. Just few weeks ago, Bangladesh’s three-Test tour of Sri Lanka was also postponed indefinitely, following a stalemate between the BCB and SLC over quarantine requirements, with weeks of negotiation failing to yield an agreement between the two boards.

About the author

N Krishnamurthy