The Sri Lankan army announced that two of the country’s “internationally-famed professional cricketers” have been commissioned as majors in the military, as accused war criminal Shavendra Silva pinned rank insignia on them last week.
Thisara Perera and Dinesh Chandimal were both commissioned in at a military event at Silva’s office last week, where he “expressed his happiness by congratulating both of them”.
Silva, the current head of the Sri Lankan army, is banned form travel to the United States over his role in overseeing executions of Tamils during the armed conflict. His appointment to the head of the military met international criticism.
Both players have represented Sri Lanka’s cricket team internationally, in events around the globe.
“Always country first for me,” tweeted Perera. “Always has been and always will be.”
“A really honor and proud moment,” added Chandimal.
The Sri Lankan army has a long and close relationship with the country’s cricket team, having frequently teamed up for militarised charity events for Tamils in the North-East.
In 2011, the majority of the Sri Lanka women’s cricket squad signed up for jobs in the armed services. In the same year, the Sri Lankan sports ministry announced that the three biggest cricket stadiums on the island would be maintained by the military.
Read more in our 2013 editorial: Politics and cricket: stepping up to the crease on Sri Lanka