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Blaming the series of defeats on the players and the head of the Sri Lanka cricket board, former captain Arjuna Ranatunga has said that the International Cricket Council should get involved and investigate the board president. Ranatunga accused the president of being involved in gambling and players for having “no discipline in the team.”
“There is no proper discipline in the team… (but) no point in blaming the cricketers when they get involved in all these gambling things. First they have to get the officials in order,” Ranatunga told AFP.
Last few months haven’t been good for Sri Lanka cricket as they exited the Champions Trophy from the group stage, lost an ODI series to Zimbabwe at home and have now lost the ongoing Test series against India.
Ranatunga urged the ICC to investigate Sri Lanka Cricket president Thilanga Sumathipala, 52, for being involved in gaming and remove him as head.
“I want to know if the ICC has a backbone to check if these people (Sri Lanka Cricket management) are in compliance with ethics standards,” Ranatunga told AFP.
Sumathipala, who denied the allegations, has said that ICC and Sri Lanka sports ministry have cleared him to be in-charge.
“I deny any involvement personally, directly or indirectly with gaming business,” Sumathipala told AFP.
Ranatunga is Sri Lanka’s minister of petroleum and Sumathipala said the wants to take over the board from him. He also said this is not the first time allegations against the board have been made.
“If he wants to criticise the government, he must first resign,” Sumathipala said. “Every time the game is affected at the middle, Sri Lanka cricketers are not performing to the expectation, we hear this kind of noise coming from the same quarter,” Sumathipala said.
“The same man (Ranatunga) is continuously making every effort undemocratically, unethically to hold office of Sri Lanka Cricket, even when he has been democratically defeated more than once,” Sumathipala said.
Ranatunga, since his retirement from cricket, has been active in politics and also ran the cricket board as unelected administrator in 2008. He lost the electiosn last year. The next elections are only five months away.
“I thought OK, if the government thinks this is right — and I am part of this government — I tried to take a step back and allowed them (the board) to run. They have messed up everything,” Ranatunga said.