Thursday, May 27, 2010

Aravinda heads new cricket selection panel

By Channaka de Silva

Sports Minister C.B. Ratnayake has sacked the national cricket selectors headed by Asantha de Mel and appointed a fresh set of selectors headed by batting legend Aravinda de Silva.

The Minister said that his move was aimed at bringing an “auspicious future” to the game of cricket in Sri Lanka.

The new selection panel under de Silva includes two former Sri Lanka wicket keeper batsmen Amal Silva and Ranjith Fernando together with Shabir Asgerally who has not played cricket for Sri Lanka.

“I have appointed stalwarts of cricket in this country for the job. They have cricket in their bodies. This is a move aimed at bringing an auspicious future to Sri Lanka’s cricket. We have to prepare for the next World Cup which is barely ten months away. It is the most important thing in my mind, and appointing new selectors is my first step towards winning that World Cup” said the Minister.

Sri Lanka will be one of the co-hosts of the 2011 Cricket World Cup.

“I did not have to consult Sri Lanka Cricket for my move. I appointed the new selectors under the powers vested in me as the Sports Minister” declared the Minister.

Minister said he simply felt that the sacked selectors had been serving for too long.

“I am not unhappy with the job they did. But seven years is too long a time to serve as a national selector. When you serve in such a capacity for too long, so many questions crop up” said the Minister.

The sacked panel under de Mel included Don Anurasiri, Chaminda Mendis and Vinodhan John.

De Mel who came under heavy criticism in recent times following the Twenty20 World Cup which just concluded in the West Indies served as the Chairman of the national selectors since May 24, 2004 when he replaced Lalith Kaluperuma.

Asgerally also served in the panel appointed in 2004 under De Mel.

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