Colombo: Just two days after the naming of Sri Lanka's new cricket selectors' panel, Hashan Tillakaratne has been included as a new member, the sports ministry announced on Wednesday. Tillakaratne would replace Hemantha Wickramaratne who has said that he would not be able to function as a full time selector.
Tillakaratne joins Sanath Jayasuriya, Pramodaya Wickremasinghe, Chaminda Mendis and Eric Upashantha in the new panel. Sri Lanka on Monday revamped its cricket selection panel with a new team under its new chairman in Jayasuriya.
Tillakaratne like Jayasuriya was a member of Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup-winning team and a former national captain. He played 83 Tests and 200 ODIs scoring over 8300 international runs before retiring in 2004. Like Jayasuriya, who is a government MP, Tillakaratne tried a career in politics. He was elected to the Western Provincial Council as a member of the main opposition United National Party (UNP).
Responding to criticism that Jayasuriya's appointment as the chief selector was politically motivated, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that Jayasuriya's name was an international brand which Sri Lanka was fortunate to have availed as the chairman of selectors. Speaking to newspaper editors, the President said he even wished to have the World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga in the cricket administration despite the former captain being an opposition legislator currently.