Sri Lanka news July 24, 2012

SLC close to appointing Lorgat consultant

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is close to appointing Haroon Lorgat, the former ICC chief executive, as a consultant to assist the board in revamping its domestic cricket structure, as well as potentially advising it on finances and governance. An SLC official told ESPNcricinfo that negotiations have been going well and they are optimistic about bringing Lorgat on board.

SLC, who have faced a turbulent 15 months, are interested in Lorgat's services because of his vast experience in cricket administration. Lorgat served as ICC chief executive for four years before stepping down at the end of June. He has also held several posts in South African cricket, including that of chairman of selectors, and was on the finance and organising committees for the 2003 World Cup. His appointment is likely to be for a period of three or four months.

Nuski Mohammed, the SLC treasurer, told the Sunday Times that Sri Lanka cricket needed fresh ideas. "First we must get his [Lorgat's] expertise as far as possible with regard to the restructuring programme and find ways of bringing modern thinking into the process," Mohammed said. He also suggested that Lorgat, who is a qualified chartered accountant, could help the board examine its finances and suggest ways to tap the ICC for assistance. Lorgat did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Among the problems faced by the Sri Lankan board, has been their finances; they ran up debts of close to $70 million to finance the building of two international stadiums in Hambantota and Pallekele, and to renovate the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, for the 2011 World Cup. It was also forced to hold its first elections in seven years in January, 2012, to comply with ICC regulations.

The new board, headed by Upali Dharmadasa, has decided to make changes to the country's domestic set-up. SLC's domestic structure centres on the club system, with the best clubs traditionally located in Colombo. The board is currently planning on cutting the two-tiered club tournament down to one and reducing the number of teams from 20 to 14.

There was another proposal, outlined by Sidath Wettimuny, the former opening batsman, that would have clustered the clubs of a region together to form one of seven provincial sides. The teams would be made up of the best players from each club within the region, and compete with other provinces on a more regular basis. However, a number of clubs opposed the proposal and Dharmadasa said that the board has "to go with the club structure".

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo