Thursday, 2 December 2021

Sri Lanka selectors resign after series defeat by India


COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s selection panel will step down en masse after their current home series against India, following a turbulent year on and off the field.

After being whitewashed 3-0 in the Tests, Sri Lanka trail 3-0 in the five-match one-day international series, and Sunday’s match in Pallekele was delayed after angry home supporters threw bottles onto the outfield.

“We have decided to resign, we informed the [sports] minister our reasons for resignation,” chief selector and ex-captain Sanath Jayasuriya told the BBC.

Barely a year ago, Sri Lanka recorded a 3-0 Test series victory over Australia, but 2017 began with Test and ODI series defeats in South Africa, before they lost a Test to Bangladesh for the first time.

After they finished bottom of their group at the ICC Champions Trophy, coach Graham Ford stepped down in June, while the humiliation of an ODI series defeat by Zimbabwe prompted the resignation of captain Angelo Mathews.

Pace bowler Lasith Malinga was fined and handed a suspended ban in June after comparing the country’s sports minister to a monkey – while the selectors have come under heavy criticism from ex-skipper and politician Arjuna Ranatunga.

On the field, the side has been hit by a spate of injuries, with Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera, Asela Gunaratne, Nuwan Pradeep and Test captain Dinesh Chandimal all recently sidelined.

The India series concludes in Colombo with the last two ODIs (31 August and 3 September) and a Twenty20 international (6 September), after which a new selection panel will be appointed.

However, the outgoing selectors could be forced to name a third captain in the space of three games as Upul Tharanga is serving an International Cricket Council-imposed suspension for slow over-rates, while his stand-in Chamara Kapugedera, who skippered on Sunday, is doubtful for Thursday’s fourth ODI because of a back injury.

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