Arjuna Ranatunga and Hashan Tillakaratne, two former Sri Lanka cricket captains, who turned to politics, addressing the media at common Opposition Presidential Candidate, Gen. (Rtd) Sarath Fonseka’s campaign office in Colombo yesterday (Jan. 15), said some national cricketers have set a bad precedent by getting involved in politics prior to retiring from the game.
The two former cricket stalwarts are now active supporters of Gen. (Rtd) Sarath Fonseka’s Presidential election campaign.
Ranatunga and Tillakaratne were critical of Sanath Jayasuriya, another past skipper of Sri Lanka, for supporting President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the main rival of Fonseka at the Jan. 26 Presidential Poll. Jayasuriya addressed an election rally in Ambalangoda last Wednesday, pledging his support to President Rajapaksa
“By getting involved in politics while still playing for the country, some players could tend to influence the sports minister and the national cricket selectors to make certain of their place in the team. It’s not ethical or just. Such deeds set a bad precedent as upcoming cricketers might think it would be better to support the existing political regime, rather than performing well in the game so as to establish their places in the national team,” Ranatunga said.
“Jayasuriya is supporting President Rajapaksa while still playing for Sri Lanka. He, by doing so, intends to make it back to the national team,” said Tillakaratne.
Meanwhile, Tillakaratne said that he has proof of two irregular TV deals the present Sports Minister entered into resulting in a loss running into millions of rupees.
“The entire sports sector has deteriorated. There are about ten interim administrations running sports. The President is safeguarding dubious characters,” said an agitated Tillakaratne.