SLC CEO responds to “Are we working towards our game plan” We write in Right of Reply to your column titled “Sunday Musings with S.R. Pathiravithana”, appearing in the Sunday Times of April 30, 2017. At the outset, it is interesting to note that you have chosen to title your article using the preposition “our”, [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

We are most certainly working according to our game plan: SLC CEO

Right of Reply

SLC CEO responds to “Are we working towards our game plan”

We write in Right of Reply to your column titled “Sunday Musings with S.R. Pathiravithana”, appearing in the Sunday Times of April 30, 2017.

At the outset, it is interesting to note that you have chosen to title your article using the preposition “our”, as you seem to be vastly uninterested in ascertaining the “Game Plan” (GP) of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), thereby, alluding to a “GP” of some other interested party.

If this is indeed the case, then rest assured, SLC is by no means working according to any GP save its own, which I present below for the purpose of correcting your maliciously written article that serves only to damage the spirit and passion for cricket in our nation.

The elected administration of SLC took office in January 2016, where it was faced with a quagmire of debt and disarray that saw it, in the words of the ICC Chief Executive, “on the verge of suspension”.

At the time of taking office, the administration of a string of Interim Committees had left the national team destabilized and disillusioned, fractured, with 3 Captains, 2 Vice Captains, and a stand-in coach.

Working in strict adherence to a strategic corporate plan, the administration of 2016 was able to turn SLC around from financial dilemma, restore its status as a full member of the ICC, and establish measures of accountability – the first, and most crucial step in any GP.

Having achieved this, the administration recruited one of the world’s most respected coaches in Graham Ford as the National Head Coach, together with several former National players of the calibre of Chaminda Vaas, Hashan Thilakarathna and Upul Chandana as specialist coaches, to take on the responsibilities of grooming the team. Concurrent with the recruitments for the National team, coaches of the calibre of Roy Dias and Avishka Gunawardena were recruited to steer the youth teams, whilst Hemantha Devapriya took on the Women’s National team.

Setting in motion the long term strategy, SLC recruited Director of Kent Cricket Academy, Simon Willis, as SLC’s High Performance Manager, with the mandate of establishing a High Performance plan for SLC, which focuses on all levels of cricket, from grassroots upward.

Willis was tasked with travelling across the island, evaluating SLC’s battery of district and provincial coaches and setting up a congruent system of coaching that fits in with SLC’s long term goals. He has also been instrumental in preparing an inclusive annual activity calendar that encompasses every grade of cricket played in the island, as well as monitors and evaluates tangible results in real-time.

The resource team has been further augmented with the recruitment of professionals with a proven track record, in the likes of Nic Pothas and Nick Lee, and the consultancies of legends of the game, ‘King of Sling’ Wasim Akram, and most recently ‘White Lightning’ Allan Donald.

SLC is operating upon a defined and deliberate road-map and to this end, has made the most strategic investments in resources, both in terms of human element and in technology.

Training and practice facilities have been (and are continuing to be) upgraded to meet international standards, with cutting-edge technology and equipment being invested in. Whilst investments in apparatus such as Merlin Bowling machines, frontline gymnasium equipment and even recovery and recuperation equipment, have been made. This area of investment goes much deeper. A programme of 360 biometric analysis with real-time monitoring of every contracted player is also to see fruition imminently.

The National Selection Committee headed by Sanath Jayasuriya has been the most hands-on team, attending as many matches, both domestic and international, as possible and harnessing the gamut of resources available in terms of analysis and technology. Selections over the past year have been a calculated gamble, in order to select a core group of players that possess experience, expertise, talent and passion capable of driving them through to the 2019 World Cup.

The Selections for the Champions Trophy 2017, were possibly the most meticulous and arduous undertaken by the Selections thus far, and although you seem to find more aptitude to ridicule the process, than applaud it, it is one that indeed deserves applause.

The process of selection involved several meetings where the selectors evaluated the recommendations and observations of the specialists coaches engaged with the national players, analytical data of the recommended composition of the Head Coach and the National Captain, and analytical data of the declared and provisional squads of all the competing teams. National Captain Angelo Mathews was flown into Colombo to participate in the final selection meeting, and both Graham Ford and Asanka Gurusinha joined in the deliberations via conferencing.

Listing the Champions Trophy 2017, would most certainly be our objective, and we believe most firmly, that we have made maximum strategic advances into doing so. The rest lies in the capable hands of our cricketers who wear the National colours with pride and will, no doubt, make every effort to fly the flag on high.

Whilst your writing chooses to allude only to the negativity that you perceive, you fail to give due credence to the vast strides SLC has made. You also fail to admit, that Rome was not build in a day, nor can it be.

SLC is working towards a defined goal.

That goal is 2019, and we assure you, we are most certainly working according to our GP.

We invite you, as well as every single Sri Lankan man, woman and child to support us in this endeavour, as we are, after all, One Team One Nation.

We request you to publish the right of reply with equal prominence as your article in the Sunday Times of May 7, 2017, failing which, we will be forced to seek redress that is available to us.

Ashley de Silva, Chief Executive Officer

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