Gazing from the mountain
Another lap of the great race is over. Though Sri Lanka kicked the last hurdle over (may be under cloudy conditions), but still they finished the race leaving behind a host of other stalwarts who fell by the way side. Besides South Africa to whom we lost by a mere one wicket, Sri Lanka only lost to the ultimate winners Australia who finally prove to be a cut above the rest.
|Kangadaran Mathivanan - Pic by Saman Kariyawasam
Though Sri Lanka was considered as one of the stronger sides in the 9th edition of the World Cup this time, remember they had to qualify themselves to play against the rest of the hierarchy England et. al. at the ICC World Championships which took place in India a few moons ago. This meant that someone somewhere had changed on to the correct gear at some juncture. Though not hunky dory, everything workout fine at the end for the Sri Lankans.
To give the cricket loving public an insight of what happened at the top of the rung behind the curtains during this endeavour we stopped to have a chat with Kangadaran Mathivanan – the senior vice president of the Interim Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket.
There were many issues that cropped up for the Lankans on and off the field while they were on their ascendancy during the World Cup. We asked as an administrative unit how they managed all that from behind the curtains and pull the correct string at the correct time? He said “We at all times did everything with the player at heart. Finally they are the ones who translate whatever we do at the top into action. To do that we always looked into their needs to keep them contended at all times and take external pressure off their minds. While doing so we also made some correct moves which worked very well for us.
“For instance, after we finished our New Zealand tour we sent coach Tom Moody direct to the West Indies just to get a first hand knowledge of the virgin wickets laid out especially for the World Cup. Knowing that newly laid wickets would have different characteristics we sent him there and we were the only Test playing nation to do so. Now from the feedback that we are receiving back home that move had helped Moody and his team to score some points over their opponents” explained Mathivanan.
Then lamenting on the Amnesty International ruse to discredit the Lankan cricketers with their “Play the game by the rule” ploy Mathivanan said the Lankan administration worked very closely with the governing body of cricket along with the respective match organizers in each island and managed to keep the AI campaign out of the World Cup venues where the Lankan cricketers performed and added “Even the pro-LTTE demonstrator who jumped on to the field during one game, was deported back to Canada the next day itself. That is how well we had managed to keep a tab on that whole issue without letting the problem unduly cascade down to the dressing room.”
Commenting on the ironical final that turned into a huge erring fiasco the cricket vice president said “I personally feel that the game should have been played the next day giving both teams an equal chance, but, cricket’s governing body has a different formula and they worked according to that. However I hope even for the next World Cup they will take this final as a yardstick and try to bring in some solutions to the problem at hand.”
The squash ball issue has almost taken centre stage in the entire cricketing world. We asked Mathivanan who made the roll call what his aftermath was? He said “My comments on the issue last Sunday was my personal opinion on the issue and not the official SLC view. I am aware that is not an illegal act, but, I still feel that is not ethical and does not go with the spirit of the game. However we must make some attempt to bring this issue out at the next ICC meeting in June and try to get a proper ruling for the future”.
What next? Where do we go from here? After the almost successful journey into the Caribbean now the Lankan are on the road once again building up for the challenges at hand in the near future with engagements against Pakistan, Bangladesh and England coming up almost bumper to bumper. We asked what would be our strategies. Then Mathivanan laid down some of the thoughts on board “There are two ways of looking at it. First it is the short term issue of how we are tackle the new few engagements at hand may be running up to the next two years. Then it will be the issue of how are we going to plan out strategies of our cricket leading up to the Next World Cup which will be played in our own backyard. At the same time we also must be mindful that some of the seniors may call it a day during that run up. This means there should be youngsters down the pipeline who could fit in to the huge voids which will be created by their departure. However I am happy that we have a host of talented youngsters who are shaping up well in the ‘A’ side.
“However all this will fall into the correct perspective with the return of coach Tom Moody. Though he has not come up with the affirmative as yet, we feel that he will stay on with us. Till then we will not be making any firm plans because now it is a new course action that we have to take in the run up to the next World Cup and Moody’s final word counts a lot in that episode”.