Sri Lanka President orders cricket elections to be put off

July 13, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse has ordered that elections to the country’s cricket body be cancelled and asked former players to run the game, the sports minister said on Thursday. Rajapakse intervened to end bitter infighting in Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) after a meeting with 11 former cricketers, including World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga, at his residence on Wednesday.

Sports Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga told AFP the president had asked him to cancel the SLC elections after the cricketers complained that severe malpractices leading to Saturday’s vote were ruining the nation’s most popular sport.

“The cricketers had a discussion with the president and he advised them to come up with an alternative to the elections,” Kumaratunga said.

“There have been death threats and various other issues leading up to the election. He didnt want any complications after the elections as the World Cup was fast approaching.”

A no-holds-barred contest was developing between Jayantha Dharmadasa, chairman of the government-appointed interim committee running the cricket body, and former SLC president Mohan de Silva.

Media reports in recent days said the rivals had promised hu