World T20 2014 April 8, 2014

Jayawardene, Sangakkara lash out at board


Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have lashed out at SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga for his handling of the news of their retirement, soon after they landed in Sri Lanka following a victorious World T20 campaign. In response, SLC issued a statement refuting Jayawardene's "unsubstantiated accusations against the secretary", saying Ranatunga had not commented on the matter at all.*

The manner in which their retirements were made public caused controversy, when chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya expressed deep disappointment at not having been made aware of the retirements first. Sangakkara had announced his retirement in a one-on-one newspaper interview, while Jayawardene did so via the ICC's Twitter mirror campaign, in the week before their first official match.

"I'm very disappointed that without asking us what we had said about our retirements to any media, our board secretary went to the media and made certain comments about us," Jayawardene said. "If he had been a responsible person, he would not have done that. He would first have asked us what we had announced."

Jayasuriya later reconciled with the Jayawardene and Sangakkara, after he had spoken at length with the players. He had put their disagreement down to miscommunication - a sentiment Jayawardene agreed with.

"We later spoke to the selector who had also made comments, and he had also been told that we had announced our retirements. However, we hadn't said that. We had said this was our last World T20, that's all.

"I've now brought a letter with me saying I'm retiring from World T20, and I'll hand that over. But I'm very disappointed about the way we were put into that mental state before a tournament like this, by the person who is responsible. That's the true story."

While the board admitted Jayasuriya had "personally expressed his point of view purely from a selectors perspective", Ranatunga, it said, "had not volunteered any statement to the press regarding Mahela Jayawardene's decision to address the media regarding his apparent retirement". "Sri Lanka Cricket, as an institution, regrets such unsubstantiated accusations leveled against the hony. secretary ... by a senior member of the national team without verifying the facts at a public forum." However, the board would take no further action, the statement concluded: "Sri Lanka Cricket will make no further releases on this subject matter and shall treat this matter as closed."

When pressed for his thoughts, Sangakkara said he agreed completely with the views Jayawardene voiced.

"When I was asked by the Island newspaper, I said this was my final World T20. Neither I, nor Mahela, went out of our way to make these announcements - we just answered questions that were asked of us. Luckily, we were able to clear it up with the one person we had wanted to talk to - chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya. Once we talked to him, it became clear to him and both myself and Mahela what had actually happened. We aren't responsible for what happened."

Sangakkara had clashed with Ranatunga in October last year, over his Champions League representation, while Jayawardene had a run-in with the board at the end of 2012, about a confidential letter to SLC that had been leaked to the press. The players are also presently engaged in a contracts dispute with the board, after they had demanded SLC reinstate a players' share of the payment SLC receives from the ICC, for global-event participation.

10.30GMT, April 9: The article has been updated with the SLC's response.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • shane on April 11, 2014, 11:56 GMT

    @ Mohammad fafi# mate! with all the due respect I am telling u, you seems some one watched American baseball during entire t20 WC and just happend watch final randomly! waht about K janith in first against SA what about lahiru T. contribution in WI & NZ match & never underestimate sachithra S. contribution in vital moments. For u information so call grate sanga only contributed in finals! Know u r facts before u coment things on public..

  • Dummy4 on April 11, 2014, 9:59 GMT

    Concur with most of the comments posted.

    All through the cricketing world, both Sanga and Mahela are respected on and off field.They are just fantastic individuals.

    I fail to understand why does every National Cricket Board have some incompetent bureaucrat or an incompetent politician, either at its' helm or occupying an important position. Is there any qualifying process in terms of selection of the board members?

  • Dummy on April 11, 2014, 7:07 GMT

    Both are special players which deserves a retirement.

  • Ramya on April 11, 2014, 5:23 GMT

    @ Qazi Hassan - The Ranatunga mentioned here is not Arjuna its SLC secretary Nishantha Ranatunga who i dont remember even playing for the country!!! This guy can take no credit - it is in his time that the SLC has become bankrupt, has indulged in taking a dig at the top players of the country! I am with Sanga and Mahela on this!

    @rk_ks - That was too harsh on the players - the players are the ones who win you games not the officials. Well there has been times in SL cricket when due to financial crisis both Mahela and Sanga hadnt even taken match fees, had put up with deferred payments, had shared their payments with the team... during such times where was this board and why didnt it live up to the rules tht it set??!!!!

    Jayasurya was the one who started this profit sharing concept during his playing days - now they are making a fuss & taking it on the players which is ridiculous!

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2014, 21:41 GMT

    Both Sanga and Mahela are SL heroes. They should also remember that Jayasuriya is no less a hero. Finally, it was Ranatunga who brough respect to SL for the first time and is a true SL legend.

    These 4 must acknowledge each other's greatness and not bring down each other.

  • Rajiv on April 10, 2014, 20:39 GMT

    No other country sportsmen had publicly stated their differences with board. Only SL can do it. As soon as they have the cup in hand, they are showing the true colors and still people call them as true sportsmen. How. You are playing in ICC tournament because the board hired you to play. You got to stick to their rules. If you don't like the rules get out and play somewhere else. Oh ya, no other board will take them right.

  • Harry on April 10, 2014, 19:38 GMT

    Chandimal must be saying - can I now get into the T20 team please since there are two spots open? The answer should still be heck no. As I said earlier this is just noise as fans do not care about it. They are still partying from the WC win. Happy to see SL win even though it was hard to take India losing. SL played better cricket.

  • Dummy4 on April 10, 2014, 19:19 GMT

    @shanepe2003: Which is the youngster contribution you are talking about - the heroes for SL in the T20 WC are J'dene, Sanga, Malinga and Herath. I don't think any of them can be called as "youngsters". They are the old pros and the true reason for success. The only youngster who contributed to the team's success was Chandimal, by dropping himself!! If Sanga does not play that innings in the finals, it would have been another addition to SL final's loss list. So, first understand their achievements before commenting on how youngsters won the WC for you!

  • Nauman on April 10, 2014, 18:23 GMT

    I respect both of these great players. Sanga was a true fighter.

  • ESPN on April 10, 2014, 14:07 GMT

    Jaya and Sanga are legends for not only SL but for whole cricket. They are in their best form, it's the right time to take retirement. They still have lot to contribute in 50/test matches. Board is just an administrator cannot control players choice what they wanted to play.

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