Sports Minister goes overboard | Daily News

Sports Minister goes overboard

The way things are shaping up for the national cricket team before an important Cricket World Cup is certainly not good thanks to the Minister of Sport Dayasiri Jayasekera. We respect the Minister on whatever decision he takes but in this instance it seems that he has jumped the gun and taken it upon himself to report to the FCID (Financial Crime Investigation Division) to investigate a case of alleged match-fixing that involved two national cricketers - Kusal Perera and Rangana Herath, when there was a democratically elected cricket body in place.

When a player is accused of anti-doping and match-fixing they are all national issues but nevertheless the fact that the Sports Minister went and made a complaint to the FCID before the Sri Lanka Cricket hierarchy could assess this situation is not very conducive.

At a time when we are on the eve of an Asia Cup and a ICC World Twenty20 tournament where Sri Lanka are due to defend their titles one has to question from a cricketing perspective whether it is the wisest thing to escalate these issues and get players grilled with the captain Angelo Mathews also being brought into question. We are following a disastrous tour of New Zealand and cricket is at its lowest ebb and our prime focus at this moment should be the cricket. The media appears to be all agog with the anti doping and match fixing stories. We do not know how much input has come from the International Cricket Council (ICC) what we feel is that this matter should have been taken through the due process without undue outside interference.

We are not condoning acts of this nature by any stretch of imagination. Those who are guilty should be taken to task and punished, but the timing to go to the FCID and have national players grilled for 6-10 hours is an issue which needs cautious approach.

The ICC does not tolerate government interference and this should not be construed in a wrongful manner especially when there is an elected body in place. It was different with the interim committee because that was a government appointed interim body for a specified period of time. Now that an elected body is in place they should be independently allowed to run the game. The elected body comprises responsible people who have been through the thick and thin of cricket administration and have handled situations of this nature in previous instances.

To add more salt to the already festering wound the Minister then accused the Sri Lanka cricketers of late night drinking and 'scandalous behaviour' on the New Zealand tour stating that he had received photos of players attending all-night parties before matches.

However a morning daily reported the following day under the headline, 'New Zealand hoteliers refute Sports Minister's claims':

"The 'Sydney Morning Herald' spoke to several hotels where the Sri Lankans were put up, but received no negative remarks.

"Sri Lanka were booked in at the Rutherford Hotel in Nelson for ODIs on New Year's Eve and January 2 and a staff member was surprised by the allegations. I haven't heard anything about misbehaving. They were very well behaved," she said. "From what I've seen there was no problem," a staff member at Rydges Latimer in Christchurch told the newspaper."

SLC is awaiting a report from the team manager Jerry Woutersz following the Minister's accusations.


The removal of Shane Fernando as manager of the Sri Lanka Under 19 team manager for the ICC Under 19 World Cup in Bangladesh was totally uncalled for. The sudden change is not the right decision for the newly elected body to take and it brings into question whether it was politically motivated.

Fernando's name was approved as manager along with the rest of the squad by the Minister of Sport with Ranjith Madurasinghe going as the selector on tour. But to bring the selector on tour as manager and to subsequently appoint Fernando to the position of assistant manager logistics is a major reshuffle on the eve of a tour.

We wonder whether the Minister asked the SLC hierarchy why this change was brought about on the eve of the tour. We have been told that Shane Fernando withdrew his subsequent appointment as assistant manager logistic only on the morning of the tour. This is an important World Cup tour and Fernando sat for the official photograph of the team and also attended the official dinner which the Minister and the SLC hierarchy attended. After attending the official dinner subsequently Fernando withdrew which brings into question a lot of debatable issues. Is action going to be taken against Fernando or is the Minister's action not to question the SLC hierarchy why Fernando was changed from manager to assistant manager after he had approved the team. All this is not very conducive to the team members. It is unfortunate in terms of team motivation because Fernando is a guy who has been with the team and the boys have become familiar with. He has been manager for two years or so and the team members have a reasonable rapport with him. We don't know how the boys will take this issue on the eve of a tour. Everything doesn't seem to be okay. 


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