As AGM approaches SLC comes under the microscope | Daily News


As AGM approaches SLC comes under the microscope

It only needed for Sri Lanka Cricket president Thilanga Sumathipala to make it public that he would be coming forward to contest next month’s elections to win another two-year term in office when the daggers started to be drawn against him and his fellow confederates.

First off the blocks was Deputy Minister of Social Empowerment, Welfare and Kandyan Heritage, Ranjan Ramanayake who held a press conference at his Parliamentarian Quarters at Madiwela on Monday to expose corruption and waste that has taken place during the two-year period in office by the Sumathipala administration. Ramanayake supported his allegations with photo copies of documents to substantiate his claims and promised to expose more misdeeds in the coming weeks – all of which is not going to be a good advertisement for the current administrators leading upto the May 19 elections.

Ramanayake won’t be the last to come out with all guns firing at the current administration which has had a rocky ride in their two years in office, there will be plenty already sharpening their knives now that the lead has been given.

On top of their agenda of negatives is the fall in performance of the national cricket team across all three formats which is going to be one of the core subjects the anti-Sumathipala factions will use to negative his efforts to win another term apart from the many shortcomings his administration has been accused of time and again.

When the current administration was elected to office on January 3, 2016, the national team’s performances were somewhat better than their present standings with the exception of the Tests (7th then and 6th at present). In the other two formats there has been no improvement in the T20 rankings where Sri Lanka have remained stagnant at eighth place, and fared worse in the ODI rankings dropping from fifth to eighth and barely scraping the barrel to avoid qualifying for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

Sri Lanka’s overall performances in the two years of the current administration don’t make good reading:

Tests – Played 15, Won 5, Lost 7, Drawn 3

ODIs – Played 52, Won 14, Lost 34, No Result 4

T20Is – Played 37, Won 11, Lost 26.

It is a well known fact that the success of the cricket administration is judged on the performances of the national team. However good the administration may be, if the national team performs badly it is the administration that has to bear up the criticism.

Most of Sri Lanka Cricket’s problems began with the departure of the national team’s head coach Graham Ford of South Africa in June 2017, only 15 months into his contract that was to run upto the 2019 Cricket World Cup. Ford’s exit left the Sri Lanka cricket team like a ship without a rudder and for the next six months they had to sail the stormy seas being battered from left to right by the two Asian giants India and Pakistan with whom they had international commitments during that period. The battering they received especially in ODI and T20I cricket had a great bearing on their overall rankings. It was another South African Nic Pothas, promoted from fielding coach to interim head coach who had to bear the brunt of the team’s agony. Pothas with no previous experience of handling a national team struggled to keep the side together against overwhelming odds – victories were few and far between – the only one to relish during his short tenure was inflicting on Pakistan their first Test series defeat in the UAE which since 2010 has become their second home.

Sri Lanka Cricket ended their lengthy wait for a long term head coach by ‘hijacking’ former Sri Lanka cricketer turned renowned international coach Chandika Hathurusingha from Bangladesh in December. Hathurusingha began his quest to rebuild the national team by guiding them to victory across all three formats against his former side Bangladesh on their home soil. It was a much needed shot in the arm for our cricketers who had worked their butts out hard trying to compete with the best and recover their lost prestige and position that they were once renowned for. The success in Bangladesh was short lived when Sri Lanka were brought down heavily with a thud when they managed just a solitary win out of four matches losing twice to Bangladesh and once to India to bow out of the final of the Nidahas trophy tri-nation series that was contested by the other two Asian neighbours.

Hathurusingha’s appointment is long term till the 2019 Cricket World Cup (and perhaps beyond) which is the nation’s prime focus. There is a lot of expectation from the national team with Hathurusingha at the helm. The signing of Hathurusingha is one of the few plus points that the current administration has gained against the face of several underhand activities and waste they have been time and again been accused of.

As election fever mounts the next few weeks leading upto May 19 is going to be really interesting with punches being exchanged and attempts made to disqualify Sumathipala from contesting now that his able ally former Sports Minister Daya Jayasekera is sans a portfolio having resigned from his post following the aftermath of the no-confidence motion brought against the Prime Minister. 

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