Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Shammi Silva has warned that the country could lose out hosting Under-19 World Cup in January and February if ICC’s suspension is not lifted. According to Silva, ICC deputy chairman Imran Khwaja had taken a special interest in potential political interference in Sri Lanka. “About five months ago, the ICC came here when there was news of political interference, and held an inquiry,” Silva said. “Mr. Imran Khwaja met the minister and the president (of Sri Lanka), and told them the ICC would be taking it seriously if you don’t properly control this,” Silva added.
According to information that ESPNcricinfo has, it is only after SLC complained to the ICC about political interference in November 2022 that Khwaja traveled to Sri Lanka on a fact-finding mission. Both Silva and Ranasinghe held separate interactions to address the conflict over the past year. Ranasinghe outlined the sports ministry’s next steps as it attempts to have SLC’s suspension lifted by the ICC. On the home front, the ministry will seek a jugdement from Sri Lanka’s own courts that reinstall the minister’s Ranatunga-led interim committee.
It is Silva who is understood to have sought SLC’s suspension, as a means of putting pressure on the Sri Lankan government. “As a full member, it is our right to go to the ICC,” said SLC’s vice president Ravin Wickramaratne.