DateLine: 1st February 2007
Sri Lanka's World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga has once again been ignored for a ministerial berth in the first reshuffle of President Mahinda Rajapakse's government.
The 43-year-old, who led Sri Lanka to World Cup success in 1996, is one of only four members of the ruling party who were not given portfolios when the cabinet was enlarged and reshuffled on Sunday.
Ranatunga entered politics in 2001 and made it clear he wanted to be the sports minister. Instead he was made the deputy minister of tourism. He resigned the post last year after claiming that the president had promised him the coveted position as head of the country's cash-rich cricket governing body, Sri Lanka Cricket.
The authorities denied they had made such an assurance and since then Ranatunga has remained a backbencher in the government - without a ministry or a post in the cricket establishment. Ranatunga fell out of favour with Rajapakse because he was seen as a loyalist of the former president, with whom Rajapakse crossed swords. The Ranatunga family has firmly established roots in the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party. His father Reggie, a former senior minister, is now the governor of a province while one of his brothers is a provincial minister.
Ranatunga declined to comment on the matter. Rajapakse appointed 52 ministers, 33 non-cabinet ministers and 19 deputy ministers on Sunday.
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