The International Cricket Council Board has suspended Sri Lanka Cricket’s membership of the ICC with immediate effect.
In a statement released on Friday night, the ICC said that the SLC had breached its obligations as a member, in particular the requirement to manage its affairs autonomously and without government interference.
The ICC Board is set to meet on November 21, after which the future course of action is expected to be clearer.
Sri Lanka is scheduled to host the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup across January and February 2024.
The Sri Lanka men’s team have had a forgettable time at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, winning just two of their nine matches and finishing with four points. They sit at No.8 in the points table with three more matches to be played in the league phase.
On Monday, Sri Lanka’s sports minister Roshan Ranasinghe had sacked the SLC board and installed an interim committee headed by Arjuna Ranatunga, but Sri Lanka’s courts essentially reinstated the board a day later by issuing a 14-day stay order on the gazette that dissolved the board.
Since then, the affairs of Sri Lanka Cricket have been debated at length in the country’s parliament. But as of Friday, when the ICC suspension came, it was the elected SLC board headed by Silva that was running cricket in the country.
Even if the interim committee was in power, the appointment of such committees by the government had not prompted suspension by the ICC before. The previous occasion when an interim committee was in place, from 2014 to 2015, resulted in the ICC putting the funds due to SLC in escrow, and demoted SLC to observer status at board meetings. But they remained a member of the ICC officially.
Has any other country been suspended before?
SLC is the second Full Member to be suspended by ICC in the last four years after Zimbabwe Cricket was suspended in 2019 for government interference. However, unlike in Zimbabwe’s case, where all cricket activities in the country were abruptly shut down, in addition to a freeze on funding, the ICC will tread carefully in Sri Lanka’s case.