Yes, it is a brand new year and it is time to make resolutions. By now most of us may have made up their resolutions. Yet we at this end would like to suggest to Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage about a resolution that he could make for the betterment of the most followed sport in the country -- cricket.
We know he is a busy person and would not have the time to indulge in mundane things of this nature. Yet, we would like to plead with him even at this late hour to make a resolution if he has not. The resolution would be that he should sack the existing pack of national cricket selectors and pave the way for the incoming democratically elected cricket administration (if it is so) to govern the game without the interference of nitwit half-baked politicians who carry a grudge that dates back to their own cricket playing days.
We are also a bit anxious to know why Thilan Samaraweera pointed his bat in the direction of the dressing room in a manner that sent a message to someone upon completing his century in Cape Town. We saw one of the five supposed to be selectors relaxing in the Lankan dressing room at one of the matches. Samaraweera who was the only batsman to show any consistency even in the lost first Test was deliberately left out from the tours of Pakistan and South Africa with the selectors claiming that his age was of concern. But insiders knew it was done to tilt the scales of the dressing room factionalism, prompted by a politico cricketer who has a soft corner for failing Dilshan for reasons that were linked to matters past.
Even Sangakkara’s salute upon his second innings century at Cape Town was riddled with unwritten messages.
Besides this, the selectors have erred on this tour. We wonder about the wisdom of choosing Kaushal Silva to stand behind the wickets over Dinesh Chandimal – a player who has had previous international exposure. In wicket keeping both are not extraordinary glove men, but the fact that Chandimal had more exposure at international level was not considered in spite of having a selector on tour with a daily dollar stipend besides his free food and lodging.
One must remember that still Sri Lanka Cricket is groping in the dark looking for finances even for their day-to-day existence.
We keep harping on these facts simply because we want to highlight the initial blunders. Tuesday will be a big day for Sri Lanka Cricket as there would be a change in the administration for better or for worse. The Interim Committee concept would be gone and the time-tested and often failed system of elected bodies would be back at the helm. The legend tells us that ‘new brooms sweep well’. So, keeping wholly that as a yard-stick we assume that that the new administration despite all the shortcomings on and off the field would make an attempt to perform an honest job without pandering to the wishes of the hangers-on who voted them in. What we mean is the new committee should work for the game, but not for the individuals who voted them in for personal gains.
The job at hand is no mean task. First, the new administrators will have to find finances just to the keep the institution alive. Then they have to pay the national cricketers their dues and keep that most important front happy. Thirdly they have to look for the finances to pay the suppliers and the hotels as by mid-march Sri Lanka will be hosting England for a two Test matches which will be played at Galle and Colombo. The logistics for this tour would be important as the ICC would be looking as to how the Lankan authorities are going to handle this short tour, because of the prevailing cash drought at cricket headquarters.
Then the next task at hand for the new administration would be the handling of the TV rights issue that would come following the cricket tour. At present ‘Ten Sports’ is the custodian of this right as a result of a sweeping deal which they clinched during a period of abeyance where Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge ran the cricketing institution with his secretary working as the competent authority and SLC CEO Duleep Mendis as the administrator. It still tickles me as to why the minister held the reins of cricket during that period of abeyance, where the deal was sealed.
|“Thilan shoots at the dressing room after his hundred at Durban. Who was injured?”
Through the grapevine we also hear about nitwits that get TV deals and others who have access into the cricket mechanism being hosted in five star hotels during tours. The new administrators must be vigilant on these individuals. In short this deal should be done transparently and done in a manner that Sri Lankan administration would be the ultimate winners and not a corrupt individual who will end up putting up a hotel in a Lankan tourist resort.While the TV deal is on the Lankan Cricket machine will also be involved in the work pertaining to the ICC T-20 World Championship where the entire world cricketing gamut -- men and women will be holed up in the island for almost five weeks. Once again the transparent logistics at this event will be anticipated. Accomplishing these tasks will not be easy for these administrators. The World Cup 2011 was over in April last year. Yet, most of the hotel rooms utilized for that project have remained unpaid.
Some of the food and other suppliers have not been paid. Most of the leading banks wait their mouth opened to gobble up any penny that belong to the SLC going across their air space as the result of the bulging overdrafts. So, upon a scenario of this nature one cannot expect those facilitators to reciprocate favourably when the wrong policies of the previous administrators have pulled the local cricket administration towards a black hole.
Getting out of this deep heap will be a task. If one intends doing soon, then they will have to act openly and have transparency.
Wittingly or unwittingly the Sports Minister remains an integral part of the administration as a result of the sports law that prevails in this country. ICC cannot do anything about it, so most of the administrative points will have to be under his scrutiny unless the minister himself opts to remain out of the melee. Still for them to go this right path the Minister will have to pave the way by clearing out the above mentioned anomalies.