Sri Lanka minister wins over cricket board in selector row

May 31, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lankan Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge said Thursday his officials will appoint selectors for national sporting teams after a row over the chief cricket selector. Sri Lanka are due to host Bangladesh for three Test matches and three one-day internationals from mid-June. “What is happening now is that sports bodies on their own pick the selectors and send the list to the ministry for approval,” Lokuge told AFP. “These selections do not necessarily happen on merit.”

Lokuge said he wanted sports bodies, including Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), to send 10 names to the sports ministry for consideration to become selectors.

“My director-general of sports and other officials are capable of making judgement on their suitability,” Lokuge said.

The minister’s decision comes in the wake of last week’s controversy surrounding the country’s chief cricket selector, Asantha de Mel.

The SLC excluded the politically influential de Mel, a former Test fast bowler, from the selection panel in the list sent to Lokuge.

The minister, however, ignored the SLC list and extended the terms of de Mel and current co-selectors, Don Anurasiri, Shabir Asgerally and Amal Silva,