After the fair share of the delay, during which men with no knowledge between a ball and a paddle boat were at the helm, finally President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided to place Chandrasiri Bandara Ratnayake as the Minister of Sports in his second term.
Better known as C.B. Ratnayake, the new Sports Minister who hails from mid-country represented his alma mater Vidyartha in Rugby and was an athlete. He should know what a dummy is and who is trying to sell the dummy to him.
Being a sportsman in any classification, Minister Ratnayake is a good enough person who stands between you the public and the officialdom to take our observations and present them for speedy action.
Being a direct victim of the official callousness when a letter sent by him was thrown into the bin while being the head of the Nuwara Eliya Cricket, he must be having a fair knowledge of the frame of mind the SLC hierarchy lives in.
Unlike any other sport that Sri Lankans indulges in, cricket is the only team sport that Sri Lankan has gained the top slot in world rankings and has been able to maintain that standard for the past five decades or more. So it will be the game of cricket that we are hoping to discuss with the minister and watch him clean up the stable that is in a very sorry state at present. I describe it as a toilet roll that is being gushed around on the Colombo streets that are inundated with torrential rain waters right now.
The root cause for all these, I suppose, is the administration which occupied the ministry seats previously. With all due respect to them and the positions they held, they were mundane men with very little knowledge of what was going around them in real terms and in return even cared less of any repercussions of any actions they would take on the issues at hand. As a result, those who cared stayed away and those who wanted to make the quick buck sold dummies and made hay.
We can take issue by issue for a close scrutiny.
The Sri Lanka Cricket:
The administration led by Jayantha Dharmadasa who took over from March 24, 2005 may not have been the most enterprising ever, but, the local cricket was run as it should have been, until parliamentarian Arjuna Ranatunga did a political somersault with an ulterior motive and forced Dharmadasa to resign and give away his seat to him on January 1, 2008.
|Asanthada de Mel
That was the first nail in cricket’s coffin. Ranatunga acted in his authoritarian style and brought much disharmony in cricket and even bungled on issues that could have turned a niche in Lankan cricket. The way he handled the tour of England with the IPL issue was a huge faux pas; he turned a good concept into a cricketing nightmare.
At the end, no one in the right frame of mind wanted to touch Lankan cricket administration even with the wrong end of a barge pole. Bungling Ranatunga was taken out and the Minister Gamini Lokuge took over the affairs with the Sports Ministry secretary acting as his Pinocchio. Then after a few deals, Minister Lokuge declared his inning and handed the reins to former Sri Lanka leg spinner D.S. de Silva.
Right now gullible de Silva sits on the throne while the next Ranatunga -- Nishantha who is the secretary to the SLC Interim Committee -- runs the show with a finger in every cauldron.
Still there are a few questions that you may take time to ponder on SLC.
- What is the role that CEO Duleep Mendis plays in the administration? Is it only sitting for official photographs?
- Why isn’t he given to function in his official capacity when he has a better qualification than NR to function in that capacity?
- If the administration feels that Mendis is not capable of functioning properly in that capacity, why is he still in employment?
- Then what is the role that Ajit Jayasekera plays in the administration as the additional CEO when the institution is on the brink of a financial disaster?
- How much money has the SLC borrowed from the ICC? How do they intend to pay it back?
- Are the grounds ready for the 2011 World Cup which is only seven months away?
- Then what is the hurry to install lights at the SSC?
- In the same wake are they trying to employ some more personnel?
Isn’t it time there was a change in the selection panel? Right now the chairman of selectors Asantha de Mel and selection committee member Don Anurasiri have functioned in their capacities for nearly a decade now and isn’t it too long for a person to carry on in a position that sensitive?
Aren’t the selectors have become too familiar with the cricketers and right now the Thirimanne controversy has come up over such an issue. For instance, when Sri Lanka toured Bangladesh a few moons ago, the Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara fought for Lahiru Thirimanne and had him included in the side and after one impressive stay at the crease he was removed.
Today Thirimanne was a non-starter for the Zimbabwe tour. One selector who has got too close to the players was fighting for Thirimanne’s exclusion and had another agenda. The agenda is that when youngsters rush in seniors gets vulnerable in their positions.
In the same vein, young and promising Dinesh Chandimal gets a tour down under with the ‘A’ team in spite of batting at least better than aging Sanath Jayasuriya.
What about a change in the order? Still there are people in the calibre of Lalith Kaluperuma, Graeme Labrooy, Jayantha Seneviratne, Amal Silva and a few others who would like to take over if the invitation is extended!!
With the above happenings it is no surprise that Sri Lanka Cricket is taking a nose dive in the middle. Besides the money that gels them together, is there any harmony in the side? When one senior is fighting for another senior, another senior who was the friend of the first falls out because of his draconian attitude. One senior used his political power to stay at the crease with utter disregard to all niceties of the game.
Another senior lives in fear looking over his shoulder after the happenings at the IPL and looking out for ICC sleuths. This even has affected his flamboyant cameos at the helm of the inning.
All this is happening when Sri Lanka has a golden chance of doing it again on its own home soil when the day dawns in February 2011.
We are urging the minister to delve into these matters and see how much truth we have spoken of. If there is any substance in it he should know what action should be taken.
Over to you Mr. Minister.