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News

Sports minister looks to replace SLC officials with Ranatunga-led interim committee

The dissolution was precipitated by Sri Lanka's exit from the ongoing World Cup, amidst public outcry at the team's being dismissed for 55 at the Wankhede

Former captain Arjuna Ranatunga has spoken publicly in the past about what he would change if put in charge of cricket in the country  •  AFP

Former captain Arjuna Ranatunga has spoken publicly in the past about what he would change if put in charge of cricket in the country  •  AFP

Sri Lanka's sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe has sought to sack the Sri Lanka Cricket board, replacing officials with a government-appointed "interim committee" headed by Arjuna Ranatunga. It is unclear as yet what the ICC's response to this move is, given the ICC had taken a dim view of Sri Lanka's last government-appointed committee in 2014.
Under Sri Lanka's own Sports Law, however, the government has the power to dissolve the governing body of any sport - a power it has used several times on SLC in the last 20 years. But during the time of the most-recent interim committee, which presided for roughly a year between 2014 and 2015, the ICC had refused to disburse payments owed to SLC, and held those funds in escrow until a fresh board was elected by SLC's members. SLC was also demoted to observer status at ICC board meetings.
The dissolution was precipitated by Sri Lanka's exit from the ongoing men's World Cup, amidst public outcry at the team's being dismissed for 55 at the Wankhede against India. But trouble had been brewing for over a year, with the sports minister frequently accusing the board of financial misappropriation and mismanagement.
Ranatunga has also separately spoken publicly about what he would change if put in charge of cricket in the country.
He is the only former international cricketer in the interim committee, however. The others in the seven member committee are SI Imam, Rohini Marasinghe, and Irangani Perera (who are all retired judges of either the Supreme or High Court of Sri Lanka), Upali Dharmadasa, who has previously held top positions in SLC, and Rakitha Rajapakshe and Hisham Jamaldeen, who are sons of politicians belonging to the same ruling, political coalition as sports minister Ranasinghe. Rajapakshe and Jamaldeen work in law, and real estate respectively.
Soon after Sri Lanka's defeat to India last week, Ranasinghe had sent a letter to the other Full Member boards accusing SLC of "mismanagement" - a letter which he sought to essentially pave the way for his appointing his own committee.
The ICC's board is due to meet in the two weeks, and Ranatunga will expect to act as Sri Lanka's director (the ICC board is made up of directors from all full member nations) at that meeting.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf