The sudden resignations in Sri Lanka cricket continued on Wednesday, a day after Kumar Sangakkara stepped down as captain of the team in the wake of the World Cup final defeat.
On Wednesday, it was first the turn of the vice-captain, Mahela Jayawardane, to resign. Reports, quoting Sri Lanka Cricket secretary, Nishant Ranatunge, said: “Mahela had taken up the vice-captaincy duty only till the end of the World Cup. This morning, he handed in a letter stating that he did not like continuing as the vice-captain of the team”.
Like Sangakkara, Jayawardene also said that it was time to give the reins to someone younger in the team
Soon after, the members of the national selection committee, headed by former captain Aravinda de Silva, submitted their resignations with immediate effect.
In a statement issued to the media, and addressed to the cricket board, de Silva said: “In view of the fact that some major cricketing decisions have to be taken for the future of Sri Lanka Cricket due to important assignments in the coming months, we would like to offer to step down immediately from the jobs of national selectors so that the group of selectors you may wish to appoint, could be given an opportunity to make short and long term plans, in the way they think is best for our cricket.”
The outgoing chairman went on to explain that selection decisions were made without fear or favour.
“We, on every occasion, sought the views of the team management and at the same time maintained the distance that was required in such deliberations. The decision was always independently made without fear or favour, and what we thought was best for our cricket and conditions that were to be encountered.”
The spate of resignations has taken the country by surprise. It is being speculated that the loss to India wasn’t the only reason for the resignations of the two senior players and the selection committee. The four changes made in the final could have played a part in their resigning from their posts.
The replacement of Ajantha Mendis, one of Lanka’s most economical bowlers in the tournament, with Suraj Randiv has been questioned. And the decision to play the injured spinner Muthiah Muralitharan in the final is also being questioned.
On his part, Sangakkara said his decision to resign from captaincy was taken three weeks before the World Cup. At a late evening press conference on Tuesday, he said Mahela and Murali among the players and de Silva among the selectors knew about his decision.
He mentioned Thilan Samaraweera, Angelo Mathews and Lasith Malinga as prospective leaders.
The end of a World Cup was the appropriate time for bringing in long-term changes in cricket, Sangakkara said, adding that for Lankan cricket “the future starts now.”
With a lot of young talent, the future of Lankan cricket surely looks bright. But the mass resignations within 24 hours might have pushed the island nation’s cricket to an uncertain present.
PTI adds: Former Australian batsman Stuart Law was Wednesday named Sri Lanka’s interim head coach.
Law has been working as Sri Lanka’s assistant coach under Bayliss since October 2009.