Kandy (Sri Lanka), Sep.7 (ANI): Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga has singled out Michael Clarke for praise over his snubbing of Indian Premier League and Big Bash League riches.
Arguing that the Twenty20 phenomenon is proving to be the downfall of Test cricket in his homeland as too many put cash before country, Ranatunga, now an opposition member of Parliament, said Sri Lanka's selectors were to blame for the present predicament.
He told the Sydney Morning Herald that the selectors decision to leave mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis out of last week's first Test in Galle was "unbelievable" and blamed administrators for not planning for the future.
He said that one need only look at Clarke, who has never played in the lucrative IPL tournament and has turned out in the revamped domestic competition this summer, to show his commitment to Test and first class cricket.
"I'm really impressed with the way Michael Clarke has been captaining. His passion for cricket, rather than thinking of earning money and focusing on other areas - not only the IPL but all these shorter versions - is admirable. There are lots of cricketers today who will sacrifice their country for money," Ranatunga said.
"I'm not really sure if Sri Lanka are focused enough to play the longer version. I am very disappointed with the commitment of most of the players, in particular I am really worried about a couple of the batsmen and their commitment to the longer version of the game. I think we look much better than Australia on paper, but they are more committed," he added.
"I personally feel there have been a lot of selection blunders. They have not picked the right side. Especially, when they play on a turning track like Galle, they should have played Ajantha Mendis. He has been very dangerous bowling against England and Australia. He performed so well in the shorter version without fielders surrounding him on good tracks," Ranatunga said.
The ex-skipper said he was also deeply concerned about a lack of forward planning in Sri Lankan cricket.
The country, still ranked a place above Australia at fourth in the world, has not won any of its nine Tests since the retirement last year of Muttiah Muralitharan and is facing the prospect of replacing the team's three most accomplished players-Captain Tillakaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardene are 34 and Kumar Sangakkara is 33 -- in the next few years. (ANI)