Former Sri Lanka captain prefers cricket to politics

July 21, 2006 (AFP) – Former Sri Lanka cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga said on Friday his love for the sport forced him to resign from the post of deputy minister in the government. “I love cricket above everything else and I am what I am today because of the game,” said Ranatunga, who resigned as deputy minister of tourism on Thursday to devote more time to cricket.

Ranatunga, 42, handed in his resignation to President Mahinda Rajapakse after sports minister Jeevan Kumaratunga delayed naming a fresh interim committee to run the sport.

Last week, Rajapakse acceded to the request of 11 former cricketers to call off elections to Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and asked the sports ministry to appoint an interim committee that would include Ranatunga.

The sports minister, however, has yet to name the panel amid speculation that he did not want Ranatunga to enter cricket administration.

“If my holding a deputy minister’s role is a stumbling block in getting into the SLC, I thought I should step down,” Ranatunga told reporters here.

The sports minister had earlier prevented one of his ministerial colleagues from contesting elections, saying politicians should not get involved