Sri Lanka Premier League – At what cost?


by Chathura Pinnawala

For any corporate entity that is exerting itself to scale new heights, imaginative and profit based reflection is of paramount importance. If its heart beat is normal, daring to be bold by taking risks is one of the principle aspects of a successful organization. What if it’s clamouring to get back on tracks after a continuous period of torment due to a crippling financial clout that’s been generated because of woeful mismanagement?

That is exactly where Sri Lanka Cricket finds itself in. A hosting of a World Cup that was marred by allegations of fraud and corruption and having to plead for assistance to hold their heads above water, Sri Lanka Cricket’s newest course of action-Sri Lanka Premier League- reeks of carelessness and not learning their lessons. While it’s egotistic and artificial glamour was on full display at Cinnamon Grand last Monday during the launch, the fact that SLC’s treasurer Nuzki Mohamed’s inability to disclose the estimated cost of the tournament threw away all the sugar-coating to keep it’s ills under wraps.

For a minute with the positive goggles on about the SLPL, think that it’s for the betterment of the game in general. Then considering the reconstructive state it’s in, you have to assume the governing body will take the safest routes to conduct the tournament. A mere wink at it is enough to see that’s not the option they are taking forward. Somerset Entertainment Ventures CEO, Sandeep Bhummer while being soft-spoken and impassioned about what he said came across as a man retaining a genuine love for the game.  But is it that enough to completely neglect the fact that his organization gravely lacks experience in holding a tournament of this magnitude?

He had to admit they haven’t seen prospective events before in the past two years since being formed to put their heart into, so does SLPL which hit a rock bottom last year when it had to be unceremoniously postponed last year tick all the incentive boxes? The phrase that was used to describe the slam-bang event was a ‘carnival.’ From the way it was unveiled, there was no doubt where this was heading into.

Amidst all the eye-candy dances, ambassadors, the papare bands, theme songs and mascots what’s written in the stars can’t be hidden. T20 tournaments such as these are over-cooked, too familiarly featured and hence have overstayed its welcome. It has threatened to inflict irrepressible damage in its heyday to Test cricket but has failed miserably. But that’s not the point. These types aren’t the exception anymore. It has been tried by every board with a penny in variable proportions and most often it has proved to be downfalls.

Coming back to the apportioning ratio of foreign players, if you take Big Bash, T20 tournaments in England, West Indies or South Africa apart from the IPL, they hardly give that much space for ones who board planes. While the popular notion that IPL won the World Cup for India is laughable at best as they are finding out by the dwindling tv ratings and the good bye kiss to the No1 ranking in Tests. Sri Lanka has been there and thereabouts in world tournaments as of late with destiny holding them back.

Sri Lanka’s system is a unique one which touched in its own value can’t be found anywhere in the world. SLPL wont harness it is as clear as daylight but the head honchos at the office may need firsthand experience to see the light.   

While national captain Mahela Jayawardena’s speech gave a layer of caution and it created lot of sound, it does not need to be looked beyond than its means. Not even Kumar Sangakkara’s MCC themed one. They did what they have to do. As eloquent speakers and to escape the inevitable needling by the media present as to what benefit SLPL would have on Sri Lanka Cricket, they had to take the safe route and sound the warnings of the negative side of it which would quell any bouncers coming their way.

This is not to completely run down SLPL but a warning light as to the lack of back-up plans by the SLC. Negativity doesn’t come without logic; it’s raised by the judgment of past records.

To put it in a perspective, an organization trying to revive from the clutches by using the marketable value in a questionable sphere, the disputable and clouded history of the SLC, the disputable track records of who are involved with, a league with lot of riddles in principles, the lack of risk freeness and whether it’s the need of the hour. Too many question marks for the time being.

Don’t expect it to be any less in the times to come with the way things are shaping into.

animated gif
Processing Request
Please Wait...