Sri Lanka news March 7, 2016

Sangakkara appointed Sri Lanka selector in major revamp

ESPNcricinfo staff

Aravinda de Silva will head the new selection panel, which also includes Kumar Sangakkara © AFP

In a surprise move nine days from the start of Sri Lanka's World T20 campaign, the country's sports minister Dayasiri Jayasekara has appointed a new set of selectors headed by Aravinda de Silva, relieving the previous selection panel ahead of time.

Kumar Sangakkara and Romesh Kaluwitharana are the other major names in the new five-member panel, which also includes former Sri Lanka offspinners Ranjith Madurasinghe and Lalith Kaluperuma. Jayasekara said this new selection committee's term would end on April 30.*

"The appointment of the national selection committee was carried out by the sports minister, citing recent failures encountered by the national team in their tours to New Zealand, India, Asia Cup in Bangladesh and the inconsistency of selection criteria," an SLC release said.

The installment of a new selection panel is effectively an emergency, short-term measure, stemming from the board's dissatisfaction with the World T20 selections put forward by the previous committee. The de Silva-led committee has now made changes to that World T20 squad, and have announced them on the very day the team is due to depart to India.

The move also follows a brief period of friction between SLC and the previous selection committee, which was headed by Kapila Wijegunawardene. The selectors had felt marginalised by the board, and were also concerned they did not have sufficient say over the XIs that were picked in recent series.

De Silva, though, has led selection committees in previous years, and had chosen the Sri Lanka squad ahead of and during the 2011 World Cup, when Sangakkara was captain. Kaluwitharana has been one of Sri Lanka's top coaches over the past decade - most recently in charge of the Sri Lanka A side.

Sangakkara's presence in the committee comes as something of a surprise, as only seven months have passed since his international retirement. He also still plays in domestic leagues around the world, including in England, where he is set to appear for Surrey in this year's county season. He said he only agreed to take up the role because it was a short-term position, and because he felt the circumstances were exceptional. "Usually, someone should spend at least two years out of the team, before taking up a position like this," he said.

Kaluperuma had played Sri Lanka's debut Test in 1982, before making one more Test appearance. Madurasinghe played in three Tests between 1988 and 1992.

*The duration of the selection committee's term was updated following the release of that information

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Cricket on March 10, 2016, 21:25 GMT

    Come on guys, Sangakkara is going to be a selector, not a player. He is going to select from the same set of mediocre players that r available in SL. When Australia was doing badly, they did not appoint new selectors that were public favorites. They went to the grassroots, the domestic circuit which is the feeder line for the main team. They concentrated on that and look at where they r now. I am from India and have been a big fan of SL brand of cricket. I am surprised that Mahela's whitepaper on improving domestic cricket has been rejected by the board. It is high time some action is taken to arrest the slide, lest it becomes a freefall. From what I see, the new players do not seem to be skillful enough and the experienced ones do not seem to be motivated enough.

  • Raj on March 10, 2016, 20:52 GMT

    Guys relax. You need the captain who can motivate and get the best out of each players on a given day.

    Mathew is nowhere close, his field setting, bowling changes, shuffling with batting order, nothing shows his captaincy skills. He was just having some good time while Mahela and Sanga were around. After they left, not bcoz as a batsmen they left, leadership lost too. SL didnt groom captain material other than Mathew

    If you take Australia, Smith is a clever captain and also he sets stage by example.

    Every team have looses seniors, question is are we going to talk about Sanga and Mahela for the next 5 yeas?

    Come on, Mccallum left, NZ still performing well, Clark left Aus doing well under Smith, Sachin , Dravid, Lakshman all left within short period of time, but team is performing well.

    SL doesnt know how to pick players, out of form Dilshan and Chandimal who needs 20 balls to get going in a 20 over game are opening batsman, you decide the fate.

  • Arun on March 10, 2016, 14:28 GMT

    Sanga! you are missed in the SL team and by fans of cricket including Indians like me... All the best in your new role - hope you can rebuild SL to the past glory of your times.

  •   Ranil Fernando on March 10, 2016, 2:14 GMT

    Good ........ This should have been done as soon as the new board appointed. Now we can have hopes of winning. Look out for more surprises in the future. Don't try to imagine cos' you can't.

  • RKO on March 9, 2016, 14:32 GMT

    What is more important as of now is to boost the confidence of our players. No time to groom new players and we have to go ahead with the squad we have, no matter who is in the selection committee. I think there is a more important role to play for Aravinda, Sanga and co. than merely being selectors to talk to guys and instill on how to handle the situation - Ara, Sanga and Mahela is the best trio to do it (not SF or any political feature). On another hand, despite Chandimal was somewhat successful as an opener during Asia cup, we need a player with more fire-power upfront. Both Shehan and Chandimal are 'run-per-ball' players and if Dilshan doesn't click (very likely), the struggle begins straightaway and we can never think of scoring 180+, which is a very common figure these days. We miss our X-factor Kusal here, who could have solved half of the current issues in the team. In essence, a little confidence booster with a logical batting order change can turn the tables for Lions.

  •   Sajid Mahmood on March 9, 2016, 13:12 GMT

    A very good decision to pick the right man who has great passion for the game. Sri Lankan cricket needed someone like him to be part of the game. All the best Sanga!

  • Milroy on March 9, 2016, 12:54 GMT

    Understand the concerns about these quick fix by SLC.

    In my opinion "Something is better than nothing"

    The way Sri Lankan team is playing and their body language is not our culture, Sri Lankans are known to be fighters, team players and entertainers. In recent matches the fans lost all faith and excitement due to known/unknown facts. We all understand there were loopholes and previous managements are responsible for these fluctuations in our game. This happens in every 10-15 years or after we lead all ICC ranking with the retirement of senior players. Part of the problem I believe is also due to change of governments and too much political interference in to the game. We need a tough/strict national policy for cricket which is handled by genuine contributors to the game. I am trying to be positive without making negative comments about my team and at this time we need be patient and motivate the youngsters until they build a good team. Lets not play the blame game, but support

  • Sathis on March 9, 2016, 4:34 GMT

    I am a SL supporter. What could the selectors do whoever they are if the team is not experienced enough to handle experienced and well settled campaigners of teams like India and South Africa etc. SL has good talents like Chameera & Co. But it will take another two to three years for this young bunch to settle down particularly in a situation where big guns like Dilshan and Malinga are in their last stages. Until then we will have to go through this agony and embarrassment.

  • nipun on March 9, 2016, 4:02 GMT

    The team looks better now with the change but it still is not the best. T20 team need a player with that X factor and Srilanka just dont have it now. In each teams there are players who can be relied on but not in Srilankan team. Chandimal had good runs in Asia cup but he is nowhere close to become a great opener. A lot depends on how Mathews play. The rest should support him.

  •   Chris G Anthonisz on March 9, 2016, 1:20 GMT

    This is a big yr for SL Cricket. World T20, away tours to England and South Africa and Australia visiting as well. High potential to be an embarrassment this yr, up to Ford and this new selection panel to make required changes. Past selectors continued to turn to under performing players who cant cut it on the international level. Are they not willing to look elsewhere or is the cupboard bare?

  • No featured comments at the moment.