‘Between the devil and the deep blue sea’ is an age old cliché; yet this may be the only way that we can pen down where exactly Lankan cricket is. At the top there are rumblings since the Lankan mainstream boys could not make ‘gold’ after their fourth attempt. Now there even is a wave [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

He cut drove and scored nought


‘Between the devil and the deep blue sea’ is an age old cliché; yet this may be the only way that we can pen down where exactly Lankan cricket is.

This would be the result if we go at this pace.

At the top there are rumblings since the Lankan mainstream boys could not make ‘gold’ after their fourth attempt. Now there even is a wave of thought that has hit the Lankan selectors of having a separate T-20 squad for the internationals. In the middle, the SLC policymakers and the vote-holding club officials are at each other’s throat over some silly issue of a club not being demoted. In the lower rung, schools cricket is in disarray with some schools now opting to go with their traditional games defying the directives of the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association.

In short, the curry is on the fire and the chicken is in the broth, but the cooks want to put their own ingredients and they are in conflict without a solution.

There is no doubt, that the main input valves to the Lankan international cricket are malfunctioning owing to the direct result of the prevailing club system not catering to the need of the hour. The cricket ship is sailing aimlessly in the deep blue sea. As a result, the cricket committees of Sri Lanka Cricket for the past several years have come up with various remedies to combat the ailment, but the voting members have held stubbornly to their stance and won the day, only trek back to where it all began.

First let us analyse the cricket committees. As you know even the ICC, the main world body of cricket, has a cricket committee.

Generally the elected administrators may not have the necessary wherewithal to tackle the intricate problems of cricket and as a result they invite a forum of knowledgeable past cricketers to sit in a committee and suggest the cricketing policies and changes so that the game in return would keep aloft with the demands of the modern cricketing world.

Then when one ascertains the status of the voting club officials they too are true lovers of the game and have made the game a part and parcel of their life. Most of them have also played the game at various levels. Yet, the real fact is that the majority of these club officials do not possess the necessary qualifications to suggest the cricketing policies and changes so that the game in return would benefit from their knowledge.

At various junctures cricketers in the calibre of Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda de Silva, Ranjan Madugalle, Sidath Wettimuny, Michael Tissera and Graeme Labrooy have occupied the seats in this forum. People in this calibre do have played the game for the country at the highest level and are in the know of what is being developed in rival forums and also how the Lankan platform should be built to suit the needs and comply with these demands.

How, we at this end see the presently recommended changes are a set of reforms that are needed and would take the game to a new era to keep abreast with the current needs. This should be considered as a new beginning. It should be taken with a new spirit and looked upon as a new development. They should think that the new development has been done with the club cricket being the nucleus. Just a while ago the same forum went to town fighting against the proposed provincial cricket system being made the centre of Lankan cricket.

Now what is the main grouse of the club forum? The grouse is that Nondescript Cricket Club which ended up at the last slot of the last Premier League Tournament has not been demoted. May be there is a technical point there, but why can’t they see this as a new beginning and go ahead with the tournament. The national cricketers still would be on the road, and if they end up last once again they go down under the new format.

Well, their solution to the problem is to seek legal advice and bring an injunction against the tournament being held. Then who would be the losers – they themselves. Yet, what we at this end see is that what they are holding to ransom would be the mainstream of cricket that needs new young battle worthy cricketers in their arsenal. Without a domestic tournament in progress where would cricket end? This is a question that demands a lot of pondering.

Well! The clubs have been informed that the Premier League Limited Overs (50) tournament would be launched during the first week of December and they should be working at getting their practice nets ready.

At the other end, school cricket is also in disarray. Volleyball may be the announced national sport. Yet, a boy almost from his infancy knows what a bat and a ball are. One of the very first toys that a boy gets is a plastic bat. There is no argument cricket is the most popular game in the country and also in schools.

Yet, now we like to know who is responsible for school cricket and who the policymakers are in this very crucial sphere of activity.
School cricket is another cricketing arm which has lost its way. Now it has grown beyond comprehension, but also has totally lost all direction and as a result most of the new talent tends to go undetected or unaccepted. Two of the glaring examples are Ajantha Mendis and Akila Dhananjaya Perera. If not for alert individuals they would have been lost for the country forever.

Yes, there was a time when the school sphere produced cricketers to the national grid at a regular basis; sadly more the Sri Lanka Schools Association got involved with the game, further that input became. In schools, sports are a subject and cricket is another extracurricular activity. But, being the only professional sport in the country, it has the focus of the people and especially children. If you doubt my words just walk around any city ground, you can see hoards of young hopefuls involved with the game in private academies.

Now the SLC in an attempt to curb the rot has teamed up with the SLSCA and recommended some adjustments that both parties think would help turn the game for the better and the talent input would become more. But, there is another school of thought who is fighting against this move and walked away from the SLSCA involved activities and has begun to play only friendlies (like what we used to do to in our cricketing days).

Now the SLSCA has threatened that it would take serious action against the schools that are not towing its line. This is a serious clash of ideologies.

We feel the only person who is oblivious to all these developments is the Minister of Education ironically who also has the hold of schools sports activity. Well as an individual there is very little that he could do, but if he could get some persons with the knowhow and get to the bottom of the issue and get a ruling that would genuinely help school cricket get back on the right track it would be the best deed to schools during his tenure.

We sum up stating, a horse would go the way he is led and so would a carted cow. But, the man has been gifted with an analytical mind to think beyond and arrive at the correct decision. The correct decisions are the need of this hour for the survival of the game of cricket in Sri Lanka.


Share This Post

comments powered by Disqus

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.