The Sri Lankan Cricket team, which suffered a spate of humiliating losses in the recent past, is expected to undergo a major overhaul before the South African tournament starting next week.
Sri Lanka’s Head Coach Chandika Hathurusinghe, Captain Dinesh Chandimal and several other players are likely to be sacked before the South African tour, sources close to Sports Minister Harin Fernando said.
Hathurusinghe was hired for an annual salary of Rs 90 million in January 2018 on a three-year contract at the start of 2018. Sports Minister Fernando has ordered Sri Lanka Cricket to seek the Attorney General’s Advice on terminating Hathurusinghe’s contract prematurely in view of Sri Lanka’s poor performance in international cricket.
Several senior players, including Chandimal, will be given a “break” from international cricket allowing them to regain form and reinvent their places in the national team. Several players from Sri Lankan ‘A’ team, who performed well during the recent series against Ireland ‘A’, will be fast-tracked into the team.
Dimuth Karunaratne, the only Sri Lankan player to secure a slot in the ICC world Test team for 2018, is likely to be made the captain of the Test team.
“The national team is grappling with several issues including internal rifts, divisions and increasing politicization. Players have formed several cliques in the team and they often don’t see eye to eye with others,” informed cricket sources told Colombo Telegraph.
Several Sri Lankan players have also come under scrutiny from the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Anti-Corruption Unit over match-fixing allegations. The Unit has set up a permanent office in Colombo and is currently working on multiple investigations involving several national players.
Sports Minister Harin Fernando flew to Australia last week to resolve the issues within the team. In addition to meeting senior players on a one-on-one basis, he also hosted a dinner for the entire and team and support staff on Sunday night, mainly to “break the ice”.
“We have already given up the 2019 ICC World Cup. It is unrealistic to believe that we will be able to enter the knockout stages of the tournament. Under the current circumstances, there is no point in waiting for the end of the ICC World Cup to usher in sweeping changes. Sri Lanka cricket is similar to a patient struggling with terminal cancer. Treatments must be given as soon as possible — the sooner the better,” our spokesman said.