Calcutta: Arjuna Ranatunga’s resignation as Sri Lanka’s deputy minister for tourism hasn’t been accepted, but the island-nation’s solitary World Cup-winning captain isn’t attending office.
“I haven’t gone to work after putting in my papers before the President (Mahinda Rajapakse) more than a fortnight ago… That it hasn’t yet been accepted makes no difference… I don’t see myself as a minister any more,” Ranatunga told The Telegraph.
He quit after being made the target of a whisper campaign, which projected him as greedy for multiple posts — in the government and outside.
Speaking from Colombo on Saturday, Ranatunga added: “In fact, we (the former cricketers) are extremely unhappy that despite a directive from the President, sports minister Jeevan Kumaranatunga hasn’t reconstituted Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC)…”
That order was issued over three weeks ago, when Rajapakse intervened and scrapped elections to the body following an acrimonious build-up.
Infighting, sadly, has been a feature of SLC for years.
As part of a compromise formula, suggested by Rajapakse himself, the two candidates for the president’s post — incumbent Jayanta Dharmadasa and challenger Mohan de Silva — were to work together as co-chairmen and the ‘new’ SLC would have five former cricketers on its all-important committee for administration.
The sports minister, however, has retained Dharmadasa and his team.
“I can’t understand why the President’s directive hasn’t been implemented… It’s obvious that some don’t want former cricketers, particularly myself, to get involved in administration… After all, our style will be different and we won’t have an agenda outside the game,” Ranatunga remarked.
The former cricketers had nominated Sidath Wettimuny, Aravinda de Silva, Kapila Wijegunawardene, Pramodaya Wickramasinghe and Ranatunga to serve on SLC once it got reconstituted.
It has turned out to be a futile exercise.
“Now, of course, we’ve decided not to approach anybody for anything… Let SLC be run the way the sports minister wants it. If something goes wrong, though, he has to be held responsible… Even the President… That’s it,” Ranatunga maintained.
Very strong words, but then Ranatunga hasn’t ever been too concerned about niceties. He’s just not the type to mellow down.