Two new skippers at the same time, but leadership qualities....

I was always intrigued by the wisdom of our forefathers who had looked at the universe in a very practical manner and thus derived sayings from our day-to-day life which were in turn added to our day-to-day jargon as proverbs.

This very impression came to surface the other day while speaking to one of my cricketing contacts while discussing the present scenario in the cricket hierarchy in Sri Lanka. He was rather perturbed with the sudden developments.

Learning about the impending changes at the top of SLC he came up with the following phrase. He said “I wonder what this would be like –‘kehi geni deela hotu geni gatta wage’. (Changing the coughing woman with the woman with influenza).

Then he explained “from the beginning of 2008 we had a person appointed at the helm of the SLC for reasons other than cricket and the repercussions of it is still haunting us like a bad dream.

First it was the anti Indian stand and then it followed with take any stance that would hamper the Indian interests. The anti IPL stand, the hastily concocted and aborted English tour and the recent Pakistan tour which ended in utter chaos were some of those short-sighted decisions that were taken and took Lankan cricket back by a few thousand kilo-metres.
Kumar Sangakkara – the heir apparent finally has got his chance to prove his credentials. D.S. de Silva bowled a googly well to drive onto the hot seat, but quite a few still wonder how effective he would be as SLC chairman.

Now the SLC has announced a new Interim Committee which they compelled to introduce each member by name and back ground as some of them are non entities in the cricketing parlance while some others have questionable credentials. Yes, there is D.S. de Silva, Pramodya Wickremasinghe, Ranil Abeynaike and Nishantha Ranatunga included in it. Yet the whole composition looks rather vulnerable.

At the same time each individual must make a self evaluation of himself and come to his own conclusion as to where his limitations are. They should have agreed to take up positions only if they were doubly sure of delivering the goods. If not Sri Lanka cricket is now too weak and tired to take another battering of the nature that it took during the past year or so.

At the same time it is reported that some very prominent and respected members of the cricketing community of the country declined a piece of the cake by refusing to be a part of the newly set up interim committee. We also hear that some senior members of the administration fear that they would become unjustified targets of this new administration.

Added to its pre-birth woes, even the Indian cricket administration who signed a ten-year agreement of understanding with the Lankan cricket administration only a few weeks ago are looking at these developments very closely as they too are quite bewildered about what is taking place.

In a situation of this nature it is clear that they are taking their first step with the wrong foot and better be very vigilant of every move they make.

In the same vein one must not write off any given association at its face value. ‘Once bitten twice shy’ they say. Every nook and cranny that we probed into in cricketing circles showed there was a clear
uneasiness about the current situation, but, still why not give them a chance and see how they progress and if they are capable of taking the game forward, but with World Cup in the 20-20 form just around the corner and the World Cup real only a few months away, right decisions at the right time would be the call of the day.

Sri Lanka has two new skippers at the same time. Talking of the T20 World Cup on Wednesday I heard that the local selectors were in session to determine as to who would take Sri Lanka cricket to the post 2011 World Cup in the wake of the resignation of Sri Lanka’s most successful skipper ever Mahela Jayawardene from that position.

The choice was obvious, as expected heir apparent Kumar Sangakkara was given the reins with a view to draw the carriage to its desired destination.

Sangakkara, an eloquent reader of the game has contributed more than just another cricketer to the cause of Lankan cricket in the recent past. Not only his contributions as a batsman or a wicket-keeper – his first in trade, as made a fine ambassador to Sri Lanka at any given forum that has been invited to share his opinion.

The selectors also have taken the decision to appoint inimitable Muttiah Muralitharan as Sangakkara’s deputy. This move we see as a more fill-in-the-void situation rather than measured futuristic move by them. However this is the first time that Sri Lanka’s first two positions in cricket has been placed with two lads from the Kandy region.

However my vibes are also with them. As we learn Muralitharan besides his on-field exploits, is also one of the main contributors at team meetings and a very good reader of the game. Always at crucial meetings the team management takes the suggestions that come from Muralitharan’s corner very seriously.

Nevertheless there is an ironic side to this whole episode too. The ideal situation in this scenario would have been the selection of a youngster who has another good ten years of cricket in him with a view to taking over from Sangakkara one day and take the nation into the next era without much haste rather than appointing the 36-year-old genius who barely has two more years of international cricket left in him.
The only proper candidate in this category – Thilan Samaraweera is looked on as a Test batsman, being a pre-conceived notion of the selectors during the past few years. This drawback has clearly prevented him from becoming a candidate.

Besides Samaraweera none of the other international back-benchers could look to be chosen on merit. Tillekeratne Dilshan comes closest, but yet he too cannot fill the slot with his present form. Then Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedera and Farveez Maharoof, have been reluctant to accept their permanent places at the top rung and have failed at the right moment more than on one occasion.
Just see in India how Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Graeme Smith of South Africa walked into their present boots. When they were given their chances they were virtually green horns, yet they proved their worth.

Captains are nor made or constructed, they are born.

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