Mafia inside Sri Lanka Cricket working against me: Ranatunga

November 7th, 2008 - 10:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Colombo, Nov 7 (IANS) Chairman of interim governing body of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Arjuna Ranatunga made strong allegations, saying that a ‘mafia’ within the board was working against him.”There is a mafia inside Sri Lanka Cricket. That mafia can’t push me down. We wanted to carry out certain changes at the Sri Lanka Cricket, but it is not an easy thing,” Ranatunga, Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning captain, was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror here Friday.

Ranatunga made these comments while speaking as the chief guest at the annual prize giving ceremony of the Kandy District Sports Development Foundation in the island’s central province.

Ranatunga was at loggerheads with Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge on the issue of scheduling the England tour, which clashed with the timing of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL).

Ranatunga wanted Sri Lanka to go ahead with the proposed England tour next year, but the Lokuge stood his ground, saying that national players who had entered into a three-year agreement with the IPL well before the England tour was scheduled, should be allowed to play in Twenty20 League.

Ranatunga, a member of parliament of the ruling coalition of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, also expressed his desire to become the sports minister to develop the game.

“Due to the need of the sportsmen and women and also the sports loving public, I have developed a longing to become the sports minister of this country. I am going for that position to make Sri Lanka shine in the world through sports,” he said.

“I was not someone who was willing to enter politics. (But) I entered politics, hoping to do something for cricket.”

Ranatunga has also said that President Rajapaksa has instructed him “to successfully handle a project to take sports to the villages”.

“We have already chosen 300 schools and have invested more than Rs. 25 million for junior and senior players.”

“My dream is to take the sports to the village, because I am also a product from the village. Our village boys are presently forced to go to Colombo to play cricket. There are no club teams now from areas like Galle, Matara, and Kandy,” he said.

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