Former Test and 1996 ICC Cricket World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga claimed that he was disappointed to be in a government, which cleared the path to destroy cricket, the sport that put Sri Lanka on the world map.
"As a minister of the government it is with regret that I have to admit that the sport of cricket in Sri Lanka has been destroyed during the tenure of this government as unwanted persons were handed over the reins of administering the game," said present Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Arjuna Ranatunga, speaking at a ceremony held to open a privately owned indoor cricket facility in Walgama, Matara on Friday (25).
"Presently we have become the jokers in the world cricketing arena. What would other nations be thinking of Sri Lanka when we even have had to establish an office for the ICC anti-corruption unit here," he questioned.
"It is not private individuals or companies that should be establishing facilities like this indoor cricket facility or swimming pools in the provinces but the government and Sri Lanka Cricket," he added.
He also said that he had doubts if the past administrations of SLC had any real intention of developing cricket in the rural areas.
As Chairman of the interim committee of SLC in 2008, he said, that he gave priority to establishing a gym, a swimming pool and an indoor net for SLC.
He said that although he was able to achieve the first he was unable to get started on the second and had doubts whether SLC has it’s own swimming facility at present.
The minister also recalled that as member of the national Test cricket team that he was only paid Rs 250 per day.
"If the match ended in four days we were only paid Rs 1000".
"The most unfortunate document I have received was a fax sent by the Minister of Sports to the team I led to the World Cup in 1996 offering us an intensive for each run, wicket and for winning the championship," he reiterated.
A large gathering of distinguished invitees including past national cricketers were present at the ceremony.