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Lankan Sports Minister wants report on Sangakkara speech

Colombo: Sri Lanka`s senior batsman Kumar Sangakkara could find himself in trouble with the country`s Sports Minister seeking a report on the hard-hitting speech he delivered at the Lord`s on Monday, criticising his own cricket establishment.

According to a statement issued by the spokesperson of the sports ministry Harsha Abeykoon, Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has instructed the head of Sri Lanka Cricket`s Interim Committee to submit his "observation" on Sangakkara`s speech.

"A report is called for by the minister as Sangakkara has criticised the sports administration in Sri Lanka, which comes under the sports law of the country," the release stated.

During his hour-long passionate MCC Spirit of Cricket speech at the Lord`s on Monday, Sangakkara poured his heart out slamming the "partisan cronies" in the SLC and called on the body to stamp out corruption and infighting.

Sangakkara, one of the team`s batting mainstays, was the Sri Lankan captain till the World Cup earlier this year.

In his speech, the left-hander said that team`s shock 1996 World Cup win led to a change in direction at the top of the sport in the country, bringing a loss of direction, transparency and accountability.

"After 1996, the cricket board has been controlled and administered by a handful of well-meaning individuals either personally or by proxy rotated in and out depending on appointment or election," he had said in his speech.

"Unfortunately, to consolidate and perpetuate their power they opened the door of the administration to partisan cronies that would lead to corruption and wanton waste of cricket board finances and resources," Sangakkara pointed out.

Aluthgamage, last week dissolved the latest SLC interim committee, which was accused of financial mismanagement for accumulating $69 million in debt from hosting this year`s World Cup.

"Accusations of vote buying and rigging, player interference due to lobbying from each side and even violence at the AGMs, including the brandishing of weapons and ugly fist fights, have characterized cricket board elections for as long as I can remember," Sangakkara said.

"We have to aspire to better administration. The administration needs to adopt the same values enshrined by the team over the years: Integrity, transparency, commitment and discipline," he said.

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