Power, money and cricket
A new era dawned a few days ago when the title and policy governing the game in the country changed. The governing body, which was formed in 1948, has taken a fresh direction with the formation of Sri Lanka Cricket. In the last twenty-five years everything connected with the game has turned a complete hundred and eighty degrees. This move is with the idea of keeping pace with the cricketing world.

The country received international status in 1982 and joined India and Pakistan as the other Asian nations, to compete in the big league. It was during this period with Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Imran Khan leading the way that these two nations began their rise in world cricket. The one-day stuff suited them and India in 1983, Pakistan in 1992 and Sri Lanka in 1996 have held aloft the precious World Cup.

The ascendancy began for the three nations in 1983. India won the World Cup, but the event also angered their then President of BCCI, N.K.P. Salre. He was refused 2 extra passes for the finals by the organizers! He swore to bring the next World Cup to the sub-continent. That did happen and now the tournament shifts venues every four years. Television coverage began to play a major role in terms of finances.

By the time the World Cup was played in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the wheels were well in motion. Although India and Pakistan were favourites, Sri Lanka stole the show and have gone on from strength to strength. It is said, power is where the money is and India has it in multi millions. Television and technology has led the B.C.C.I.'s transformation from pauper to economic giant. The tale is no different with Sri Lanka.

In the mid nineteen eighties when the BCCSL embarked on constructing its headquarters at the S.S.C. money was borrowed from the Sri Lanka Cricket foundation and the S.S.C. to meet the cost!

Robert Senanayake has been the longest serving B.C.C.S.L. President (1957 - 1976). During his tenure when foreign opposition toured the island, often the governing body did not have funds to host official team dinners, Robert Senanayale obliged by pocketing out the money!

Yes, from rags to riches. A figure in the region of five hundred million has been spent on constructing the Dambulla Stadium, players are paid very handsomely and so too the employees. Now Sri Lanka Cricket is a very rich institution. No need to say anymore; the struggle for power at all levels exist. Some of the happenings can be termed, "just not cricket".

On the playing field the F.C. de Saram era was when the first seeds were sown. The C.I. Gunasekera, Michael Tissera, Anura Tennekoon eras saw the country gaining respectability and recognition. The Bandula Warnapura, Duleep Mendis eras weathered the fiery baptism into international cricket. The Arjuna Ranatunge era produced the teeth and muscle. More recently the Sanath Jayasuriya era has topped the icing. The game is here to stay.

So too the game is greater than all who administer and play. May this new beginning strive to promote progress and nurture this noble sport along the correct paths towards greener pastures.

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