Sri Lanka gets new cricket team manager

July 23rd, 2008 - 2:34 pm ICT by IANS  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, July 23 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s former Test cricketer Charith Senanayake has been appointed the new manager of the national team for the current Indian tour, as Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge refused to ratify the appointment of former Test captain Hashan Tillekaratne. “The Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) interim committee led by Arjuna Ranatunga met Tuesday evening and after lengthy deliberations finally appointed former Test cricketer Charith Senanayake new manager of the Sri Lankan team for the current Indian tour,” SLC media manager Shane Fernando told IANS Wednesday.

“The sports minister has also ratified this appointment,” he added, indicating that the controversy over the appointment of manager for the current Indian tour has now been resolved.

Asked about the fate of Tillekaratne, Fernando said: “He has been rejected”.

A 45-year-old former left handed Sri Lankan middle-order batsman, Senanayake had played three Tests matches when Sri Lanka undertook a cricket tour to New Zealand in 1991, during which the left-handed master blaster Sanath Jayasuriya made his Test debut.

Senanayake also played a dozen One Day Internationals during this period.

Minister Lokuge last week rejected the previous appointment of Tillekaratne by the SLC, citing his political affiliations.

Tillekaratne was not immediately available for comment in this regard.

Tillekeratne, 41, currently holds the position of an electoral organiser for the main opposition United National Party (UNP) in the district of Colombo. Lokuge, from the same neighbourhood, is also a member of the UNP but one of its 17 dissidents who joined the government run by the rival United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

Ranatunga, the SLC chairman, is a member of parliament from the ruling party led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Tillekeratne was a left handed batsman and a wicketkeeper. He played for Sri Lanka between 1989 and 2004.

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