Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe, who did not mince his words, demanding accountability after the team’s humiliating defeat, where they were bundled out for a mere 55 runs on November 2 in Mumbai.
Angelo Mathews became the first cricketer to be TIMED OUT in the Cricket History.
The Sri Lankan government has taken drastic action by sacking the country’s cricket board in response to a public outcry and growing discontent over the national team’s abysmal performance. The team’s catastrophic defeat at the hands of India, suffering a 302-run thrashing in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, prompted calls for the resignation of Shammi Silva-led Sri Lanka Cricket. This call for change was led by Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe, who did not mince his words, demanding accountability after the team’s humiliating defeat, where they were bundled out for a mere 55 runs on November 2 in Mumbai.
The aftermath of the crushing defeat saw a wave of demonstrations erupting outside the Sri Lanka Cricket premises, with fervent demands for the immediate resignation of the Silva administration. Sri Lanka was grappling with a cricketing crisis of epic proportions, one that required immediate and decisive action to restore the nation’s faith in its cricketing prowess.
Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe stepped up to the plate by appointing an interim seven-member committee to oversee the future of Sri Lankan cricket. The committee was to be led by none other than the iconic former World Cup-winning captain, Arjuna Ranatunga. Ranatunga’s name alone carried with it the weight of history, reminding fans of the glory days of Sri Lankan cricket when they were World Cup champions.
The announcement sent shockwaves through the cricketing world, as it marked the return of Ranatunga, a man known for his leadership both on and off the field. In a similar role in 2008, Ranatunga had taken charge of an interim committee, demonstrating his deep-rooted commitment to the game and the desire to steer Sri Lankan cricket back on track.
What sets this interim committee apart is its composition. Three retired judges, including two female judges, were enlisted, reflecting a commitment to impartiality and accountability. Joining this esteemed group was former SLC chair, Upali Dharmadasa. The committee was formed under the legal powers of Sports Law No. 25 of 1973, highlighting the government’s seriousness in addressing the crisis.
The decision to suspend the Sri Lankan cricket board was not taken lightly; it was a direct response to allegations of corruption and irregularities stemming from an audit report on the conduct of the board officials during last year’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia. The shocking revelations from this audit report exposed a web of issues that could not be ignored any longer.
However, the tumultuous state of Sri Lankan cricket extended beyond administrative problems. The dismal performance of the national team in the ongoing World Cup tournament in India had further fueled public anger. The team’s record of losing five out of seven matches in the round-robin stage left them with only a remote chance of reaching the semifinals. The once-mighty 1996 champions were now struggling to even make a mark on the world stage.
Amidst the upheaval within the cricketing administration, there was yet another incident that brought further shame to Sri Lanka in the cricketing world. Angelo Mathews, a respected Sri Lankan all-rounder, etched his name in an unwelcome record book. In a shocking turn of events, Mathews became the first cricketer to be timed out in the ongoing ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, an incident that occurred on Monday, November 6, at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in New Delhi.
The incident unfolded as Mathews took an inordinate amount of time to come to the crease after the fall of Sadeera Samarawickrama’s wicket. With the veteran all-rounder seen adjusting his helmet and pads, it became evident that he was taking far too long. Bangladesh’s captain, Shakib Al Hasan, seized the opportunity and appealed for a timed-out dismissal, a rare occurrence in cricket. The umpires upheld the appeal, and Mathews was visibly upset with the decision, leading to heated arguments on the field. Despite his protests, the decision stood, and Mathews was forced to leave the field without facing a single ball.
The incident generated a whirlwind of debates and discussions on social media and among cricketing enthusiasts. Some argued that the rule was too harsh, while others defended the umpires’ decision. It was a moment that divided opinions and cast a spotlight on the rarely enforced timed-out dismissal rule.
The timed-out dismissal rule, while not new, had been seldom enforced in the past. However, the International Cricket Council (ICC) defended the rule, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a brisk pace in the game. Critics of the rule suggested that there should be a grace period for batsmen who are adjusting their equipment, while others contended that the incident might prompt a review of the rule itself. The dismissal of Mathews had undoubtedly thrust the timed-out rule into the limelight.
The incident added another layer of complexity to an already turbulent period for Sri Lankan cricket. The team’s underwhelming performance in the World Cup, combined with administrative irregularities and the dramatic suspension of the cricket board, highlighted the dire need for reform and reinvigoration in Sri Lankan cricket.
The fault lines within Sri Lankan cricket were becoming increasingly apparent, leading to the dramatic decision by the government to intervene and restore the nation’s cricketing pride. The appointment of Arjuna Ranatunga, a figure synonymous with Sri Lankan cricketing glory, as the head of the interim committee added a sense of hope and nostalgia to the unfolding drama. Yet, the challenges ahead were daunting, and the road to redemption for Sri Lankan cricket was uncertain.
Sri Lankan cricket found itself in the midst of a perfect storm. A catastrophic defeat in the World Cup, allegations of corruption and irregularities, a dramatic suspension of the cricket board, and a rarely enforced timed-out dismissal rule had all converged to create a crisis of epic proportions. The nation that had once celebrated cricketing triumphs was now grappling with a complex web of challenges that demanded immediate and decisive action. The appointment of Arjuna Ranatunga and the formation of the interim committee represented a glimmer of hope, but the true test lay in the ability to restore Sri Lankan cricket to its former glory and rebuild the faith of a cricket-loving nation. The fault in their stars had been laid bare, and now it was time to rewrite their cricketing destiny.