In a dramatic turn of events, Sri Lanka’s Sports Minister, Roshan Ranasinghe, has ignited a political and cricketing storm by claiming that his life is in jeopardy. His assertions, made in Parliament, revolve around exposing corruption within Sri Lanka’s cricket administration, a move that has triggered a chain reaction of political retaliation.
Ranasinghe, speaking boldly in Parliament, raised the alarm by stating that his life is at risk due to his endeavours in exposing corruption within Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). He definitely called out President Ranil Wickremesinghe and his chief of staff, holding them responsible if any harm befalls him.
The Sports Minister accused President Wickremesinghe of orchestrating a campaign of political vengeance against him. This vendetta, as per Ranasinghe, involves framing him using false facts related to a vehicle that was seized under allegations of tax manipulation.
Expressing his dismay, Ranasinghe questioned the reward for his efforts in highlighting corruption. He highlighted his actions based on audit reports and his decision to appoint an interim committee to oversee the cricket administration, a move that triggered a series of confrontations.
“My life is at risk, I may be killed today or tomorrow. If something were to happen to me, the President and his advisor Sagala Ratnayake (Chief of Presidential Staff) should be held responsible,” Ranasinghe was quoted as saying by news website newswire.lk.
The chaos within Sri Lankan cricket began with Ranasinghe’s dismissal of the SLC management and the appointment of former World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga to head an interim committee. However, the Court of Appeal swiftly restored the original management. The Sri Lankan Parliament’s subsequent resolution calling for the sacking of the cricket governing body led to ICC suspension, citing government interference.
The turmoil in Sri Lankan cricket unfolded after the national team’s disappointing early exit from the ICC World Cup, finishing ninth out of ten teams in 2023. President Wickremesinghe had cautioned Ranasinghe against appointing an interim committee, anticipating potential ICC repercussions.
President Wickremesinghe, holding the authority to remove Ranasinghe from the Cabinet, stands at the centre of this political storm. The ongoing power play raises questions about the intersection of political influence and the autonomy of sports governance.
Sri Lanka’s suspension from the ICC due to government interference casts a shadow on the nation’s cricketing future. The ICC’s role in resolving this crisis and reinstating Sri Lanka to international cricket remains uncertain.