Former Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara is in hot water after his highly acclaimed lecture at Lord’s, where he criticised what he alleged was a corrupt and politicised cricket administration at home.
Sangakkara received a standing ovation after his outspoken remarks but they ruffled feathers back home in Sri Lanka, where sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage ordered an investigation into the speech.
“Sangakkara’s lecture at MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) seems to have disturbed a hornet’s nest,” the state-run Lankapuvath news agency said.
The minister ordered Sri Lanka Cricket to make a report on Monday’s speech, it added. “Sangakkara is likely to be called to explain,” the agency said.
The star’s controversial claims came just days after Sri Lanka’s sports minister said he had forced the national cricket board committee to step down following allegations of financial mismanagement.
In his speech, Sangakkara welcomed the International Cricket Council (ICC) directive requiring all national boards to be elected without political interference.
“We have to aspire to better administration,” said Sangakkara.
“The administration needs to adopt the same values enshrined by the team over the years: integrity, transparency, commitment and discipline.”
He said power games among cricket administrators, as well as board politics, had triggered rifts, ill feeling and distrust among key players.
He quit the captaincy after Sri Lanka lost the World Cup final to India.
Sangakkara, 33, became the youngest man to deliver the Cowdrey Lecture at MCC, which owns Lord’s, the self-styled “home of cricket” in northwest London.
The lecture was inaugurated in 2001 in memory of the late former England captain Colin Cowdrey.
Last week, the ICC gave all member boards until its next meeting in June 2012 to implement the new board ruling and a further 12 months — to June 2013 — before any sanctions will be considered.