Sri Lanka news July 5, 2011

Minister orders probe into Sangakkara's comments

ESPNcricinfo staff

Kumar Sangakkara's speech at Lord's slamming the way the game is run in Sri Lanka has brought its first repercussion with the country's sports minister ordering a probe into his scathing comments against administrators and political meddling. The minister also said that being a contracted player, Sangakkara shouldn't have made a public statement criticising the board.

"He has to get permission. He can't talk about the cricket administration or cricket," sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told Reuters. "I have written to the chairman of the cricket board to go into this and get me a report immediately."

Sri Lanka Cricket's only official response so far has been to state that it is unable to comment given that the team is currently on tour in England.

In an hour-long MCC Spirit of Cricket speech that earned him a standing ovation, Sangakkara called on SLC to root out its corrupt practices and recognise the huge role the sport now needs to play in promoting reconciliation at the end of a 30-year civil war. He voiced his concern at the direction in which cricket in Sri Lanka was heading, saying that "accountability and transparency in administration and credibility of conduct were lost in a mad power struggle that would leave Sri Lankan cricket with no consistent and clear administration."

The ICC has taken a strong stand against political interference in cricket administration at its recent annual conference, giving member boards two years to become democratised in a bid to improve governance. SLC is one of the boards most affected by the ICC decision as it effectively answers to the sports ministry, which recently dissolved the board's interim committee and appointed a new panel.