Jan 30, 2018

How did Santhush land in World Cup squad? Featured

The team selection for the prestigious ongoing U19 World Cup had been a major factor behind the Sri Lankan team getting knocked out of the tournament from the first round, reports say.

A player with influential parental roots in the local cricket arena has been favoured over more talented players, veterans charge.

One such player has been Santhush Gunatillake.

Ayana Siriwardena, the captain of the Sri Lanka president XI team, that played challenger trophy in India in December 2017. Despite being a star performer with both bat and ball, he was dumped for Santhush.

Too busy?
There were protests against the injustice, mainly from Ayana school Isipathana College. They had submitted a formal complaint to the Sports minister - Dayasiri Jayasekera who had been apparently 'too busy' to take notice of this issue.

Gunatillake had been named in the final squad and played important matches against Afghanistan and Pakistan but had ended up with failed performances. Team management included him as the opener, But he batted at number 08.

Also, the team management opted for him by dropping Hasitha Boyagoda, who was considered as best batsman of the team. When Boyagoda finally got a chance, he slammed two centuries.

Why was he selected?
Since this saga, many questions are being raised as to why Gunatillake was preferred over more talented young blood with several possible reasons.

Santhush's father is none other than Sirosha Gunatillake, the powerful secretary of MCA and a former president of Association of Cricket Umpires (ACU). Sirosha is also a good friend of one of the selectors, reports say.

Even before the team
Meanwhile, according to reliable sources, Sirosha Gunatillake was in New Zealand in that period. Also, he had apparently applied for the visa even before the team.

(Source :