A concerned Sri Lanka skipper Kusal Mendis on Sunday hoped the ICC’s suspension of the nation’s cricket body will not affect the upcoming fixtures of the national team and the preparations for the men’s U19 World Cup here early next year.
Sri Lanka has a busy schedule next year, starting with Zimbabwe touring the island nation in January-February for a limited-overs series. The 2024 men’s U19 World Cup will commence in the island nation on January 13 with 16 teams competing.
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has been in turmoil ever since the Mendis-led team exited the World Cup, losing seven of the nine matches it played in India.
“We hope the suspension will end soon, enabling us to practice for our schedule ahead. It will be good for the hosting of the Under-19 World Cup too,” Mendis told the media on arrival from India.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) had on Friday suspended Sri Lanka, a full-member, after observing government interference in the national board.
The Sri Lankan parliament had unanimously passed a resolution, calling for the sacking of the country’s cricket governing body, with both the ruling and opposition parties supporting it.
The resolution passed by Sri Lankan parliament amounted to government interference and that was enough ground for the ICC Board to suspend Sri Lanka’s membership.
Asked about the crushing defeats to India in the recent times, where Sri Lanka was bowled out for less than 100 runs on three occasions this year, Mendis said, “We had performed well against them despite being bowled out for 50 and 55,” Mendis said.
India had bowled out Sri Lanka for 50 runs in the Asia Cup final in Colombo in September and again reduced it to 55 all out in a World Cup league match.
Following the team’s dismal performance, sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe had on November 6 sacked the current SLC management and appointed an interim committee headed by former skipper Arjuna Ranatunga.
The legendary Mahela Jayawardene, who is the high-performance coach, said the players weren’t able to execute the plans discussed while trying specific roles given to each of them during the World Cup.
“We have seen a lot of deficiencies and now want to correct them and move forward,” Jayawardene, who figured in two World Cup runner-up teams in 2007 and 2011 said.
Team manager Mahinda Halangoda said the events on the cricket administration front were a concern for the team members.
“We had a discussion with the players so that they would not be affected by them,” he said.
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