BATTLE OF WITS BY CRICKET LEGENDS | Sunday Observer

BATTLE OF WITS BY CRICKET LEGENDS

Capitalising on the recent poor performances of the national cricket team in the recent cricket series against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and India, it is noted with regret that several parties are cashing in on the opportunity to seek entry into the administration of Sri Lanka Cricket by going on air and in the print media venturing and proposing numerous ideologies, in slandering the present administration of Thilanga Sumathipala as totally responsible for the cricket debacle.

Amongst the leaders who are struggling to get into SLC through the back door airing out their opinions are two of the most self appointed authorities past cricketers viz; Sidath Wettimuny and Arjuna Ranatunga.

These two past cricketers have definitely contributed to the noble game during their time and are well respected by the cricket fans. However, it is obvious that both come into the limelight only when Sri Lanka loses matches and it is unfair to stake credit and score on their past laurels.

Arjuna is by courtesy of the “ Daily Mirror” sports desk and the electronic media is going to town accusing the president of Sri Lanka Cricket Sumathipala calling names such as “bookie kaaraya“, “race kaaraya“ indirectly suggesting that matches were lost ‘coz of Sumathipala is not acceptable.

Arjuna’s main ambition it appears is to run down Sumathipala and he talks big of his point of view that Sri Lanka Cricket needs an Interim Committee in place of an elected ExCo. It is important that Arjuna justifies proposing an IC and divulging that he has informed the H.E. and the P.M. to dissolve the stakeholders elected body and with reservation that he be appointed as chairman of an IC suggesting he could put the SLC and the national team to be a match winning side.

The public cannot be fooled by Arjuna’s pranks. The stakeholders of Sri Lanka Cricket know how and what he did on a previous occasion as chairman of IC during the time when Gamini Lokuge was Sports Minister. Arjuna should stop talking on cricket administration based on his captaincy of the World Cup winning team

Instead, Arjuna should contest a SLC election and see if he is voted to head the SLC by the stakeholders. While this is so the other cricket sahib Sidath Wettimuny has a different and opposed view of Interim Committees.

Sidath another legend, a cricketer of high repute has been couple of times the chairman of IC’s on separate occasions. He was seen on Sirasa TV recently being interviewed on cricket over a two hour telecast.

Sidath’s version was totally in contrast to Arjuna’s. The substance of his theory was to not have an IC and that he cannot think how an IC could place Sri Lanka Cricket on a rectification course.

Instead he was suggesting that the number of voting strength is around 140 and is too many compared with other Test playing country’s cricket boards.

Sidath was never blaming the current administration or casting dirty remarks on the president or the ExCo. Instead he took a swipe at the treasurer of the SLC saying that person doesn’t deserve to be elected to be in charge of the SLC coffers coz he is already having difficulty in his own club and has a cloud over his head.

What Sidath wants is to change the constitution by reducing the number of clubs or associations who doesn’t play cricket, yet enjoys two votes just as much as elite Colombo clubs are entitled. The number of votes have not exceeded overnight, all have played cricket continuously to be entitled to voting rights.

Sidath also commented on the poor performances of our national team and was of the view the cricketers must perform better.

While this is so it is not out of place to mention that winning matches or the World Cup in 1996 was due to some good and meaningful work done by Cricket Board officials from the 1960’s or even before and winning the World Cup was also under the present constitution which was amended in May 2017 unanimously adopted by the stakeholders.

The constitution cannot be amended at any cost without the approval of the stakeholders. So we have another past cricketer keen to creep in through the back door by amending the constitution to suit a majority of the Colombo District stakeholders, which is unjust and unfair by the membership who have spent years in developing their clubs and associations who have also produced national players. So the idea mooted by Sidath is not the solution to Sri Lanka Cricket either.

Going by the contrasting versions of the two viz; Sidath and Arjuna it is obvious that proposals of both of them doesn’t come right to improve cricket but it must be said that the Sports Minister at a recent Sports Workshop held at Water’s Edge announced in a strong tone that an Interim Committee will never be placed in control of any sport highlighting cricket which was a blatant slap in the face of Arjuna who always has a bad word for the Sports Minister. As a matter of fact the Sports Minister announced if the incumbent president is not doing his job properly, the membership could oust him at an election and vote to elect a new president.

As such, I regret there will be no Interim Committees whatsoever and it will be just a waste of time for Arjuna to cry for cricket lovely cricket. Further, it is the same I have to tell Sidath, the constitution cannot be changed to his fancies and it is only the stakeholders who could do so by sending in resolutions prior to an AGM well in time.

In the circumstances, it won’t be a bad idea for both legends Sidath and Arjuna to contest an election and get elected.

The national team’s losses in the recent inbound concluded tours are certainly no fault of the administration led by Thilanga Sumathipala. The Interim Committees that managed the board over the last 12 or 13 years have done enough damage. So I am with the Sports Minister and let elected bodies be the best to administer Sri Lanka Cricket.

JOSEPH ALLES

Former club administrator – Colombo District. 

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