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Hemaka Amarasuriya responds to claims of Thilanga attending ICC Meeting

Former Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket Mr. Hemaka Amarasuriya and the leading sponsor of the sport prior to that at a time when the game was in dire straits has sent us the following response for the article titled ‘Mahanama’s book reveals Ranil backed Thilanga undermining Amarasuriya’ that appeared in last week’s Sunday Island.

“I write with reference to the above article and wish to point out certain misstatements and inaccuracies pertaining to the Book written by former Sri Lanka cricketer Roshan Mahanama – ‘My innings, Retired Hurt to the Best View of the Game’.

The first and second paragraphs of the said article are reproduced below:

‘Among those who follow the gentleman’s game closely, many regard UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Mr. Clean. But if they get hold of Roshan Mahnama’s new book, they will have a second opinion. Mahanama in his autobiography ‘My Innings’ goes onto claim that Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister in 2002 stopped then cricket chief Hemaka Amarasuriya from attending an ICC Meeting and instead nominated Thilanga Sumathipala.

“We were appointed to mange Sri Lanka Cricket due to a prevalent issue at the time, till fresh elections appointed a new committee. However, this was a very brief stint as the level of politics involved was contrary to my work ethic and principles. As an example, the Interim Committee decided that the Chairman Hemaka Amarasuriya should attend the ICC annual meeting. However, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe overruled and said that Thilanga Sumathipala who was not even part of the committee at the time, would attend instead,” writes Mahanama.

I wish to set the record straight that I served as the Chairman of the Interim Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket at the relevant time in 2002 when Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe was the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

As the Chairman of the said Interim Committee, I was designated by the Committee to represent Sri Lanka Cricket at the forthcoming meeting of the Directors of the International Cricket Council (ICC) to be held at Lord’s Cricket Grounds, London which was the then Headquarters of ICC.

It was brought to the notice of Sri Lanka Cricket that Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala was lobbying to attend the said meeting of the Directors of the International Cricket Council. Some members of the Interim Committee did resign over this issue.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe made it clear that myself as the Chairman of the Interim Committee should attend and requested Sri Lanka Cricket and the then Secretary of the Ministry of Sports to obtain the opinion of the Attorney General Mr. K.C. Kamalasabayson PC, who was the then Attorney General of Sri Lanka.

I consulted my lawyers and it was discovered that there was an interim injunction that was issued by the District Court of Colombo against Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala in a case filed by Mr. Clifford Ratwatte. The interim injunction restrained Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala from taking part in any activities of Sri Lanka Cricket until the hearing and final determination of that pending action. The Interim Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket and the Ministry of Sports officials were aware of the said interim injunction and if Sri Lanka Cricket was to be part and permit Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala in attending the said ICC meeting of the Directors, they would all be guilty of aiding and abetting Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala in violating the interim injunction issued against him.

Accordingly, these factors were brought to the notice of the Honourable Attorney General who opined that Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala can not represent Sri Lanka Cricket as it would be in violation of the interim injunction issued against him.

Accordingly, as endorsed by the Interim Committee, I proceeded to attend the Directors meeting of the ICC, that was held at Lord’s, London.

Thus the first two paragraphs of the said article are misleading and the accounts therein are inaccurate.

Hemaka Amarasuriya

Former Chairman

Sri Lanka Cricket

ISLAND.LK

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