Will the much hyped SLPL live up to expectations?
CommentJuly 18, 2012, 12:00 pm
by Brian Thomas
SLC secretary, Nishantha Ranatunga
The gala function organized by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and their inexperienced partner, Somerset Entertainment Ventures for the launch of the inaugural SLPL at the Cinnamon Grand, reminded us of the glory days SLC enjoyed in terms of financial stability and an administration comprising true professionals.
In the bygone era, the administrators had an excellent relationship with the players and the media. I remember the media freedom the players enjoyed. The public loved reading the interviews with our national heroes in print, and also the visual contact with the players on the weekly ‘Cricket Show’, and daily news bulletins.
Skimpy dancers were seen in pursuit during the launch and the screen propaganda gave the impression that the SLPL is second to none, and will draw crowds and television viewers, similar to that of the IPL or Australia’s Big Bash. It is good to think positive, but the big question is, will this be a reality?
To make any event a success, financial stability and planning are of paramount importance. Media relationship plays a major role, whilst the quality of players on show, in this instance a T-20 competition owned by franchise holders must be in line with the IPL or the Big Bash, to state the least.
Player contracts must be signed, done and dusted and all payments due to players must be paid in full, before the launch of a new venture, and last but not least, the partner SLC is dealing with, must have the experience in handling events of this magnitude. This is world cricket and hence, a bunch of sports enthusiasts forming an organization and promising to deliver, will not help.
The truth of the matter is, does SLC have all this covered? The Treasurer of Sri Lanka Cricket, Nuzki Mohamed, is still to calculate the estimated cost of this mega event, scheduled to get underway in less than three weeks.
Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga, who is not qualified to make a statement on financial issues, plays the same record on a different page which he did during ICC World Cup 2011.
Nishantha Ranatunga repeatedly stated that SLC will not be at a financial loss in constructing three new stadiums for the World Cup. At the media briefing before the start of the pompous SLPL launch, he tells the media that he is confident that SLC will not incur a loss, in conducting the SLPL.
This statement is to every right thinking individual, a joke, taking into consideration his past statements and false promises.
Remember, we have secured only 31 million US$ for seven years.
There is no love lost between SLC administrators and the media. A top official of SLC has a history of treating us scribes like second class citizens. During the press conference, before the gala launch, he blamed the media for all the controversy that has erupted between the players and the administrators. The duty of the media is to inform the public of the truth. Contracted players were not paid their dues on time, national players are still to be paid, staff salaries were only regularized recently, player contracts were not signed before the Pakistan series and they played under protest.
Under the current administration, the players are not even allowed to talk to the media. Hence, SLC has obviously earned the wrath of the media.
The CEO of Somerset Entertainment Ventures made it known to the media that the best players of T-20 cricket will be seen in action during this tournament. The Sri Lankan stars, along with Chris Gayle and Shahid Afridi will be crowd pullers, but what about players of the calibre of Brett Lee, Dale Steyn, A. B. de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Kevin Pietersen, and old timers like Adam Gilchrist and Herschelle Gibbs?
We will also miss the likes of M. S. Dhoni, Virat Kholi, Virendra Shewag, the Pathan brothers and even senior citizens like Sourav Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar. We accept the fact that the BCCI refused to send their contracted players, but what about Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble?
SLC and its partner have not even attracted players of the calibre of Daniel Vettori and David Warner. The truth hurts; this proves that the marketing department of SLC, headed by an IT guy, is not good enough to market the SLPL concept, professionally.
It is high time that Sri Lanka Cricket understands the value of our players and the marketing team be focused when negotiating a product that has immense value.
(The writer headed Sri Lanka Cricket’s Media Department for three years)
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