Cricket train is back on the right track

Finally there is a huge sense of relief. Once again, one can generally feel that the cricket’s engine is on the right track and is looking to go on a smooth run after the whole train had been derailed for a while. Not only had the train been derailed, but it had also left the main control room in chaos and abegging as a direct result of some bad decisions made by a politically servile group which was led by an individual who was as alien to corporate administration as a street urchin to a buffet lunch at the Hilton.

Now the men with a head above their shoulders are walking tall at the cricket’s citadel after being asked by the management to carry on with their duties with cricket in mind and to cast aside all other undue pressures that could come over and under the table.

Last week when the very important SLC Cricket committee was formed, former national opening batsman who is no stranger to cricket administration, Sidath Wettimuny, said: “We represent an interim committee and we are here for a limited period, but the game has to go on. So the primary objective of this committee is to act as a consultative group and let the real employees of the organisation take the necessary decisions and run the game in the country, while the Cricket Committee sits along with them and fine tune their programmes.”

Words of wisdom, indeed. Here Wettimuny has understood their role in a positive manner and passed on the onus to the right persons who are really paid by the organisation just to do that. But, at the same time as responsible administrators Michael Tissera (Chairman), Sidath Wettimuny (from the interim committee), Kapila Wijegunawardena and Amal Silva will monitor the progress of the programmes mooted by the paid employees. We at this end can just visualise how happy the people who were frustrated by interference by the previous administration, are while carrying out their duties now.
The next story that is making the rounds is also an encouraging one. Just before the last interim committee was shown the red card, Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage came up with a statement to the effect that how he had mooted the idea of cutting the costs of the Australian tour and how he got the then Interim Committee (IC) to negotiate with the hotels in town and obtain a good rate. So much so, a week before the former IC was changed, the minister said that with the help of two officials of the former Interim Committee they had negotiated a good rate for the Hotel rooms during the Australian tour of Sri Lanka.

Alas! When the need arose in reality and the Australians almost at our doorstep Sri Lanka Cricket was running in circles in search of accommodation for the visitors. An outstanding bill of around Rs. 27 million was looming over the deal and the hotelier was a rather reluctant man to cut his fingers again.
It is learned that the team led by the new Interim Committee Upali Dharmadasa belled the cat, paid a sum up front and gave a personal assurance towards the settlement of the rest of the amount and the compartment was not derailed. Because it would have been funny if the Australians had to travel for the matches from a place like “Sahodaraya Inn” or some place with a name akin to that.

Michael Tissera heads the all important cricket committee of SLC

The Midas touch of the new IC continued. On Tuesday, it was the turn of the Sri Lanka Cricket captain Tillekeratne Dilshan to speak of the wisdom of employing the new Lankan coach Rumesh Ratnayake.
Before that, let me tell about a little dressing room story that I heard. “A Lankan match was going on and the two batsmen were not performing according to the plan. So the coach promptly calls on a reserve player, gives the instructions and out goes the reserve with a towel or glove to the middle. The in-field rituals are done but the batsmen continued in the same vain. Then when one batsman got out, a senior player angrily asked him in the dressing room, ‘Why didn’t you play according to the instructions sent to you by the coach?’ The exasperated player replies, ‘I did not receive any’. Then the senior turns to the reserve and asks what happed – then the reserve meekly replies, ‘I did not understand what the coach said so I did not tell them anything’.

This has happened and it can happen in the future too owing to the language problem. With all due respect to the talents of the Lankan players, the majority of the lads come from the provinces and to them English is really an alien language. So when a foreigner gives them instructions -- I wonder how much they understand?

Now, we can go back to the sentiments of the Lankan captain. Tillekeratne Dilshan also hails from a hamlet miles away from Colombo -- and at Kalutara Vidyalaya, his alma mater, a student’s exposure to the English language is not as pronounced as the exposure to the English language of a Colombo or Kandy schoolboy. So he expressed his views from the bottom of his heart. He said that in just two weeks they had picked up so many things from new coach Ratnayake – matters they had not been able to pick up from a foreign coach. He added that his younger brood now understood and were able to pick up the vibes that are coming through to them from the Ratnayake idiom more than his paler skinned counterparts.

However, Interim Committee Chairman Upali Dharmadasa unequivocally states that they have given over the job to Ratnayake only for this Australian tour and the job for a National Cricket Coach is advertised. That is their job and the final decision is up to them. Yet, they should know what’s good for the goose.

All above-mentioned are good vibes that are coming our way about the new administration.
All new brooms sweep well, but we earnestly hope that the bristles of this broom will keep straight till their given time is up with as little political interference. If not, however good the cricket engine may be, the political rust will eat into its very guts like a cancer and make it perish like all the others.

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