Ranatunga seeks to clean up Sri Lankan cricket

Jan 2, 2008 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s new cricket chief Arjuna Ranatunga took up his post Wednesday, vowing to stamp out corruption in the running of the sport. The 1996 World Cup winning captain said an independent audit group would scrutinise the accounts of the cash-rich Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) body before he took responsibility for the finances.

“My hands are clean. I will never try to make money out of the game’s administration,” Ranatunga, 44, who is also a government legislator, told reporters.

The outspoken former skipper also said cricket needed to be professionalised. The game in Sri Lanka is still based on an amateur system.

Ranatunga succeeded Jayantha Dharmadasa as the head of the politically appointed “interim committee” of the SLC. Dharmadasa had been at the helm since 2005.

Since the late 1990s, Sri Lankan governments have, on at least three occasions, dismissed democratically elected cricket bodies on grounds of financial impropriety and replaced them with interim committees.

Ranatunga has been critical of businessmen heading the cricket board and warned that Sri Lanka’s reserve talent was drying up. “I will focus on sch