Is there are a hidden pattern to cricket selections? | Daily News

Is there are a hidden pattern to cricket selections?

The manner in which certain players have been picked for the national team since the current Sri Lanka Cricket administration took over leaves room for a lot of questioning as to whether it is being done to satisfy the voter base and thereby depriving the country of the best team to represent it.

The selection of players like Chaminda Bandara (Sri Lanka Ports Authority), Thikshila de Silva (Chilaw Marians), Kasun Madushanka (after he moved from Bloomfield to CCC), Chaturanga de Silva (after moving from Moors SC to NCC), the continuous selection of Kandy cricketer Sachith Pathirana and the presence of seven NCC cricketers in the current One-Day squad playing in South Africa are some glaring examples that have made the cricketing fraternity sit up and take notice that everything is not fair by way of national cricket selections. There seems to be a pattern to this selection that is currently going on and someone who is not aware of how the dynamics works will be blind to it.

The SLC constitution has provision where the ExCo has been empowered to give certain guidelines (not interfere in selections). But with the inaction of the Sports Law of the country in 1974, it supersedes all sports constitutions. It is the law of the land. So how can the SLC hierarchy state that they have taken a policy decision to include an under 19 player in every national team when they have no jurisdiction over it. It is the prerogative of the selection committee appointed by the Minister of Sports.

The Sports Law clearly states the constitution for the selection committee and what authority is vested in the chairman etc, etc. It is directly opposite to what the SLC constitution - where there is a law of the land which gives clear directions as to how selections should happen. The Sports Law supersedes all other constitutions. The Sports Law says that at any given time you have to pick the best team to represent the country. The question is, is it happening that way? It seems the SLC is flouting with the laws of the land with people who are not mindful of what the Sports Law is all about.

The biggest injustice they have done to that dashing wicket-keeper/batsman Kusal Perera is to bat him at no. 3 where he proved a complete failure in South Africa and thereafter abandoned him from the T20 and ODI sides when his style of play really suits the two shorter formats. Perera was being groomed as a no. 7 batsman and wicket-keeper for the Test team by the former selection committee headed by Kapila Wijegunawardene when they were unceremoniously overthrown and replaced by an adhoc committee to satisfy the wishes of the SLC hierarchy. By sending Perera at no. 7 in the Tests there was certain thinking behind it. He could get quick runs although batting with the tail and also be batting in the middle when the second new ball arrives and the opposition bowlers are tired. By not properly utilizing his extraordinary talents Perera is not in the one-day squads today whereas he should have. It is a crying shame that a player with his talent is left to waste when the team is struggling to counter the South African bowlers.

Since the new SLC administration came into power at the beginning of last year through an election, there have been two instances where they had clashed with the selectors. The first one that took place was ahead of the ICC World T20 in April last year that resulted in the selection committee headed by former Sri Lanka fast bowler Kapila Wijegunawardene being replaced within a matter of hours by an adhoc selection committee headed by another former Sri Lanka cricketer Aravinda de Silva and which also included former captain Kumar Sangakkara.

This committee fulfilled the needs of the current administration making changes to a team that had already been approved by the Sports Minister and even sent to the ICC to meet the original deadline. Subsequently SLC managed to get permission from the ICC to extend that deadline so that they could make late changes to the squad which surprisingly the international body agreed to.

The changes saw two young cricketers Niroshan Dickwella and Jeffrey Vandersay who already had their air tickets with them to travel to India, being replaced by Lahiru Thirimanne and Suranga Lakmal and the captain which the previous selection committee had picked as Dinesh Chandimal being replaced by Angelo Mathews. They had done that knowing Mathews’ long history with injuries. They had also left out the injured Lasith Malinga from the squad as he was uncertain of his match fitness. However the adhoc committee took a risk and included Malinga and eventually had to eat humble pie when Malinga failed to regain fitness in time and was forced to return home without playing a single match. He was replaced by Vandersay which the previous selection committee had already picked and to add insult to injury Mathews got injured and Chandimal eventually had to take over the captaincy in the latter matches. This comedy of errors certainly had an effect on the team performances and Sri Lanka needless to say failed to successfully defend their World T20 title being knocked out after failing to get beyond the group stage.

The second instance involved the present chairman of selectors another former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya whom reports indicated had a clash with the administration over the SLC’s refusal to allow a selection committee member to join the national cricket team on tours abroad which has been the practice in the past.

The issue was however resolved with the intervention of the Sports Minister and discussions which Jayasuriya subsequently had with SLC officials who eventually agreed to allow a selection committee member to join the team on overseas tours beginning with the current tour to South Africa.

It’s not about individuals its pride. We are a proud cricketing nation and we have come to five World Cup finals whereas South Africa has not even made it even to one. At the end of the day it is the country that is suffering because of a few individuals who take decisions to remain in power.

There are 3 Comments

Add new comment