Former World Cup-winning skipper Arjuna Ranatunga slammed Sri Lanka Cricket on Wednesday, accusing it of hiring “garbage” foreign coaches while ignoring local talent.
Sri Lanka won the World Cup once — in 1996 — and were runners-up to Australia and India in 2007 and 2011 respectively. In the most recent tournament in 2019, they did not make it out of the group stages.
“We spend huge amounts to import garbage coaches,” Ranatunga said, adding that the foreign imports were partly responsible for the low ranking of the national team in all formats of the game.
“There is good (coaching) talent in the country, but they are going abroad because there is no recognition for them at home.”
Ranatunga said former national players such as his 1996 vice-captain Aravinda de Silva, as well as Mahela Jayawardene and Marvan Atapattu, were among the best batting coaches in the world.
Ranatunga was marking the silver jubilee of the 1996 victory at a national ceremony hosted by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The country’s governing body last month hired Tom Moody, an Australian former Test player who coached Sri Lanka from 2005 to 2007, as a consultant tasked with reviving the game and rebuilding the national team.
Other former foreign coaches included Bruce Yardley, John Dyson, Paul Farbrace, Graham Ford and Geoff Marsh. The World Cup-winning coach in 1996 was Sri Lankan-born Australian Dav Whatmore.
Former national Test star Chandika Hathurusingha coached Sri Lanka from 2018 to 2019, but was sacked following the team’s disappointing World Cup exit that year.
He previously coached Bangladesh and is currently assistant coach of state side New South Wales in Australia.
Ranatunga added that mounting scrutiny in recent years over cricket corruption in Sri Lanka had painted his country in a negative light.
In 2019, then sports minister Harin Fernando introduced tough anti-corruption laws, after saying the International Cricket Council considered Sri Lanka the most corrupt cricketing nation.