Has Sri Lanka’s World Cup Director passed GCE (O/L)?

by Rex Clementine

The first week after the ICC Cricket World Cup has seen several high profile resignations. It started with Kumar, then Mahela, followed by the inimitable Aravinda and his committee. But there is no news about the Cricket Interim Committee, the one that should have gone immediately after the Cricket World Cup.

It has now become clear that the higher-ups of the current government have overruled Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, who wanted D.S. de Silva and his cronies removed, simply because they wanted to ensure their dream project, Suriyawewa International Stadium, would be completed.

The Sports Minister is no paragon of virtue. One of the first few things he did after assuming duties in the present capacity was to pack the Cricket Interim Committee with his classmates—up to which grade we do not know.

Those who had promised to bring in foreign funds for the Suriyawewa Stadium failed to deliver and the government had to divert funds that Sri Lanka Cricket had received from the International Cricket Council for hosting the World Cup, to build the venue. And for this purpose they needed spineless lackeys at the helm of SLC. So, one need not be surprised to see a total misfit in a position which was once held by the likes of Roberts Senanayake, NM Perera, JR Jayewardene, Ana Punchihewa and Hemaka Amarasuriya.

Now, we hear of a move by DS de Silva and the clan to continue till the ICC T-20 World Cup to be held in Sri Lanka next year!

De Silva, was a fine-leg spin bowler and probably the best produced by the country to date, but he has mismanaged the affairs of Sri Lankan cricket putting family interests before the wellbeing of the game.

The man whom DS appointed to be in-charge of the World Cup Secretariat was a person with absolutely no qualifications. Suraj Dandeniya was paid a cool sum of 5000 US$ per month along with numerous other perks. We challenge Dandeniya to produce his GCE (O/L) certificate, if any.

DS maybe a failed cricket administrator, but he’s proved that he’s an excellent uncle. Another nephew of his, Kapila Dandeniya was employed at the World Cup Secretariat. Apart from taking home a cool sum of 2,500US$ as monthly salary, this person, who was in charge of complementary tickets of the ICC Cricket World Cup, has failed to explain how a large number of them vanished during some key world cup games involving Sri Lanka. It is being alleged that some of his kith and kin stood to gain from this ticket scandal and a probe is called for into them.

The capacity of the Premadasa stadium was increased to enable more spectators to enjoy cricket, but many people were in for a big disappointment thanks to the Uncle and his Newphews.

The situation was so bad that even the Secretary to the Interim Committee allegedly had to buy tickets in the black market! However, Nishantha Ranatunga managed to take his family to witness the finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup in Bombay.

Since the ticket scandal, the ICC has gone on record saying that it will investigate whether somebody lined his pockets at the expense of cricket fans.

The Secretary of the Cricket Interim Committee Nishantha Ranatunga once said that cricket was a business for him. Had he told this in the presence of his brother Arjuna, he would have got a thundering slap, for no man preached on the intrinsic values of the game than the World Cup winning captain.

A few months after calling cricket a business, Ranatunga went to the extent of signing up a deal with a sex enhancer as the team sponsor of Sri Lanka’s Champions League team and posed for photographs with the sponsor that on a Poya Day!

Sanga and Aravinda are self respecting individuals who are a dying breed. When they resigned everyone asked why? But, as for the Cricket Interim Committee, everyone is asking when? In fact, if they had had an iota of self-respect, it was on the day when the former Sports Minister C. B. Ratnayake called SLC the third most corrupt institution in the country that they should have resigned.

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