Sri Lankan cricket administration continues to be in a state of deadlock, with the pending elections for game's governing body being postponed again.
Cricket in Sri Lanka has been in a mess since Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Thilanga Sumathipala's term ended last month. With no election taking place to appoint new office bearers, and the process itself getting delayed for a month now, the country's sports ministry has now turned to former cricket stars to help run the sport.
Sumathipala, who has had stints as the Sri Lanka cricket chief on many occasions in the past, was appointed into the role yet again in January 2016, defeating Nishanta Ranatunga and his brother, the 1996 World Cup-winning captain, Arjuna by a fair margin. His term came to an end on 31 May, and it was a petition filed by Nishanta over Sumathipala's alleged corruption that led to the Court of Appeal putting a stay on the board election.
The court had initially issued the stay order till Thursday, 14 June, with Sri Lankan sports minister Faizer Musthapha appointing the Ministry Secretary as Competent Authority to govern the sport, a move that was slammed by Sumathipala.
"I am saddened by the action of an individual, which has led to cricket being run by the government like nowhere else in the world," said Sumathipala on 1 June.
With the elections further getting delayed on Thursday following a fresh order from the Court of Appeal, the sports ministry has decided to reach out to Sri Lankan cricketing heroes in order to salvage the state of the sport in the island nation.
According to Pakistani daily The News International, the ministry, at the behest of the national selectors, has decided to reach out to former Sri Lankan captains Arjuna Ranatunga, Roshan Mahanama, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, as well as spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan for the role of consultants.
"I will be requesting Sanga, Mahela, Murali, Aravinda, and Roshan to be consultants to SLC on matters relating to high performance of SLC.
Together with Chandika Hathurusingha as Head Coach of the team, I am hoping that these gentlemen will be able to bring back the fame and glory, once enjoyed by Sri Lanka when they were together as a team on the field," Musthapha was quoted as saying in the report.
However, Jayawardene has backed right after receiving news of the offer. The batting legend and former captain, who is said to be a staunch critic of the board's ways along with long-time teammate Sangakkara, took to Twitter to decline the offer, saying that he didn't "have any trust in the system."
"With all due respect to the selectors & the sports minister i have spent 1 year in the cricket committee & 6 months in a special advisory committee & no recommendations were implemented. I don’t have any trust in the system. If anyone wants to buy time please don’t use us!," wrote Jayawardene.
With all due respect to the selectors & the sports minister i have spent 1 year in the cricket committee & 6 months in a special advisory committee & no recomendations were implimented. I dont have any trust in the system. If any one wants to buy time please dont use us! https://t.co/tRXyLJ65n3
— Mahela Jayawardena (@MahelaJay) June 14, 2018
According to ESPN.in, the other former cricketers who have received the offer are yet to officially respond to it.
Barring Sumathipala and Ranatunga, some of the names doing the rounds in the SLC election scenario are Jayantha Dharmadasa and Mohan de Silva. Arjuna, who currently serves as the Minister for Petroleum Resources Development, has opted out of the polls.