Arjuna, first Test player to head Sri Lanka cricket
Dharmadasa resigns to pave way for 'Captain Cool':
Lanka's World cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga will become the first
Test cricketer to head the island's national controlling body for
The veteran cricketer turned politician is set to take over as
Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Interim Committee from today.
Jayantha Dharmadasa, who was the SLC Interim Chief for almost three
years, tendered his resignation yesterday, paving way for Ranatunga to
However, in his letter of resignation to the Secretary of the
Ministry of Sports, Dharmadasa has cited 'personal reasons' for his
Leading businessman, Dharmadasa was appointed as the SLC Interim
Committee chairman on March 24, 2005 by then Minister of Sports Jeewan
Kumaranatunga, who sacked the democratically elected SLC Ex-Co headed by
Mohan de Silva.
A few changes in the SLC Interim Committee too are likely with
Ranatunga in the saddle. Ranatunga, who is also a ruling party
Parliamentarian and a former Deputy Minister, is expected to meet
President Mahinda Rajapaksa before his formal appointment as the new SLC
Interim Committee Chief.
It is understood that Ranatunga has requested to have a couple of
experienced persons in his committee, but no final decision has been
taken yet. The other members of the SLC Interim Committee which
functioned under Dharmadasa were K. Mathivanan (Secretary), Sujeeva
Rajapaksa (Treasurer), Dian Gomes, Premasara Epasinghe and former Sri
Lanka Test opener Sidat Wettimuny.
When contacted by the 'Daily News' on New Year's eve, Ranatunga said
he has several plans to resurrect Sri Lanka cricket. "I have several
plans. Once I assume duties, I will have to discuss those at length with
my committee members. It's too early to elaborate until we start
moving," he said.
Ranatunga, who turned 44 on December 1, had a short stint as Chairman
of the SLC Cricket Committee under the Dharmadasa administration. But he
resigned from the committee, which had several reputed former Sri Lanka
Test players, stating that he was not happy at the way it progressed.
Better known as 'Captain Cool' during his playing days, Ranatunga led
Sri Lanka's 1996 champion World Cup team which beat Australia by seven
wickets in the final played in Lahore on March 17, 1996.
Incidentally, the chief guest who presented that glittering Cup to
Ranatunga to take Sri Lanka to the pinnacle of world cricket - then
Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated last Thursday.
As a schoolboy cricketer, Ranatunga made a dream debut, scoring the
first ever Test half century by a Sri Lankan in the inaugural Test
against England at the Sara Stadium in 1982. Ever since, he had been a
vital ingredient in the Sri Lanka team.
Representing Sri Lanka in 93 Tests, Ranatunga has aggregated 5,105
runs at an average of 35.69 with four centuries and 38 fifties. Making
his debut with a courageous 42 against England in 1982, Ranatunga went
on to play in 269 one day internationals, aggregating 7,456 runs at an
average of 35.84 with four centuries and 49 fifties. With his gentle
medium pace bowling, Ranatunga has also captured 79 ODI wickets and 16
During his tenure as Sri Lanka captain, Ranatunga led from front and
gave an able leadership to the national team. Among the most notable
actions in his career as captain was witnessed when his ace spinner
Muttiah Muralitharan was called for throwing in Australia. Ranatunga
retired from international cricket in August, 2000.
His brothers - Dhammika, Nishantha and Sanjeewa have represented the
Sri Lankan national team, either in Tests or ODIs/ or in both forms.