Sports minister Harin Fernando said he was not involved in selecting the team for the 2019 World Cup and that there were selectors paid by Sri Lanka Cricket to do that job.
He said in a Facebook post that when the selection process was done, it comes for approval to the minister.
“The captain and the players are all picked by selectors. A minister does not get involved in selections,” he said in the Facebook post.
“The fact that DimuthKarunaratne was a Josephian is irrelevant to his appointment. Angelo Mathews and ThisaraPereraare the same. It is unfortunate that people bring up religion and other pointless arguments into the selection process. For those who do not know,DimuthKarunaratne went St. Joseph's College but is a strong Buddhist. I believe ones religion or race should not matter in sport or for anything for that matter. What I realized over the past few months of being a sports minister is that you need to have team work in a team sport. This is the responsibility the selectors have given him and I believe the current team will do its best and wish the players the very best at all times.”
The minister said we do not lack in talent. “It’s confidence and hard work that will get us over the line. Only 15 men get this opportunity of a life time. Hope they do justice and we as citizens can only support them and get behind them. My approach is never to interfere with selections as my predecessors did. I am certain of their victory. I will back them with all my heart and soul. Make sure we play to our true potential. I always believed a good player may not be the best captain and a good captain may not be the best player. There will be 11 men on the ground with different jobs in hand. Social media and print media criticize but at the end of the day there are paid people to do the job. I thank the selectors of SLC for the effort that was put in. My job from now will be to be close to the boys motivate them and make sure Mother Lanka regainsher lost glory. I wish the team and management the very best in the upcoming games,” he said.