Sri Lanka in SA

SL shakes up domestic cricket

2012-01-19 18:47
Tillakaratne Dilshan (Gallo Images)

Colombo - Sri Lanka shook up its domestic cricket scene on Thursday by appointing a new panel to choose future players, following the national team's abysmal performance during their current tour of South Africa.

Sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage named a four-member panel of selectors headed by Asantha de Mel, a former national player, and gave them one year to put the team in order, his spokesperson said.

"The minister made the appointment for a period of one year from Friday and they will be entrusted with selecting the national team and suggesting ways to improve overall performance," the minister's spokesman Harsha Abeykoon said.

He told AFP the minister had powers to appoint the selectors who will now be entrusted with the responsibility of deciding the fate of skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan as well as Australian coach Geoff Marsh.

A local media report said both will be removed.

Dilshan is tipped to be replaced by former captain Mahela Jayewardena while Marsh is also likely to be asked to go, the local Daily Mirror said.

The report came two days after the government ordered a probe into the national cricket team's "crisis situation" after they fell to another defeat in their one-day series in South Africa.

Minister Aluthgamage asked the country's cricket governing body to investigate and recommend remedial action to end the side's recent disastrous performances.

South Africa defeated Sri Lanka by four runs on Tuesday to take a winning 3-0 lead in their five-match ODI series.

"Carefully investigate the current crisis situation in the national cricket team and report back to me within a week," Aluthgamage told the chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket.

The probe was ordered a week after another minister slammed the side, blaming lack of team spirit for a 258-run thrashing by South Africa, the island's worst one-day international defeat.

Sri Lanka did reach the final of last year's World Cup but since the retirement of bowling star Muttiah Muralitharan in July 2010, they have won only one Test match.

The Sri Lankan government is often accused of meddling in the sport, and recent uncontested elections for the cricket board were mired in allegations of interference.

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