18 April, 2024


Glory & Doom Of Cricket In Pakistan & Sri Lanka

By  Hemantha  Warnakulasuriya

Hemantha Warnakulasuriya PC

We have examined every possible winning combination with microscopic details and have come up with no answers or suggestions on how to rescue Sri Lanka’s Cricket from the present darkest abyss it has been pushed into by the players. The solutions cricket lovers suggest seem to have much graver consequences than the problem itself.

Thilanga Sumathipala and his administration seems to be the core of the problem. When Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera aired said that as long as he is the Minister of Sports, he would never have an Interim Committee; Thilanga Sumathipala’s critics then suggested, “Then sack the Minister”. These two seem to be have been made the scapegoat and the inner nucleus of the unimaginable depths that Sri Lankan Cricket has fallen into. As every other solution, suggested by critics, fans and armchair connoisseurs, have been experimented with and the composition of the team changed, it has only resulted in the present impasse. So, the others who are waiting in the wings, to take over the administration of cricket and deliver it to the land of hope, it now seems to be assured that they will replace Thilanga Sumathipala and his team of administrators.

We have tried all other experiments including bringing in raw novices who had nothing to show from their past cricketing record. For example, the manner in which Sadeera Samarawickrema batted in the Test Match. Everybody heaved a deep sigh of relief that at last we have found a genius batting protégée. Then came the 50 over matches, and we were angry over the selectors not selecting him for the ODI. Then, the Selectors had no alternative but to reign-in Sadeera. What a debacle it was! He was bowled neck and crock for two golden ducks.

The same thing happened with Dhananjaya de Silva. When he and another young protégée called Kusal Mendis faced the best pace attack in the world, the Australians pace attack was shred to smithereens. Both of them, after a few flash in the pan acts, were dropped. First Dhananjaya de Silva and then Kusal Mendis. Every time the selectors rope in young talent, he invariably makes a heavy impression raising the spectators adrenal flow, but it is so temporarily ephemeral that it becomes a casualty beyond repair. The same scenario goes on and on, without anyone of them making any positive impact. That is why everything has been tried, with or without reason, and the players have been recruited and dropped, selectors have been sacked or have resigned and new selectors have been appointed, coaches have been removed and sacked.

The new coach Nic Pothas, who was a fielding coach sometime ago, with his limited knowledge in coaching an international cricket team, is now trying to rejuvenate a dispirited, disinterested team which has been destroyed by these scheming mechanisms. From nowhere comes Asanka Gurusinghe as an additional coach, now, the Manager and a selector. The only rationale for selecting him is his Nalanda College background. Hashan Tillekeratne is the Batting Coach. The way that the Sri Lankan Team got out and was unable to score more than 230 runs should be sufficient reason for Hashan to think about his coaching ability. That is why people asked the Board to appoint Mahela Jayawardena as the new Head Coach, and to go further and ask Thilanga Sumathipala to step down. I do not know whether that alone will suffice to improve the standards of our cricket. The failure of Kushal Mendis, Dananajaya de Silva and Lakshan Sandakan and even Niroshan Dickwella in the ODI’s is inexplicable. Further, it is necessary in order to understand the debacle of Sri Lankan Cricket that one must even grudgingly compare the rise of the Pakistan Cricket Team who have become Champions in world ODI Cricket. It is unbelievable the kind of talent they have got and the pace bowlers who come and deliver the ball at an unbelievable pace, which is virtually unplayable. They almost have more than a dozen pace bowlers to replace anyone who is injured. Mohammed Ameer, who was a sensation before he was booked for spot fixing, was considered the greatest young Pakistani cricketer to have played the game. But when he was very unsuccessful in his bowling in the Test Matches, and after bowling several overs, he was only able to take one wicket, and in the ODI, was an utter failure and was replaced by another Pakistani sensation, Usman Khan.

Hassan Ali, a bowler who reached a milestone, was one of the quickest pace bowlers to take 50 wickets. He is also the ICC No.(1) ranked, ODI bowler. He has reached this position thanks to Sri Lanka’s worst batting display the world of cricket has witnessed. Pakistan Cricket is overflowing with an abundance of talent raring to be selected. Imad Rassim, Ruman Raees and Shadab Khan are only a few cricketers who had excelled whenever selected . The list and talent is never ending. Is this the reason for their speedy accession to the summit of World Limited Over Cricket? Pakistan had always had talent, they always had great bowlers and batsmen. But they never won their matches consistently. Harsha Bhogle once remarked, “No one, not even God could predict the batting debacles of Pakistan Cricket. One day they will show the world that they have the batting ability to smash any bowling attack, but the next day they will meekly surrender to the meekest bowling attack and no one could explain this debacle”.

The debacles the team faced, were even under the leadership of great captains like Wassim Akram and Waqar Younis. The reason was amply demonstrated by the recent exposure made by an English Newspaper Group, how the Pakistanis fixed matches for money at the behest of owners of gambling dens. There were rumors and serious allegations, against the Pakistani Cricketers of yesteryear, that they were involved in match fixing and the debacles were due to these sordid activities. There were inquires even against Wassim Akram. There were stories that Wassim Akram’s father was kidnapped by the Mafioso, in return for the monies that Wassim Akram had taken to fix matches. Even the Supreme Court inquiry, found certain players guilty of corruption. Everything was done to prevent people from giving evidence against the corrupt cricketers, but ultimately Atha-ur Rehaman, Saleem Malik, Mohomed Ameer, Mohammed Azzif, Salman Butt, Danesh Kaneria, Shajeel Khan, Khalid Lateef and Mohammad Ifram were found guilty and sentenced, and were banned from cricket for a number of years.

There were cricketers who single handedly protested against the players who were striving to fix matches. During the 1996 World Cup, when Wassim Akram feigned an injury and declined to play against India, Ameer Sohel, one of the few honourable cricketers in the Pakistani Team, went on bended knees and requested Wassim Akram to play in that match. By that time it had been rumored that huge bets had been held all over India on the number of wickets that Wassim Akram would take and the number of runs he would score, and even who will captain Pakistan. As Wassim Akram did not play, huge sums of money were won by the bookies.

When I first saw Saffras Ahamed, the present captain, as a Wicket Keeper / Batsman, in Sri Lanka, I was really impressed with the true grit he showed in defending his wicket. Though all odds were against him, he managed to save the game by batting on, and I told one of the officials who toured with the Pakistani Team, that Saffras Ahamed should be appointed captain of the team as I felt that he had no price on his head and cannot be bought over by bookies. Though pundits lamented over the retirement of the former captain, who had a mixed bag of success, they believed his retirement would drive the death nail into Pakistan Cricket. On the other hand, I thought that Saffraz Ahamed and the Cricket Coach, Micky Arthur could rejuvenate Pakistan Cricket and make them world champions. I am happy that they are working and walking towards that ambitious goal.

True to my word, during the ODIs, Saffraz Ahamed was approached by a notorious bookie, who was well known to all the other players, to discuss about fixing one or two matches. No harm would fall to the Pakistani Team, as the rubber had been won by them. But, Saffraz Ahamed, without pondering a moment, immediately reported this to the officials at the Cricket Board, sending a signal to all players of the Pakistani Team that they must not even entertain a thought about match fixing or spot fixing and if found, there would be no reprieve like the concession given to Mohamed Ameer.

Mohammad Irfan with his height was thought irreplaceable. But the Pakistan Board found him guilty of fixing and banned him. In Pakistan, unlike in Sri Lanka, there are hundreds of players waiting in the wing to replace players, even giants like Mohammad Irfan, or should it be Mohammad Ameer or Mohamed Azzif. The PCB would prefer honour to talent, cricketing brain and charisma. Saffraz Ahamed has dispelled the demon of ‘fixing’ that has captivated the most famous cricketers in the Pakistan Team. As long as he cannot be offered or bought over with money, the Pakistan Team will continue to win matches. The present day Glory the Pakistan Team enjoys is due to two people, Saffraz Ahamed and Micky Arthur.

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Latest comments

  • 2

    “So, the others who are waiting in the wings, to take over the administration of cricket and deliver it to the land of hope, it now seems to be assured that they will replace Thilanga Sumathipala and his team of administrators. We have examined every possible winning combination with microscopic details “

    Yes, what astounding clarity from one of the best of our Legal Eagles. It bowls one over to imagine which microscopic detail His Honour used to examine the combinations!
    Was it long and slender or thick and short?
    With senior lawyers who are capable of such precision, I wonder why some misguided people are clamouring for foreign judges.
    “These two seem to be have been made the scapegoat and the inner nucleus of the unimaginable depths that Sri Lankan Cricket has fallen into”
    Yes indeed, one must put one’s foot down with a firm hand.

    • 5

      A few simple solutions:

      1 Thilanga and Arjuna should not be allowed into administration
      2 All other leeches in the executive committee who have been involved for more than 10 years should be kept out. Cannot afford to have exco and committee members who come to the board looking for a mobile, foreign travel, free hotel stays and free transport!!
      3 Hire a proper coach and a manager. Who are Pothas and Gurusinghe?
      4 Pay cricketers simply on performance. Monthly retainer should be low.
      5 Instill discipline among cricketers. Cannot be seen roaming around in Colombo at 2 am the day before a match
      6 Make them feel proud of wearing the SL cap
      7 Hire a mental trainer since at the moment none can hold a bat.
      8 Selection committee members should not be attached to Clubs and free from politics.
      9 Strong financial discipline at the board. Cannot have white elephants like Hambantota stadium.
      10 Improve standard of school and club cricket.

    • 0

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 10

    This is highly amusing to say the least.Hemantha W who never held a bat or knows the difference between either end of of a willow or ball is pontificating on cricket.I thought his expertise lay in old buses,a little bit of the law and some such matters.

  • 6

    It’s hard to pin point what is the root cause of this degradation of SL cricket. Perhaps, a combination of causes. Such as the lack of a competitive domestic structure, a poor coaching team, Asanka Gurusinghe’s meddling, changing of Captains all too frequently and of course the Administration which should be held responsible for all of the above.

    But let’s get to the coaches. Nic Pothas is as rubbish as one could find in the world to coach an international side. Asanka Gurusinghe is nefarious character. Once despised by the entire team while he was a player.

    In my opinion they should make a Army Commander a coach. For instance if I was made the coach I will instill strict discipline within the team. Those multi coloured soft drinks will be banned. If the players want soft drinks, I will make sure there is none. They will go towards the nearest tap, get down on their knees and drink WATER untiil they realize what it is to play for the country.

    Next thing is, I will make sure those spouses are banned within the 200 km of the grounds and specially, no visiting of spouses before matches.

    • 3

      I think the problem goes deeper than that. My research shows that the root cause is players do no play well.

  • 3

    Psycholigically, motivation goes up and down. One reason is fatigue. It is possible heavy politicl influence also discourages players to play with discipline and motivation. further to that, when the whole country’s leaders are thieves going for money, when the head of Cricket is a businessman who has Casino connection, did a psychologist study why the players are not motivated to win.

  • 0

    Edwin Aiya
    Do you know what this discussion is all about.No it’s not about cricket that miserable insect u are familiar with as a villager. The game of cricket is of course a sophisticated sport of which you obviously know little about.

  • 3

    For god’s sake, why can’t these politicians take their hands off from cricket? as in England & Australia. Whenever there is a change of government, useless politicians or Bookeys who have not played cricket with an even polpiththa are trying to run and advice cricket players in Sri Lanka. The best people to get instructions and run the show are those who took Sri Lanka cricket to the world stage like Arjuna, Aravinda, Sanath, Sangakkara and Mahela like maestro cricketers. At least by now these fraudsters must leave the big chairs of the Board of Cricket as well as the Minister who is a loyal friend of corrupt must resign as we Sri Lanka are getting” white wash” from the royal game.

  • 2

    The view from my armchair in Matale is that perhaps SL should follow the Pakistan recipe for success.

    Enforced exile in the UAE, far from the pernicious influence of selectors, cricket board officials, hangers-on, bookies etc allowed the great Misbah to fashion a fine and competitive team.

    Why not SL? If not to the Emirates (only 4 hrs away), then how about, say, the Maldives, before they are reclaimed by the ocean. Only kidding….

    I’m sure the players are as fed up as cricket fans are by the current shambles of meaningless matches, selectorial chaos and meddling from administrators and worse, politicians.

    Where is Sanga when you need him to bring some clarity of thought and purpose?

  • 3

    One of the better pieces written by HW who knows how to call a spade a spade.

    Most legal ppl in lanka collect hefty fees and under deliver. With HW (Billy Bunter)

  • 2

    Leave aside the Author and the contents in the article…. Sri Lanka Cricket certainly need a good no nonsense Cricket coach….
    I strongly suggest SLC invite Mr. ANIL KUMBLE of India & handover the team to him with no strings attached if we are looking for a revival.

    Its time Sanga & Mahela stop batting for the media and took a step back if they really want to assist SLC in the earnest.

    Not only the Chairman, of SLC also the minister too should be shown the door as Cricket is being used for their political rebound.

    If all fail, I can make the trek from Yalpanam to takeover SLC…. But they will not like it.

  • 3

    In cricket also, just like all the forms of activities including politics, the root cause of all debacles is Mahinda Rajapaksa. As soon as he became aware of the availability of RS. 6 billion, in the coffers of Sri Lanka Cricket [SLC] his greed, like when he saw the Tsunami monies, had no bounds. He moved stealthily and got Nishantha Ranatunga, the most corrupt of all Ranatungas next to Prasanna appointed as its Secretary breaking all norms and procedures. He got hold of another, the Chairman of the Ports Authority, his bill boy to build a cricket stadium in god forsaken Suriyawewa, displacing all the fauna and flora out of their habitats that stood from time immemorial. The real cause of the human/elephant was the building of the airport and the Cricket stadium. He spent about 2 billion, according to his own estimate and pocketed in a clean 4 billion.

    The result was SLC went bankrupt and was thriving on Bank overdrafts. It had no money to start building under 19, under 23, the A team etc.and because of a greedy head of state and another culprit in Nishantha Ranatunga saw SLC going down the pallan.

    From the outset, it should be said that all Captains under Sumathipala Administration are not CAPTAINCY MATERIAL. They do not have the charisma or the command to be a captain. They lack the confidence which inevitably in the most important aspect. SLC is groping in the dark searching for talent. The most important thing in a player is that he should be a disciplined man. We cannot pick cricketers from the gutters and get them to play international cricket. The SLC must go to the North and get those lanky, tall fellows to play cricket. In my view the future of SLC lies in Dickwella, Mendis, Gunatilleke, Akila Dananjaya, Sandakan, Mathews [he must throw his fat away], Chandimal, Lakmal and the crowd. First of all get rid of the BUKKIE, Sumathipala, Gurusingha, Hashan etc from all forms of cricket. The youngsters that I mentioned above should be groomed to play all three forms of cricket. Get Sangakkara to look after the left-handers, Mahela to look after the right- handers, Muthiah and Vaas the bowling aspects. It is sad that Muralitharan’s photo had been removed from Pallelkelle. How can Sumathipala promote cricket with such a mindset. THE OTHER THING IS THAT ALL BATSMEN SHOULD BE TRAINED TO HIT THE BALL HARD like the Indians.

    • 6

      I agree more in there with MARA did make SL Cricket goto these levels and Im sure Hemantha W., do not have any balls to agree in here as the man switch his allegiance time to time if it is Sarath Nanda or MA-RA….

      Its not only MARA and Nishantha R another corrupt to the core family did amassed billions by way of SLC and also giving the transmission rights to baby’s CNS network.

      Do not forget the real Minister of Sports under MARA regime was Namal baby and foul mouthed Mahindananda was only a rubber stamp.

      To revive SL cricket., we need to keep the families of Sumathipala’s., Rajapaksas, Dharmadasas and Ranatungas as well as politicians of any color, away from the administration and all sorts of meddling with the day to day affairs of the SLC.

      If the above can me met., there will be enough administrators who can come forward and manage the affairs of the cricket board who really loves the game that they played from the heart.

  • 1

    Hemantha Warnakulasuriya PC sagaciously concludes ~ “……..on how to rescue Sri Lanka’s Cricket from the present darkest abyss it has been pushed into by the players………”.
    Cricket in every country has its ups and downs. Hemantha attributes the present failures of Sri Lanka’s Cricket to the players. This is unfair and unbecoming of a PC (President’s Counsel).
    The morale of the players is very very very low. The cricket administrators are exploiting the players and getting visibly richer and richer. The bane of Lanka (corruption, nepotism, culture of impunity) is all over SL Cricket. Instead of faulting the players, the management must listen to them.
    Pakistan and SL are interested in cricket. In both countries corruption is taken for granted. In Pakistan the clergy is used by politicians. In SL we have just started. and so on and so on.

    Hemantha’s conclusion says it all ~ “The present day Glory the Pakistan Team enjoys is due to two people, Saffraz Ahamed and Micky Arthur”.
    Wrong wrong wrong. It should be “The present day Glory the two people, Saffraz Ahamed and Micky Arthur enjoy is due to Pakistan Team”.
    Hemantha does not present a solution because he does not know the problem.

  • 2

    The Sri Lankan players get the blessing of Saffron clads before every world cup and presumably overseas trip as well. They tie a string that connect all the players. May be there is match fixing at the highest level imaginable, I mean at the divine level. Has anyone checked bank balances of the Saffron clads for possible payments from the international underworld gambling syndicates.

    • 2

      Interesting with saffron clads, we see a female version of Sumane A., the so called Royal Astrologer of HW’s buddy the Tsunami Hora when he was the exec Prez., this lady named Ganga Maniyo in A’Pura was to bless in person Dinesh Chandimal before the test series and later got the credit of the test series win.

      Not sure why Upul Tharanga did not see Ganga Maniyo before the ODI series :)

      Then just 2 days ago we see HW’s pal the Tsunami Hora just sneaked into this Ganga Meniyo’s adobe grinning from both the ears.,

  • 1

    Bandula J would do better stop thinking! Hemantha W has been an ardent lover of cricket for longer than I care to remember. Is it only the self-claimed pundits who are licensed to talk about cricket? As for his little bit of expertise of law, he is one of the leading PCs in the criminal bar with well over 50 years of practice!

  • 0

    Who said that we are not doing well in cricket. In tests we beat mighty Australia 3 nil and Pakistan 2 nil at home. A great feat. We are going through a bad patch in the short form of the game. We have the material as we see and will very soon they will show results. If our fast bowlers bowl out side the off stump and spinners study the face of the batsmen before delivery and learn some psychology we can do better.

    On the funny side of it players are allowed to rub the ball hard on their kits and polish and change the condition of the ball. They are allowed to rub their bowling arm on the pitch and gather dust to get a good grip of the ball but if they carry dust in their pockets they are penalished. It is the same with spit and sweat when applied on the ball will change the condition of the ball.

  • 0

    Jagath Abeynayaka,
    Hemantha W is not a leading Lawyer in the Criminal Bar. He has never gone anywhere beyond Magistrates Court of Colombo where he appears only in tragic cases. Of course he has a very bad mouth. Every time he opens his mouth it’s only filthy words.
    He can never make a legal submission. No women Clent would ever go to him. He makes improper suggestions.
    I agree that this government has many mistakes. But why is Hemantha shouting against the government after getting himself appointed as a commission member of the TRC? The answer is simple. His Son In Law Buddhika Pathirana has not being given a portfolio. That’s why he is very angry with Ranil.
    Does he ever appear in the Supreme Court. No never. Not even in the High Court.
    Why? He knows no law! Instead he thinks he is the Law.

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