Arjuna Ranatunga has laid a lion’s share of the blame for Sri Lanka’s 3-0 defeat at home against India on the doorstep of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), saying the players should cop only some part of the flak.
India won the first and second Tests, in Galle and SSC, Colombo, inside four days and the final one in Pallekele within three days, and Dinesh Chandimal, the captain who missed the first Test but led in the next two, called it the “worst series ever”. But Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to glory in the 1996 World Cup, felt it was the management that was responsible.
“Sri Lanka cricket is going through the worst period,” said Ranatunga on Tuesday (August 15). “You can’t blame only the players, they are demoralised. It is the fault of the management.”
Ranatunga renewed calls for Thilanga Sumathipala, the SLC chief, to be removed, and urged the International Cricket Council to investigate the board. Only last week, Ranatunga had said in a press interaction that “proper discipline” was lacking in the team and, in an interview with Wisden India, went on to say, “A lot of people don’t watch cricket. You can imagine, if I’m not watching cricket, how can you expect the others to watch cricket? That is nothing to do with the cricketers. It’s all about bad and wrong administration.”
Taking aim at the selection committee led by Sanath Jayasuriya, his former team-mate, Ranatunga said, “We don’t have selectors with a backbone.” Ranatunga’s grouse is that the current selectors prioritise fitness over skill, something he feels has been detrimental to Sri Lankan cricket.
Last month, Ranatunga had also demanded an inquiry into the 2011 World Cup final, where India beat Sri Lanka, saying, “We must investigate what happened to Sri Lanka at the 2011 World Cup final. I cannot reveal everything now, but one day I will.”
The suggestion was that not everything about the final was clean, but Ranatunga later clarified to Wisden India, “I never said I was concerned about match-fixing. I said there were issues, address the issues. It is not my issue, the entire country saw it. […] the way we approached that game and some of the things that happened in the final, I was not comfortable. So I said, these are the things the ICC should get into. I never said match fixing.”