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