By S.R. Pathiravithana
“And they lived happily ever after”. How many times
in our life time have we read about this beautiful ending to a story
that sometimes had rather a very gory mid-run. However our earnest
hope is that in this story that we are going to unfold within the
next few hundreds words would have a “happily ever after”
ending and stay that way forever.
the past few years we, here in this column have not only been musing
but shouting our throats dry looking at the sorry state of affairs
in our junior cricket whilst not being able to find the “Prince
Charming” to put things right and convert this gravel valley
into a bed of roses like the way it once was -- the most beautiful
in the whole wide world.
we have stated before, a good two to three decades ago, Sri Lanka
School cricket or call it cricket at under 19 level was on or par
with any other competitor in the arena or else even better than
them. Mind you it was the pre-Test status era and still we churned
out cricketers from our schools who could match or surpass the skills
of their contemporaries who had been playing top grade cricket for
half a century or more.
came the slide in the mid-eighties. The SLSCA took full control
over the fate of the game at school level and ironically they bit
more than they could chew. The result was – that cricket was
broad-based in the island and thus seeped into every nook and cranny,
but at the same time in a very unprofessional manner. The end result
of this was seemingly pathetic. The standard of cricket which was
on a very high level gradually crashed to the level of getting beaten
by our minnow neighbour Bangladesh on a regular basis. However early
last week one by one the news lines began to strike.
after three decades of slumber the local cricket authorities had
taken note of the debacle and were planning to prop the “almost
dead giant”. So in a bid to get closer to their endeavour
The Sunday Musings dug into the thoughts of none other the president
of the SLC – Jayantha Dharmadasa.
Dharmadasa began “When we were schooling the structure was
such we had the Anura Tennekones to Arjuna Ranatunges coming into
the national side and staying there for a given period of time.
However now there are players who come in and go out, but cannot
sustain their places in the national side. Actually what we see
is a shortcoming of the system.
schools can not afford the fees demanded by good coaches and as
a result they have to go to the ones with lesser skills or else
to find the balance money from the parents. When the parents pump
in the money to sustain the coach, obviously the coach is under
obligation to the parents. In such manner the schools were facing
various difficulties of providing the correct infrastructure to
the schools like coaches, wickets and other allied facilities for
good cricket. Nothing had been done and now we have identified such
“Now we have appointed Provincial Coaches followed by district
coaches, club coaches and finally the school coaches.
from the tender age of under thirteen, under fifteen, under seventeen
etc… you must catch them young at the under thirteen and under
fifteen levels if you are going to correct them. It must be done
at this stage or else this becomes a difficult process. Moreover
now we have identified and got the right people to man these areas.
Besides this we are also having a dialogue with the education authorities
who are in charge of the schools and get them also involved in the
development process of cricket at school level.
“In addition to this we are also hoping to install Astro-turfs
on needy grounds so that cricket in those provinces will automatically
short we will leave no stone unturned till we bring back junior
cricket back to its past glory. “At the same time the SLC
will have the SLSCA within its own premises from this month onwards
unlike in the past where it was needed only for the vote. We are
hoping to speak to the Minister of Education and the Minister of
sports and see how this process could help Sri Lanka Cricket. For
instance you must go out of Colombo and see. If you travel down
to Matara or Anuradhapura and see nothing has been done, we should
consider ourselves lucky that we even have got one or two from the
hinterland of the country.
year we spent Rs. 85 million on ‘A’ team cricket for
about seventy players. Now we have brought it down to 30 players
and are concentrating on them. Even in the national team we have
identified 23 players. Now we have seen to it that we have a feeder
point from the ‘A’ squad into the national squad. Besides
this we have the development squad.
addition we have appointed Champaka Ramanayake as fast bowling coach
and Ruwan Kalpage as spin bowling coach. Then we are also planning
to upgrade the Max Academy to a position where even the national
players could come and have a stint especially while recuperating
after an injury
Well ….Well …. Well, very timely and very impressive
indeed! Finally it seems that the SLC has discovered the miracle
cure for its deepest wound.
here is one word of caution! A new scheme means pouring in more
money into the system. Pouring new money into the system means more
people queuing up with their spoons, forks and plates for their
share of the pie. It would be good as far as things move in the
right direction and reach its final destination unscathed. But knowing
how the wheel turns round here I fervently hope it would not turn
into a “Andi Hathdenage kenda heliya (broth of the seven beggars).