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Saturday, July 20, 2024  
13 Muharram 1446  

‘Sack them all’: Outcry in Sri Lanka after World Cup humiliation

Anger over Sri Lanka’s miserable World Cup campaign has erupted after a humiliating 302-run thrashing by hosts...

Anger over Sri Lanka’s miserable World Cup campaign has erupted after a humiliating 302-run thrashing by hosts India, with the island nation’s sports minister demanding the cricket board’s resignation.

Sri Lanka were dismissed for 55 while chasing 358 in Mumbai on Thursday, the fourth-lowest total at a World Cup tournament.

Sports minister Roshan Fernando, who has long been at loggerheads with the board and previously accused it of being “traitorous and corrupt”, upped the stakes by telling officials and selectors to quit.

“Sri Lanka Cricket officials have no moral or ethical right to remain in office,” the minister said in a statement issued on Friday night. “They should voluntarily resign.”

Local newspapers echoed Fernando’s dismay with mass daily Lankadeepa on Saturday writing that explanations were needed from coaching staff over the “heart-wrenching defeat”.

“SACK THEM ALL,” screamed the front-page headline of the Daily Mirror, in reference to the board.

There was no immediate formal comment from Sri Lanka Cricket, but board officials said it had sought an explanation from coaching staff over the crushing defeat.

Sri Lanka has not won the Cricket World Cup since its sole victory in 1996, with Fernando blaming the board for the “deterioration” of standards since then.

Another cabinet minister, Prasanna Ranatunga, told parliament in August that Sri Lanka’s win turned out to be a “curse” in disguise that fostered a culture of corruption spanning decades.

“The World Cup victory was the biggest curse for our cricket,” said Ranatunga, the younger brother of Arjuna Ranatunga, who skippered Sri Lanka to victory that year.

“Money started flowing to the cricket board after 1996 and with that came those who wanted to steal.”

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