Arjuna Ranatunga West Indies Sri Lanka Dinesh Chandimal ball-tampering
Arjuna Ranatunga AFP

On Tuesday, Arjuna Ranatunga accused Sri Lanka Cricket of mishandling a ball-tampering scandal that saw national captain Dinesh Chandimal fined and banned for a match. Ranatunga, who has aspirations of heading the board, said the island’s cricket officials were to blame for the misconduct that saw Sri Lanka‘s skipper, coach and manager penalised during the second Test against West Indies.

Chandimal was caught on camera applying a substance to the ball and was later found guilty of changing the condition of the ball. There were concerns that the Test match in St Lucia was in jeopardy when Chandimal refused to lead his team onto the field after he was informed of the charge, causing a two-hour delay.

Chandimal, coach Chandika Hathurusingha, and manager Asanka Gurusinha were later charged with violating the spirit of the game over the protest.

“There is no one at the cricket board to advise the team,” Ranatunga said. “If they knew that Chandimal had done something wrong, they should have worked out an amicable solution without escalating the problem.”

Chandimal lost his appeal Friday against ball tampering and is out of the third and final Test currently underway in Barbados. He was slapped with two suspension points and fined 100 per cent of his match fee for applying an artificial substance to the ball in violation of the ICC Code of Conduct during the 2nd Test. ICC is due to rule on possible further sanctions against Chandimal and the two officials on July 10.

Ranatunga, who held up play for 12 minutes during a Test match against England in January 1999 during an altercation with an umpire, said the two scenarios were not comparable.

Ranatunga led Sri Lanka to World Cup victory in 1996. More recently, he has set his sights on winning a seat in Cricket Sri Lanka but failed to secure a berth two years ago.

The board lurched from one controversy to the next in recent years, with allegations of match fixing and corruption compounding the team’s worst streak on record.