Former cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga addressed a gathering in the Gampaha area, revealing his determination to take legal action at his own expense against those responsible for the degradation of Sri Lankan cricket. The cricketer-turned-politician emphasized the urgency of a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding the ban and called on the President to take decisive action.
Ranatunga’s statements, reported by Ada Derana News Service, shed light on his concerns: “How did we have to face this situation? Who is under this? That’s what we need to find. If a country is betrayed and a system is created to protect itself, the president must take tough decisions. I will ask the President to conduct a full investigation into this tomorrow. I will ask him about those who laid the foundation for this ban, and what statements they gave about it. Who tried to destroy cricket in our country by doing that? What kind of punishment is given to those people?”
Expressing his commitment to cricket’s revival, Ranatunga declared, “I have decided today that we will build cricket. Let’s go to the courts. One day the people of this country will understand why we are trying to touch this.”
Ranatunga raised concerns about the departure of talented players, stating, “80 of our players are abroad. These are the best players. Why are they leaving? It’s not because they don’t love this country. Have we given them a chance? 8 players called me and told me brother we will do it but they said, there is no money.”
Highlighting financial disparities, he pointed out, “We pay foreign coaches in dollars. There is nothing to be done; now show them, they are the ones who have done well.”
Reflecting on the importance of discipline, Ranatunga remarked, “Those days, no one can stay outside after 10 pm. Can’t even stay out of the room. If caught, they will be sent home. Because discipline is what has been lost in our country lately. This should be done not when you come to the national team, but from a younger age, during their childhood. It should be done by parents and the school coach. Sanath, Vaz, Murali, Dulip were all formed by that method.”
Recounting a conversation with Minister Roshan, Ranatunga shared his mission: “Minister Roshan called me and told me to fix the cricket. I said I will look at the cricket side. Form another team and look at the administration side. I will bring the number of crickets in this country. I will take that responsibility.”
Acknowledging the need for change, Ranatunga expressed frustration, stating, “The the cricket administration of this country should be responsible for destroying cricket in this country. I don’t need to tell what those guys have done. The Auditor General’s report says what kind of destruction has been done.”
In a poignant reminder of cricket’s unifying power, he recalled, “When the sports minister tried to stop the theft, there was no division between the parties and the opposition in the parliament. The government and the opposition came together. When there was a war in this country, it was stopped for one day because we were playing 11 in 1996 because we were playing for the country. It was Arjuna Ranatunga’s team and Arjuna Ranatunga’s cricket.”
In conclusion, Arjuna Ranatunga’s impassioned plea for a thorough investigation, financial reform, and a commitment to rejuvenate Sri Lankan cricket aims to address the challenges plaguing the sport and restore its former glory.