Colombo - A Sri Lankan minister slammed the country's cricket team on Thursday, blaming poor team spirit for their humiliating 258-run thrashing by South Africa, the island's worst one-day international defeat.
GALLERY: Proteas v Sri Lanka ODI in Paarl
Government spokesperson and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said he was "horrified" when Sri Lanka were dismissed for 43 runs at Boland Park in Paarl on Wednesday, their lowest one-day score.
"You can understand a defeat, but not something like this," Rambukwella told reporters in Colombo. "We are appalled. Something has to be done immediately. It looks like there is no team spirit among players."
Rambukwella said the loss was humiliating to cricket-crazy Sri Lankans who won the 1996 World Cup and emerged runners up at the 2011 World Cup.
Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage had blasted the national team even before Wednesday's defeat, saying the side was in "crisis" due to divisive politics among the players.
Sri Lanka has already lost the Test series to South Africa 2-1. After a five-match ODI series with South Africa, Sri Lanka heads for a tri-series tournament in Australia which also includes India.
Since the retirement of bowling star Muttiah Muralitharan in July 2010, Sri Lanka has won only one Test match.
Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan has blamed his side's inconsistent results on the island's weak domestic scene.
"It is very difficult to find good cricketers. We have to correct our domestic structure. Coming from our club cricket to international cricket is a huge difference," he said after losing the Test series.
Some players have complained about months of unpaid wages as the Sri Lanka Cricket board struggles with debts of $69 million after building two new venues and revamping a third ground for the World Cup.