De Mel answers allegations of ‘Born Again’, Hasaranga, and playing cards

* Rubbishes “Born Again” allegation saying some people cook stories for their own benefit

* National players are involved in paid social media campaigns against their own team-mates

* Not witness to the alleged misbehaviour involving Wanindu Hasaranga

* I don’t dominate others members of the selection committee. Captain’s and Coach’s opinion have bigger weight when series is on

* I don’t use either Facebook or Twitter. Started using WhatsApp only after becoming SL Manager

Sri Lanka’s national cricket selection committee Head Ashantha de Mel

Ashantha de Mel is the main target now, for sure, of every cricket lover here. The reason is the Galle debacle. He is the main culprit of Sri Lanka’s continuous four-Test loss, many would believe. Astounding selections, they say. Here is Sri Lanka’s present national selection committee Head de Mel’s own views and responses on those allegations.

“Born Again” allegation

It’s a baseless accusation. I don’t consider anyone’s religion in the selection of the national team. It’s total rubbish. Some people cook these stories on the social media for their own benefit. They said I had three ‘sons’, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, and Niroshan Dickwella. Two played well in Galle and one was excluded from the squad to get back to his form. Now they can’t say anything about those ‘sons’.

Players in social media campaigns

There are certain players who are involved in their own social media campaigns. These things happen to give a wrong impression about our selections.

We played good cricket in the series against England but were not consistent. We had very good sessions in the second Test where we could have capitalise and won the game. There were two bad batting collapses in two innings that put caused us to lose the two matches.

On ‘the Wanindu Hasaranga incident’

I didn’t make any complaint about the incident to Sri Lanka Cricket. I was not witness to such an incident.

I don’t think the players’ social media behaviour needs to be regulated. It’s their freedom. But they need to use it in a god way.

After the incident where some members of the squad were caught playing cards while the first Test was on were reprimanded by me. In fact they were not inside the dressing room. They were in a different section of the pavilion building and were not direct members of the playing squad then.

Dominating the selections

As a selection committee we always make collective decisions. We sit together and pick the squads.  But one the series is on one of us is there with the team. Then I have to give prominence to the opinion of both the Captain and the Coach because they are the ones who make all the strategies. Captain is the one who leads the side in the middle.

Do you associate with social media?

No. I don’t much associate those things. I don’t even have a Facebook or Twitter account. I recently had WhatsApp because I needed it as the team Manager.