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Ex-Sri Lanka cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan joins politics; becomes member of Rajapaksa’s SLPP

He received membership of the SLPP, party secretary Sagara Kariyawasam.

Tillakaratne Dilshan
Tillakaratne Dilshan. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Former Sri Lankan cricketer Tillakaratne Dilshan has carried on with his country’s familiar legacy of the game’s practitioners joining politics after retirement. The former opening batsman on November 14 joined Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna or Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP) of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. The day, however, was not too hopeful as Rajapaksa’s controversial government lost a no-confidence motion in the parliament.

Dilshan has been one of the most prolific scorers for Sri Lanka with over 17,000 international runs under his belt. He is one of four Islanders to score 10,000 runs in ODIs and also has over 150 wickets in international cricket. Dilshan, who played from 1999 to 2016, has also captained his country in 11 Tests, 26 ODIs and five T20Is. He has 39 international hundreds, 22 of which came in the 50-over format. The player was especially known for his scoop shot over the wicket-keeper’s head, a skill which earned the name of “Dilscoop”.

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The 42-year-old former player received membership of the SLPP, party secretary Sagara Kariyawasam. It was also learnt from the party’s sources that Dilshan will contest for a parliamentary seat from the country’s southwestern district of Kalutara.

Sri Lanka is witnessing a political crisis since October 26 when the country’s president, Maithripala Sirisena, sacked the prime minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and appointed Rajapaksa as the new premier. Wickremesinghe, leader of the United National Party (UNP), refused to step down and Rajapaksa dissolved the parliament last week and snap election was called on January 5. Rajapaksa himself joined the SLPP a few days ago after leaving Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

Former WC-winning skipper Ranatunga is also in politics

Sri Lanka’s only World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga is a member of the UNP and served as the country’s petroleum minister till the crisis of October 26. Ranatunga also had a terrible experience in the wake of the crisis as the gunshot fired by his security personnel killed one person after protesters started demonstrating against him. Ranatunga was arrested for a brief period before getting bail.

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