COLOMBO: Sri Lanka is launching an investigation into the woeful state of cricket on the island, the sports minister said Thursday, amid a string of humiliating losses and calls for an administrative overhaul.
Dayasiri Jayasekera said he was inviting former administrators, players, sports experts and journalists to brainstorm ideas about how to revive the game, beloved in Sri Lanka.
“I am hoping to get all these experts at a single forum and thrash out issues,” Jayasekera told AFP.
“There is no point in blaming administrators or the players without an in-depth study. The idea is not to apportion blame, but address the deficiencies and rally behind the national team.”
He has rejected a suggested clear-out of the cricket board, an idea pushed aggressively by former World Cup winning skipper Arjuna Ranatunga following this month’s 3-0 Test whitewash against India on home soil.
That compounded the misery for the national side after they suffered a humiliating ODI home series defeat against bottom-ranked Zimbabwe and bowed out early from the Champions Trophy in England.
“I don’t want to interfere in the administration,” Jayasekera said. “That might lead to isolation by the ICC (International Cricket Council).”
For years Sri Lanka’s cricket was governed by state-appointed boards, before a switch in 2016 to democratically-elected office bearers.
Ranatunga, who wanted a key role in the administration, was defeated at those elections.
The ICC had briefly suspended Sri Lanka’s voting rights before the 2016 reforms.
Jayasekera said player fitness was also an issue that contributed to Sri Lanka’s poor showing of late. The sports minister had already caused a stir by labelling the squad too fat and unfit to field five-day matches.
It is hoped the proposed forum, which has asked interested parties to submit written submissions about how to improve the game, will be held within a fortnight.