COLOMBO – The Sri Lanka cricket team apologised to the cricket-loving public of the country, following the team’s disappointing showing at the ongoing 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup held in India.
Sri Lanka captain Kusal Mendis issued the apology on behalf of the squad, during a press conference held at Sri Lanka Cricket’s head office today (12).
Furthermore, Captain Kusal Mendis asserted that the Sri Lanka team was not under any threats or external pressures to underperform during the 2023 World Cup tournament.
Meanwhile, in response to a question raised by a journalist about whether any pressure of holding the captaincy affected his poor performance, Mendis expressed that although the ‘unexpected captaincy’ may have had a minor impact on his performance, it is not at all the reason since he has prior experience of captaining.
“We were looking at how we could get selected to the final four. I was with that pressure. Captaincy is not a big pressure for me”.
Mendis appealed Sunday for the governing International Cricket Council to lift its suspension of the country over alleged political interference in the local board.
“This is our profession and we can’t be staying at home doing nothing,” Mendis told reporters in the capital Colombo.
“We want to start practising as there are a few tours to happen next year.”
The ICC said on Friday that Sri Lanka Cricket was “in serious breach” of its obligations as a member, highlighting “the requirement to manage its affairs autonomously and to ensure that there is no government interference”.
The suspension came a day after Sri Lanka’s parliament asked the board to resign over allegations by sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe that it had syphoned off millions of dollars.
“As players we had no control over that,” Mendis said. “As the captain I only hope for its (the ban’s) removal so that we can resume our game.”
It was not immediately clear if the indefinite suspension would affect Sri Lanka hosting the Under-19 World Cup in January.
Team manager Mahinda Halangoda said Sri Lanka’s players had been told to try and carry on as normal.
“The team management had a discussion with the players and asked them to focus on cricket,” he said.
In the meantime, Consultant Coach of the Sri Lanka cricket team, former captain Mahela Jayawardene stated that they hope the suspension imposed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Sri Lanka Cricket will be lifted soon so that the team will be allowed to play.
Also, he expressed that the “issues of the cricket administration or other people are neither relevant to us nor these players. We can only control the uplifting of players’ skills and correcting down the mistakes through these experiences”.
Moreover, Jayawardene asserted that the selection committee had selected the best team from the available players, but they failed to perform at the World Cup tournament.
Sri Lanka’s inconsistency cost them dear at the World Cup as the team suffered seven defeats in nine matches at the 50-overs tournament in India.
Sri Lanka, who had already been eliminated, lost by five wickets to New Zealand at Bengaluru’s M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on Thursday while the country also failed to qualify for the ICC Champions Trophy 2025.
–With Agencies Inputs
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