I refer to the article in The Sunday Times (14th September) under the headling: "De Saram Shoots Jayasinghe down"- "National Selectors on Rampage against player's criticism" with his contradictory and illogical statements has not shot me down but has shot himself.
“Firstly, he states that a decision was taken to appoint two Captains for the Sevens and Fifteens teams were made even before the selectors met. On what basis was this decision taken? If it was done even before the meeting, where was it taken and who gave such instructions? Surely, if a player is an automatic choice for both versions of the game and is a Leader with a proven track record should he not be considered as the Captain for both teams? Why eliminate such persons? He also says that I have informed a selector that I will play for another 1 to 1 ½ years; I never made any such statement to anyone. This clearly shows that the selectors were only working on an elimination process to ensure that the Captaincy is given to Dushantha Lewke.
Saram also states that all past tour reports were considered in appointing, the Captain. Did he also consider the report of the Team Manager in 2001? The Manager reports – States – Dushantha Lewke – Quote – "Conduct Good. Fitness – Unable to comment did not play very much during the tournament. Attitude and Commitment – Willing player, tried hard to be in the squad. Special Remarks – A loner not seen very much with other players" (Sri Lanka National Rugby team – Asiad 2004- Hong Kong – 25th October to 1st November 2004]
It is Saram and the selectors who are having double standards and not me. He also states that the team I captained lost badly to Arabian Gulf and Kazakhstan. Apart from having a development officer as a coach I would like you to know the following;
We played Arabian Gulf in Dubai when it was a home game for us, but the SLRFU decided to grant a request by Arabian Gulf to play at home. They fielded many club and provincial players from England, Ireland, Wales and South Africa and we did give them an excellent fight in the first half and injuries to key players in the second half which led to our loss.
Re-Trip to Kazakhstan a few days after we arrived from Dubai again. We arrived in Kazakhstan after a 24 hour plane journey since the CEO of the SLRFU had mucked up our flights and then traveled 280 miles by coach to our venue. The food provided was not acceptable and we had to play the next day in minus 4 degrees after nearly 48 hours of travelling. The team Manager's report very clearly indicates this unfortunate experience.
Since Saram claims the Selectors have gone by reports of former coaches I have brought to the attention of the Rugby loving public the quality of the people who have given these reports and the sort of people we have to prepare under when we represent Sri Lanka. The last three Coaches of the National teams in the past few years (a record I believe) are as follows:-
1. Willie Hakaraka – Arrived via India vanished with over Rs. 1 Million advanced to him by the SLRFU and arrested and deported from Nepal on other charges.
2. Rob Yule – Administrator with no Coaching experience. Arranged trips for Dushantha Lewke to visit Taranaki – Originally brought him down for 4 years but sent in 1 year.
3. Another Coach from Taranaki – New Zealand was a Taxi Driver and Occasional Rugby coach – 1st time traveller sent back after one tour.
Saram states that all this is due to the work of the enemies of Mr. Nimal Lewke – President SLRFU I am not in any way an enemy of Mr. Lewke and I have no dealings with him at all, as I am no leading figure at all. How can Saram make such irresponsible statements? I have a right to stand up for what I think is right and express myself to expose the injustice caused by the Selectors.
If a proper inquiry is held I can even expose the hypocrisy of Saram, he has only very recently commented to a very senior official of the Union and other respected rugby personalities about the poor performance of Dushantha Lewke and how some are trying to appoint him as the Captain over more deserving persons. He may deny this, but I request that an independent inquiry be held. I have in no way insulted the Hon: Minister with my statement. I have the highest respect for him and his good name should not be brought in to cover the sins of the selectors. I have merely made statements of facts.
Perhaps, the truth hurts.