Sri Lanka news April 17, 2013

New chief vows to take Sri Lanka No. 1

Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) new president Jayantha Dharmadasa has vowed to make Sri Lanka the best cricket team in the world in all three formats during his two-year tenure. His plans are to start at the grassroots level, specifically with the 'A' and Under-19 teams, where he hopes to form a strong contingent.

Dharmadasa also hoped to have the support of the executive committee that handles SLC affairs. Furthermore, he wanted to send scouts to the rural regions, outside the major centres, as most of the recent talent has come from these areas.

"I hope to get the cooperation of all the members of the executive committee in my endeavour to bring the Sri Lanka team to the highest level in world cricket and make them the best team in the future," Dharmadasa said after being elected president for a second time. He had served as chairman of the interim committee from 2005 to 2008.

"I will ensure that we will give much needed foreign exposure to our cricketers by arranging for more 'A' and Under-19 tours. Our Under-19 team is the one that forms the nucleus of future national sides. We will also obtain the services of qualified coaches, which will go a long way towards improving the standard of our cricketers."

Nishantha Rantunga, who was re-elected SLC secretary, called the newly elected members to shed their differences and to work as a team towards making Sri Lanka the No. 1 team in the world.

"We have been elected to serve Sri Lanka cricket. We should shed our differences and work towards achieving that goal," Ranatunga said, "If we can do that, it will be Sri Lanka cricket and its cricketers who will benefit. About 80% of the cricketers who play in the national team come from outside Colombo."

One of the two vice-presidents Mohan de Silva, who was elected from the opposing camp, said he saw no difficulty in working with the other members of the elected executive committee, although there were differences between the two factions prior to the elections.

"When we thought that cricket was not being administered the way it should be, we raised objections," said de Silva. "But I see no difficulty in working with the members of the executive committee. We have to work together for the sake of Sri Lanka cricket."

De Silva had filed a case against the appointment of Jayantha Dharmadasa to the presidency, stating that it was unconstitutional. The case is to be taken up in court later this month.

"After what has happened today, where I was elected to serve as a vice-president of the SLC, I don't personally see any point in going ahead with the case. But I cannot take a decision on it immediately because I am now working with a team." The new executive committee will hold their first meeting on April 23.

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