Tillakaratne continues as cricket manager

July 18th, 2008 - 10:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, July 18 (IANS) Former Sri Lanka captain Hashan Tillakaratne will continue as the manager of the national cricket team despite the sports minister’s vehement opposition to his appointment. Tillakaratne, a veteran of 83 Test matches is also a politician attached with the main opposition party, United National Party (UNP) and that led to Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge to ask for his removal from the manager’s post.

“We have clear policies according to which Tillakaratne must chose between politics and his role in the team. I have indicated to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) that he be removed from the position,” Lokuge told IANS Friday.

Tillakaratne meanwhile is unruffled by these developments and claims to have the backing of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on the matter.

“I am still the Manager and I attended team practices this morning,” Tillakaratne said.

“I have been not told anything and I have received the full backing of the cricket board to continue in this capacity. My focus at the moment is on the Test series against India and together with the coaching staff we are getting the players ready for the challenge,” he added.

Lokuge however have gone on record to say that when the final squad is submitted for his ratification, he would use his discretion. According to the sports law, all teams chosen to represent the country need the ratification of the minister.

Tillakaratne took over from Srian Samararatne, whose one-year term as the manager ended with the Asia Cup.

Tillekeratne’s appointment is only for the India’s Test and ODI series and the board is expected to announce a permanent manager after the series.

Politicians handling sports matters in Sri Lanka were nothing new. The current chairman of SLC, Arjuna Ranatunga himself is a MP while several sports bodies in the country have politicians and ministers at their helm.

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