Tillakaratne Dilshan
Tillakaratne Dilshan (AFP Photo)

Former Sri Lanka captain Tillakaratne Dilshan on Wednesday joined the party of Mahinda Rajapaksa, on a day when the premier’s controversial government lost a no-confidence motion in Parliament.

Dilshan, 42, became a member of Rajapaksa’s newly-formed Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP). He played 87 Tests, 330 ODIs and 80 T20Is for Sri Lanka during a 17-year career.

Dilshan is to run for a seat in Parliament from the southwestern Kalutara district, SLPP sources said. Rajapaksa was named by President Maithripala Sirisena as prime minister in October following the shock sacking of Ranil Wickremesinghe as premier. After weeks of political turmoil in which Wickremesinghe refused to quit, Rajapaksa lost the trust vote earlier on Wednesday.

A parliamentary election scheduled for January is now in doubt due to the supreme court’s temporary order which overturned Sirisena’s dissolution of the current parliament.

Rajapaksa himself joined the SLPP two days ago, leaving Sirisena’s SLFP party. Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga was also a Cabinet minister in Wickremesinghe’s government.