Is this merely tip of the Cricket iceberg?

by Mahinda Wijesinghe

A few weeks ago, five of our most eminent former cricketers – Aravinda de Silva, Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Roshan Mahanama -  made it quite plain that they would have nothing to do with the present cricket administration on the principle maybe that "once bitten twice shy".

  These aforementioned cricketers, inter alia, have jointly played 561 Test matches, scored 33,151 runs, notched 96 centuries while the one and only Murali, in the meantime has established Bradmanesque bowling records, including 800 Test wickets.

 Additionally, the portraits of  Muralitharan, Sangakkara and Jayawardene  proudly adorn the the walls at Lord’s – a supreme honour that makes all Lankans proud. Sadly they have all washed their hands off this imbroglio. Roshan Mahanama was the second Sri Lankan Match Referee to be appointed by the ICC, until he retired rather prematurely. Four players (Skipper Ranatunga, Aravinda, Murali and Roshan played in the 1996 World Cup winning team. There are more records these players have established in the international playing fields.)

  Yet, as mentioned above, why is it they are not prepared to assist Sri Lanka cricket when our country is in the cricketing doldrums? Of course, we squared a Test series in the West Indies just the other day. A creditable feat none can deny. However, looking in detail at this close win in the Third Test another picture emerges. Both the Man of the Match award in that game and the Man of the Series was carried away by the hosts who are currently ranked one but the last in the Test rankings – just above Zimbabwe.  And, allegations of ball tampering resulting in the conviction of skipper Chandimal, and other charges targeting the Coach and the Manager are still in the balance.

 Sadly, in view of all this the former distinguished players have all washed their hands from this imbroglio.

Now the "last straw" has been dealt by eight former Sri Lanka Cricket Presidents/Interim Committee Chairmen. A four-page letter signed by them has requested the current Minister of Sports "to administer Sri Lanka Cricket, and to make amendments to the SLC Constitution before conducting elections." So, five former legendary players and eight signatories to the Minister of Sports add up to an unlucky 13 for the current administration!

Will the present Minister of Sports take action or will this be pushed under the carpet as most things happen in our country – until it boomerangs! Remember cricket is in the blood of most of our people, the only sport that has universal sporting recognition for Sri Lanka.

  Obviously, it is no secret to those in the inside including the cricketing public on the outside are aware if elections are held, as it now, who would win because "everything is in place".

The four-page letter sent, as published in the media has given in detail some of the goings on at SLC resulting in huge wastage of funds and alleged favouritism of personnel in the administration including the non-disclosure of expenditure etc.etc., should make any auditor’s hair stand on end.

  However, the question is with all these allegations against the present set-up which has gone on uninhibited for too long - WHO IS GOING TO BELL THE CAT?


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