Four months into the Asia Cup cricket triumph, changes are to be made to the selection committee with its chief Pramodya Wickramasinghe likely to be axed, reports said.
Wickramasinghe has been the chief selector since April 2021.
From glory in the past, Sri Lanka’s game has fallen sharply in the post-2015 period due to a number of reasons, including the retirement of several seniors.
The selectors led by Wickramasinghe made long-term plans, some considered unpopular, to uplift the game.
One step they took was to give opportunities to youngsters, while resting seniors such as Anjelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal and Dimuth Karunaratne from ODIs.
Former head coach Mickey Arthur toed the selectors’ line in that respect.
The selection committee also introduced new fitness requirements which earned criticism at the outset but yielded positive results for players later on.
Since 2021, a young team led by Dasun Shanaka made some achievements including victories in three consecutive series after a lapse of eight years, one of them being against the strong Australians.
The Test team too, improved with no losses suffered in any home series in the past 18 months to take them to the third place in the points table.
In September 2022, Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup after eight years.
Amid such gains, Roshan Ranasinghe’s entry as the sports minister started spoiling a smooth run and created a number of problems.
He appointed former player Arjuna Ranatunga as the chairman of the National Sports Council (NSC) and interfered with the affairs in cricket and came to be at odds with the independence of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).
Removal of the selectors by citing the humiliating loss to India early this month as a reason is the latest problem encountered by the local game.
SLC’s choice of new members, including Wickremasinghe, has not met favourably with the NSC.
A final decision is expected today.
It is unwise to make sudden changes to the selectors’ composition, as taking decisions based on a young team’s performance in the short term is a failure to identify the real issues.
The sports minister is being used as a tool by some to make personal gains while the players are burdened with problems, and the game goes downhill.
Players should have the freedom to play the game, while competent administrators should be given the opportunity to run the game for its growth.