SLC financially stable - Sumathipala | Daily News

SLC financially stable - Sumathipala

SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala
SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala

President Thilanga Sumathipala said that Sri Lanka Cricket was today a stable institution and could carry on without being dependent on anyone for the next 5-10 years.

“I am proud to say that today we are not indebted to anyone. We have settled all our debts. Our financial position is very strong and the SLC can continue for the next 5-10 years without depending on anyone,” said Sumathipala in an interview.

“The most important thing in an institution is financial stability. Today we have no player problems. When we look at individual talents and inborn talents we have a very good team today.

As president I have more than 20 years experience at SLC. I know where I should rebuild the cracks. I take full responsibility of putting the team back on the winning track because I am the most experienced person in cricket administration in the whole world. I know what to do and what not to do. The SLC ExCo is also guiding and assisting me to follow the correct path,” he said.

Speaking further Sumathipala said, “I took over Sri Lanka Cricket after 11 years when it was in dire financial straits. SLC was Rs. 4.5 million in debt. An office worker functioned as a national trainer. All units in SLC were in disarray. Loans amounting to several millions of rupees had been taken to build the Sooriyawewa Stadium. There were no proper infrastructure facilities. Nothing was heard about school cricket. There were problems about match fixing. Several cases were pending in the FCID.

“I admit that the team was suffered setbacks in recent times. One of the reasons for the setbacks is the mental distress caused to Angelo Mathews by singularly targeting him. He was labeled as a match fixer. Some former cricketers came forward and criticized him in a very unfair manner. When the captain is targeted the whole team suffers a setback. When the captain lost the toss he is labeled as a man who had given up the game. “I had to intervene to rebuild the mentality of the cricketers. I discussed with the players and I am trying to discuss things with the ICC and clear players of all allegations and start a new journey. This is not an easy job. Our main target is to win the 2019 World Cup. The country or a team should have a development target to achieve progress. My main objective is to transform the Sri Lanka team as the best Test team in the world. We have to build up the best ODI and T20 team in the world. Thereafter our objective is to win the Under 19 World Cup.

“Other units in the SLC also have such targets. One should have faith in me and my team. They should also have faith in the cricketers. We have many shortcomings which will take about 6-8 months to fulfill. This is a time consuming job. We should select the best 20 players suitable to take part in the 2019 World Cup. We have only 45 ODI matches prior to the next World Cup. The 20 member team selected must play at least 30 out of 40 one day matches. A person who has no experience in at least 30 matches cannot be brought into the final 15 member team.

“The SLC is the only Cricket Board in the world where former cricketers are working. There are so many members of the Sri Lanka team Asanka Gurusinha is the cricket manager, Chandika Hathurusingha has come back to take over as head coach. There is Thilan Samaraweera and Rumesh Ratnayake who are the batting and bowling coaches. The lower rungs of the SLC also comprise several players who have represented Sri Lanka,” Sumathipala said.

The SLC president said as regards fitness they had no clear program of work. “It is the Minister of Sports who intervened and settled the problem by taking a firm stand. All in all our cricketers were not used to fitness exercises. Senior players put on weight with time. The fitness standards have been systematically upgraded from September 1. We will not select anyone who does not conform to the fitness levels.

Fitness tests will be held on February 1, April 1 and June 1 according to the Minister’s circular. This decision has helped to energize the players. This will also help improve the fielding. These standards should be introduced to the “A” team too.

“Correcting these things is very difficult. When we set about doing these things people blamed the coach. Everyone tried to chase Gurusinha away. I brought back Gurusinha to build up discipline. It is the manager who is acting as our agent to implement our policy. He should rebuild discipline and fitness.

We cannot play cricket with people who are drunk the whole night and break rest the whole night. People planned to chase Gurusinha because he insisted in instilling discipline. Gurusinha is a person who has followed the Level 3 training course and undertaken Cricket Management in Australia for 20 years. He is a Sri Lankan, a member of the World Cup winning team. When we asked people to take up new technology those who could not fathom it organized themselves to oppose it,” said Sumathipala.

“My main responsibility is to do the correct thing without concern about undue criticism.

If I give into criticism I won’t be able to achieve the main target of bringing the team on the winning path. If I give into pressure and give up my post I will be doing a grave injustice to the country as a most experienced person in cricket administration. So I have decided to perform my duties by keeping silent. There is no other person experienced as me to take over this post. The best thing is to get things corrected by supporting me in this task. People off the field of cricket are well aware of the damage that will be caused if I leave this post.

As such most of them have offered me their support and encouraged me to continue this work. I will definitely take the team forward to the 2019 World Cup,” he said. Speaking on Thisara Perera’s captaincy Sumathipala said what the team needed was a strategist who can unite the team as captain. “At present Thisara Perera has performed this job well. He is a fearless leader with a strong backbone. He showed fearless leadership qualities by taking the team to Pakistan.

Fearlessness is one trait required in a captain and Thisara has it. This is not a Test squad but a One Day squad. Thisara may have other shortcomings which can be corrected by the coach.

We have brought in an efficient coach and I am confident that we will be able to build up a proper team. It will be almost 90 percent complete after the Independence Trophy next year,” he concluded.

- Translated by Sherifdeen Amath

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