The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Arjuna blames it on politics

Chennai: Former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga has identified political interference in cricket as the reason for Sri Lanka’s dip in performance and blamed the cricket board.

“There is political interference in selection and that is why we are going down and down,” said Ranatunga Friday.

The cricketer-turned-commentator was on his way to Mumbai for an exhibition match to raise funds for a philanthropic project by singer Lata Mangeshkar.

Ranatunga attacked the Sri Lankan board for the fall in the team’s performance. He said the Sri Lankan sports ministry was not doing anything and the “interference” in selection started in the past couple of years.

About the team’s performance in the World Cup, Ranatunga said: “We are disappointed but we made mistakes too. We did not play well enough against the Australians in the semi-finals”.

Vice-captain of the team in South Africa, Mahela Jayawardene accepted that his poor form contributed to the team’s indifferent performance. “I am equally disappointed with my own form and the team’s poor showing.”

Speaking about his exclusion from the Sharjah tournament he said: “No player can complain on these aspects when he has not performed.”

Muttiah Muralidharan refused to accept that there was a big gap in standards between Australians and other top teams, especially in one-dayers.

“The gap is not big. It is just that the Aussies have maintained their winning habit and their confidence is high. ” (PTI)

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