Arjuna Ranatunga, Sri Lanka’s former World Cup winning cricket captain and Minister of Petroleum Resources Development, has urged cricket fans in Sri Lanka “not to behave in an unruly manner, like Indian fans”. His remarks came a day after angry Sri Lankan fans threw water bottles into the field on Sunday, disrupting play during the third One Day International between India and Sri Lanka in Kandy. India clinched the match, and the series.
Mr. Ranatunga, who also wrote a detailed note to President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in this connection, squarely blamed the country’s cricket administration for failing to establish a mechanism to make cricketers stronger mentally. “The cricket administration is directly responsible for this disastrous situation. Earlier, cricketers were confident that they will be retained in the team, but now they don’t know whether they will play the next match,” he said, accusing the administration of allowing political interference.
Following his remarks and amid a growing social media attack on the Sri Lankan team, selection committee chairman Sanath Jayasuriya tendered his resignation on Tuesday.
The Sri Lankan cricket team has been under the spotlight since the beginning of the India tour in July, drawing severe criticism from fans and commentators over its performance. Even before that, the government had warned its national cricket team to get fit in three months or get booted out. “No one has a satisfactory level of fitness,” Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera had told a news conference.
Meanwhile, observers have underscored the need for fans be restrained in their reaction to match outcomes. In a recent column, Sri Lanka’s Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy, a former club cricketer, wrote that it should not be forgotten that the Sri Lankan cricket team has brought great honour to the country.
Source: The Hindu