The Sri Lankan selection committee, headed by chief selector Aravinda De Silva, has handed in its resignation to the sports minister. On what was a second successive day of churn in the country's cricket establishment, Mahela Jayawardene also quit as the team's vice-captain. Kumar Sangakkara had on Tuesday announced his decision to step down as the the limited-overs' captain of the side.
Aravinda's selection committee was appointed in June 2010, and included Ranjith Fernando, Amal Silva and Azwer Ali. Its term was to end on April 30 and the decision to stand down in advance was, it said in a statement, to allow the new selection committee "an opportunity to make short- and long- term plans, in the way they think is best for our cricket".
"When we took over our assignment, our broad goal was always to hand over Sri Lankan cricket in better shape than when we took over," Aravinda wrote in his resignation letter to the board. "While like everyone else associated with SLC, we are also enormously disappointed at not being able to annex the coveted World Cup, which was lost to India in a highly competitive final, we are happy we have been able to meet most of our objectives in a very short space of time."
SLC secretary Nishanta Ranatunga clarified that the committee had resigned since it did not want to interfere with the selection at such a critical juncture when the team was without a captain. "They are willing to serve again as long as they are appointed," Ranatunga said. "But in the absence of a captain or a vice-captain they felt that the minister should handle the selections and they have given him the opportunity to do so. They have left it now for the minister to take a call on their resignation."
Ranatunga also confirmed that on its own, the SLC was not planning to interfere until the sports minister takes a call. "We will not appoint any interim committee or anything such," he said.
Jayawardene was Sri Lanka's captain before Sangakkara took over in February 2009. He had agreed to be Sangakkara's deputy on an interim basis for the World Cup. "I think it's time to move on, give the reins to someone younger in the team," Jayawardene told AFP.
SLC chairman DS de Silva said the governing body had accepted Jayawardene's resignation. "The selectors will sit down in the next two to three days to choose a captain and vice-captain," he said.
Angelo Mathews and Tillakaratne Dilshan are the top candidates for the captaincy ahead of a tough season for the Sri Lankan team, including tours of Australia and England. Sangakkara had earlier insisted that his decision to step down would not create a leadership vacuum in the side.