The ICC Board announced on Sunday evening that the provisional suspension imposed on Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) would be immediately lifted. This decision was conveyed through an official release from the ICC. ICC lifted Sri Lanka’s Suspension after invoking it due to Government intereference in Cricket matters.
The suspension of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) had been initiated on November 10, prompted by what the ICC deemed a “significant violation of its responsibilities as an ICC Member.” Specifically, this violation was related to SLC’s obligation to autonomously manage its operations and ensure the prevention of government interference in the oversight, regulation, and administration of cricket in Sri Lanka.
The ICC Board clarified that it had been closely monitoring the situation since the suspension was enacted. Following this observation, the Board expressed satisfaction with the current state of affairs, asserting that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is no longer in breach of its membership obligations.
The sacking of Roshan Ranasinghe as Sports Minister
The anticipation of the suspension being lifted grew, particularly after Sri Lanka’s president dismissed Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe in late November. The extended conflict between the top leadership of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and Ranasinghe, spanning over a year, played a crucial role in the situation. The appointment of the new Sports Minister, Harin Fernando, added to the likelihood of SLC being receptive when ICC Lifted Sri Lanka’s Suspension.
Significantly, ICC CEO Geoff Allardice held a meeting with both Harin Fernando and the Sri Lankan President, Ranil Wickramasinghe, earlier in the same month. This meeting suggested a diplomatic effort to address the issues leading to the suspension, potentially contributing to the favorable decision to remove the suspension on Sri Lanka Cricket.
Leading up to the official ICC announcement, Sports Minister Harin Fernando had already conveyed his expectation of a change in Sri Lanka’s position within the ICC. Sri Lankan people will surely enjoy cricket as ICC Lifted Sri Lanka’s Suspension.
The initial suspension was perceived as a precautionary measure aimed at signaling concerns to Sri Lanka. According to ESPNcricinfo, it was reported that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) itself had sought the suspension. The move was seen as a strategic attempt to communicate to the Sri Lankan government that the ICC would not tolerate any further interference in cricket affairs.
Under-19 World Cup Relocation
Subsequent to the suspension, the men’s Under-19 World Cup, which was in progress in Sri Lanka, underwent a relocation to South Africa. Despite this development, there were no immediate disruptions to the regular functioning of cricket operations in Sri Lanka. The ICC Board had come to an agreement ensuring that the suspension would not impede cricket activities at different levels, including bilateral and domestic series and tournaments.
It was specified that control over the ICC’s annual funding allocated to Sri Lanka would be retained until the suspension was lifted. Despite these financial considerations, Sri Lanka notably hosted a successful white-ball series against Zimbabwe in early 2024.
In early November, Sri Lanka’s Sports Minister, Roshan Ranasinghe, made a controversial decision by dismissing the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Board. To fill the void, he set up an interim committee with Arjuna Ranatunga at its helm. However, the country’s legal system swiftly intervened, reinstating the original SLC Board a mere day after its dismissal. This reinstatement was facilitated by issuing a 14-day stay order on the official announcement, known as the gazette, which had initially dissolved the board. The courts’ intervention underscored the legal complexities and challenges surrounding the decision to dismiss and replace the SLC Board.
During the period of the ICC suspension, the originally elected Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Board retained control over cricket operations in the country. This implies that despite the prior controversy surrounding their dismissal and reinstatement, they were still responsible for overseeing cricket affairs during the suspension.
SLC Becomes Full Member of ICC for the Second Time
ICC lifted Sri Lanka’s Suspension has been a good decision for young players. Sri Lanka’s youngster Dilshan Madhushanka was among the 10 best bowlers of the World Cup. Notably, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) marked the second instance of a Full Member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) facing suspension in recent history. The first instance occurred in 2019 when Zimbabwe Cricket was suspended. Both suspensions were imposed due to similar concerns related to governance issues and external interference in the administration of cricket, underscoring a recurring challenge within Full Member nations.