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Last updated: 27 March, 2005 - Published 17:56 GMT
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Thilanga appeals to sports minister
The newly elected head of the suspended Cricket Board in Sri Lanka expressed confidence that the sports minister will revoke the suspension.

Thilanga Sumathipala and Aravinda de Silva
"Give us a fair hearing"

Speaking to BBC Sandeshaya Thilanga Sumathipala said that the Annual General Meeting on Sunday that elected him as president of the cricket governing body wants to make an appeal to the minister to reinstate the status of the committee.

Sumathipala said he and a seven-member committee was elected unopposed at the cricket board's meeting attended by 94 percent of the members.

The new committee includes Aravinda de Silva, Duleep Mendis, Bandula Warnapura and Romesh Kaluwitharana.

"400m debt"

On Thursday, Sports minister Jeevan Kumaratunga sacked Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and appointed a six-member interim board chaired by Jayantha Dharmadasa.

"Sri Lanka Cricket was running with a debt of more than Rs. 400 million," minister Kumaratunga told BBC Sandeshaya after sacking the board.

Denying any malpractice during his earlier tenure as SLC president, Sumathipala said that the minister is welcome to appoint an independent body to probe into allegations.

"We have to make every endeavour to go and resolve this matter with the ministry," said Sumathipala.

He added that if the minister is not willing to give a "fair hearing" and revoke the suspension, the committee will have to meet and take a decision "to safeguard their rights and privileges".

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