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July 15, 2006
Arjuna Ranatunga, the former Sri Lankan captain, is among four cricketers recommended by ex-players to run cricket in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) elections, scheduled to be held on Saturday, were cancelled on the advice of Mahinda Rajapakse, the country's president, who wanted former players to join an interim administration committee.
Sidath Wettimuny, former Test opening batsman, Ken de Alwis and Pramodaya Wickramasinghe, the retired fast bowler, were the others recommended to the committee.
"Our names have been forwarded to the country's President and it's expected that he will put the committee together early next week," Ranatunga, the current deputy minister for tourism, told The Telegraph. "We're very happy that the President met a delegation of us ex-players this morning [the second such interaction this week] and reiterated that we've got to be part of the administration."
He added: "The President has already asked both [SLC] presidential candidates, incumbent Jayanta Dharmadasa and challenger Mohan de Silva, to work as co-chairmen. Then, he suggested we nominate five... From our side, we requested him to appoint a `clean' treasurer and he agreed."
Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to World Cup glory in 1996 with a defeat over Australia, felt that the former cricketers had no intention of handling the financial aspects of the SLC. "Frankly, my view is that only an independent person with the highest integrity should handle money matters," he said. "Things haven't been going right for the last decade. We aren't aligned with any group. While I accept the co-chairmen will sit on the biggest chairs, we're going to have the numbers. As an official announcement hasn't been made, I don't want to jump the gun. However, upgrading schools cricket will be a priority."
The opposition, backed by Thilanga Sumathipala, the former president, reportedly did not show interest. Jeevan Kumaratunga, Sri Lanka's sports minister, said the rival candidates for the SLC president's post, Jayantha Dharmadasa and Mohan de Silva, had also been asked to join the new committee as co-chairmen. Dharmadasa, the interim head of the SLC, accepted the decision to cancel the elections and had been willing to involve former cricketers.
De Silva said he was considering the offer, but slammed the decision to call off the elections. "We are deeply dejected with the latest development, he told AFP. "We were feeling very confident leading up to the elections but the sports minister called me and said the election was not going to take place. We'll certainly consider the offer to join the committee. We are willing to work together."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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