23 October, 2020

Blog

Sri Lanka Cricket – It’s Time For Action To Stop The “Rot”

By Gamini Jayaweera

Gamini Jayaweera

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is still going through a phase of rebuilding a cricket team to an international standard following the retirement of few world class players from the game more than two years ago. Loosing experienced top-quality players is not a new thing. Every country in the cricketing world has experienced this situation in the past, some countries are experiencing it now, and many other countries will face the same situation in the future. This is a natural process and the officials in the authorities should devise strategies to minimise the impact of losing talented senior players due to retirements. Forward thinking countries have put in place strategies to nurture talented youngsters to take over the positions vacated by the seniors to minimise the negative impact.

It seems like the SLC has had no visionary leaders in the recent past to foresee the situation. The previous administration miserably failed in planning, organising and implementing a structured long-term plan to resolve the inevitable exposed position of the national team. That is the reality but I do not want to harp on about the past. It is a big challenge for the newly appointed officials in the SLC as it needs to develop an unobstructed Vision, achievable realistic timely Objectives, and Strategies to address the critical issues in question.    

Senior Players

After losing world class cricketers like Sangha, Mahela, and Dilshan just over two years ago the SLC team was left with only three internationally renowned and experienced talented cricketers to carry the young players in to the international arena. Angelo Matthews, Lasith Malinga, and Dinesh Chandimal are the three players who have taken the responsibility to carry out this enormously challenging task. Matthews is 29 years old and Chandimal is 27 years old. Matthews is a world-class allrounder respected by the entire cricketing world whereas highly talented Chandimal has very impressive batting averages in Tests and ODIs in his relatively young career.

33 Years old, experienced world class bowler Lasith Malinga joined the team during recently concluded World Championship competition in England after one year without playing cricket due to injuries sustained during his lengthy cricketing career. Few other experienced cricketers like Upul Tharanga (out of the squad in the past for lengthy periods) and Nuwan Kulasekara who served the country well in the past, appears to have lost his effectiveness during the last two years, have been included in the squad.   

Shortcomings

The new administration should have carried out a situation analysis to understand the short comings of the national team as soon as they were elected about 1½ years ago. But instead of focusing their energy in developing short and long term plans to address the problems, the recent events in the SLC indicate that it is in disarray due to many reasons such as Undermining the authority of well-respected Head Coach forcing him to resign his post, Lack of strong leadership to give clear direction to the players hence creating chaos in the dressing room and uncertainty among players, Backward-looking team selections, Unacceptable behaviour by the influential members of the selection and coaching staff resulting demotivated players, Insulting talented cricketers publicly for the failure to win a match are some of the demoralising incidents which have taken place recently among other things.   

Since Sri Lanka beat the mighty Australians 3-nil in August 2016, the young talented players who had performed well to win the series had been in and out of the team for reasons known only to the members of the selection committee. The talented youngsters were denied more exposure at international level to gain experience in different conditions due to the short-sighted selection policy. May be the other players who have been drafted in to the side are not performing to their potential due to the fear of losing their place in the side.

After the defeat in the Champions League in England, Sri Lanka had been beaten by Bangladesh and Zimbabwe on home soil for the first time in Sri Lanka’s cricketing history. Though some selectors have blamed the players for these defeats there are other factors which could be identified in the selection and management of our national cricket team.

Captaincy, Poor fielding, Careless shot selections, Irrational bowling, and Lack of effort, energy, and enthusiasm on the field have been identified by the administration as the main factors for our defeats. The players are not wholly to blame for these short comings. It appears that the confidence of the talented young cricketers as well as the experienced cricketers have been destroyed by dropping them from the side as soon as they fail in one or two matches. Majority of the players did not know whether they were in or out due to irrational team selections.

It appears that the Selectors, Coaching Staff, and other responsible people in the SLC have failed to manage and motivate the players. Demotivation could create negative emotions in the players’ mind such as uncertainty, sadness, panic, unnecessary pressure, confusion, feeling guilty, anxiety, and hindrance to mental preparation. All these negative emotions will impact the players’ performance levels.

It is my view that the so called “experts”, administrators of the SLC, the Selectors, and the players to a lesser extent are directly responsible for the mediocre performance by our cricketers since the new administration came to power about 1½ years ago. 

It is time for the leadership of the SLC to examine whether SLC has got Skilful Administrators, Competent Coaches, Knowledgeable Selectors, Experienced Mind Setters, and Effective Motivators to nurture and motivate our talented cricketers to successfully compete at the highest level of international cricket.

Interference

The SLC had number of managers during the Champions Trophy and they interfered and undermined the authority of the well-respected SLC Head Coach Mr. Graham Ford. No one knew the remits of these managers and they were giving mixed messages to the players. As usual, these managers are still involved in activities beyond their remits and it appears that they are undermining the job role of the current acting Head Coach and others. It is common-sense that when too many people are involved in trying to manage the same activity it is recipe for disaster. It reminds me the famous proverb “Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth”. This is exactly what has happened to SLC in recent events. 

Chairman of Selectors

Mr. Sanath Jayasuriya, internationally renowned as “Master Blaster” was one of the finest, powerful, and hard-hitting batsmen world had ever seen and he was a match winning all-round performer. There is no question about his record and he is being respected by cricket lovers all over the world.

But his ability to perform as the Chairman of Selectors in the SLC is questionable for number of reasons. Selection of Captains, Selection of players who have expired their “sell by date”, Omission of talented young cricketers, Selection of more than 45 cricketers to play for Sri Lanka within a very short-period of time, Interfering in other disciplines which are not part of his remit, and insulting players in public are notable errors of judgement that have been made by the Chairman of Selectors. Being a top-class cricketer is one thing but man management is a different ball game altogether

Emotional Intelligence

It is widely accepted that the capacity for recognising our own feelings and those of others is a very important factor for motivating ourselves and others. I suggest that all our sports administrators should carry out self-assessments to find out their weaknesses when it comes to motivating others. Building relationships with the players by the coaches and administrators are vital for best possible preparation and superior performance.

No one should humiliate talented sportsmen and sportswomen because every human being is entitled to receive respect and dignity. It applies to the cricketers too. The responsible senior members in the SLC should be using their leadership qualities to motivate the players when they are going through a bad patch rather than humiliating them in public. Motivation in sports is a very important factor for superior performance.

It appears that most of the senior members of the SLC have made slow progress on certain aspects of their Emotional Intelligence dimensions such as Motivation, Interpersonal Sensitivity, and Influence. According to Goleman (1998), Emotional Intelligence becomes more important when one goes higher up the organisation. It is important that the top administrators in the SLC develop certain aspects of their behaviours towards the players to ensure that they strike the balance between situation and task with the needs and concerns of the team members involved.

Interim Committee or Not?

Sports bodies are independent organizations which are run by officials who have been appointed through the ballot box by their membership for a period as stated in their constitutions. Some well-known past cricketers are raising their voices to appoint an interim committee to administer the SLC. It is true to say that majority of Sri Lankans do not agree with the way in which most of our sports institutions are carrying out their responsibilities by various officials elected by the membership of these institutions. But it is also fair to say that on principle majority of Sri Lankans do not agree with the Interim Committees appointed by the Minister to administer these institutions because it is a violation of independence of these institutions. Interim committees are not the solution to the problem. If the Hon. Minister appoints an interim committee to administer the SLC, we will tarnish our cricketing image in the cricketing world and may end up as “Losers” in the international sporting arena.

The honorable thing that can be done by the members of the present administration who are responsible for the “rot” is to resign over the mediocre performance exhibited by the SLC during the last 1½ years. It is entirely up to the individual officers in the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka to decide according to their conscious.

Past cricketers and politicians have no authority to demand that the democratically elected members of the SLC should be sacked. It is time for them to accept the reality and move on. Both factions in the SLC must grow up and work together to improve the circumstances to identify and implement essential changes which are necessary in bringing renewed vitality to the SLC. 

The other proposal highlighted by some past cricketers is to change the constitution to reduce the number of representatives who are eligible to vote from over 100 to less than 50. I believe that majority of the cricket lovers in Sri Lanka will endorse this proposal because it may eradicate alleged corruption, irregularities, and divisions in the SLC. I appeal to the leadership of the SLC to take a bold step to implement this proposal for the sake of protecting the integrity and independence of the institution. I wonder whether the Hon. Minister of Sports can influence the leadership of the SLC to amend the constitution to reduce the number of representatives for the benefit of the SLC.      

Conclusion

I appeal to the Hon. Minister of Sports, and the top administrators in the SLC not to destroy the confidence of our experienced and young talented cricketers who have served the Sri Lanka Cricket very well in the past at international level with all the above short comings. I Hope that the responsible personnel involved in SLC will treat all players, experienced or inexperienced with dignity and respect for their contribution without humiliating them in public when we lose a cricket match for poor fielding, batting, or bowling.

As Emily Kimbrough said “Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.” It is also essential that SLC will select the cricketers based on their merit to the national team. The SLC should abandon the narrow-minded policies such as egoism, favouritism, criticism, interference, condemnation, and regularly chopping and changing talented cricketers for instant success. Enough is Enough! It’s time for action to stop the “Rot”.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 4
    4

    Dear Gamini Jyaweera
    Iam not surprised the there are still city dwellers who has this nostalgia for the colonial game called cricket, restricted to less than 10 percent of the population at large.
    It is a game no body else other than British and their subjugates embraced.. It would never have become a popular sport on England if not for British colonises they ruled. It has not spread to any other country on earth. industrialised
    Cricket is a dying game. No other team game is played for 5 days. If this country is to forge ahead as a modern technologically advanced country we should remove that last vestige of colonialism called cricket from the face of this country.
    Let us promote sports which every one from town to village , boys and girls can engage in. let every one develop his/her full potential through the vast number of sports that abound.
    Even in its birthplace cricket is a dying game.
    But our tie and collar Kolombians want to have one foot in 21st century and the other in the British colonial past

    • 3
      1

      Sri lanka can not play games that are played on Ice. The reason is obvious. I heard, some one in the govt wants to build a FROZEN house. The reason is some americans want to introducer ICe _Hockey to Sri lanka. thin about the resources wasted as We don’t have other games on our. own. Hw about Soccer or Football. does that need so much resources to play ?. Everything is politicized. So businesses use the opportunity.

      • 0
        0

        A sensible comment, Jimsofty.

        Try to ensure that all your comments stay like that.

    • 1
      0

      The comments made by Sonnadara are so valid.

      Test cricket only matters to the British and their Australian Dominion where they perpetuate a long standing ritual ‘enmity’ in the guise of the Ashes.. It is the only game I know of where they break for meals; lunch and tea. It is a luxury for an old colony like Sri Lanka to indulge in this game. It would be far better to invest our resources and efforts in less expense involving games like football.

      Mind you, the problems remain, whether football or cricket. In football, an official has buggered-off with 20 mill, and they are now under watch. Cricket administration has for long been cursed by the actions of some dubious characters attracted to the honey pot that delivers cash and kudos. The Sports Minister is a joke. The contenders for ‘leadership’ have bastardised the so called ‘democratic’ elections process, and the ICC doesn’t see the irony of us having a bookie influencing the game here and abroad too. These are strange times. Time to find better alternatives.

    • 0
      0

      Dear All,
      Please accept my apologies for a typo in the article.
      The sentence “………to decide according to their conscious.” should be corrected as “…….to decide according to their conscience.”

      • 2
        0

        No worries Gamini, great article and I am sure not many would have noticed though. I like your part on Emotional Intelligence, which as a nation most Sri Lankans lack.

  • 5
    0

    It is time for both Thilanga and the gang from administration and also Sanath and the gang from selections to step down. They simply cannot go on any more if they have any self respect. Not sure whether they have any self respect !!

    Complete shake up required at all levels and hope we don’t come up with temp solutions to simply stay in power.

    Hope all politicians including Thilanga and Arjuna are kept out. Also all the leeches hanging around at Cricket Board should be kicked out.

    Some changes even to the adminstration lead by Ashley De Silva may be required.

    Hope they carry out a root cause analysis quickly and respond.

    Our qualification for next World Cup is at stake!!

  • 8
    1

    Have you just woken up from your sleep? The time for action on Sri Lank Cricket was
    long gone. Today it is beyond redemption like everything else in this Country. it is one big dung hill. The more you dig in ,the bigger the stench, and the vermin just cling onto their positions and create a bigger noise, and a bigger stink. People who tried to pull the cricket morass from the depths it had sunk into almost got sucked into it, and had to quickly jump out. No names are mentioned, but IF you have been following cricket you must know the names !
    Say goodbye to this game insofar as SL IS CONCERNED.

  • 1
    0

    get rid of the minister.He does not know anything about cricket.must have played elle in kurunegala.

  • 3
    0

    Cricket should be managed by a private body and not the politicians. Why a businessman politician is running that ?. Sri lankan politicians are notorious for using the position to get fattened their bank accounts. The other problem is if it is handed over to civilians, then it will be handed over to party affiliates and with lot of concessions. The best example was AVANT GARDE which was privatised and made a cash cow for politicians’ bank accounts. If a non-political agency is looking after it, if theree are govt people to monitor it’s management, if politicians are kepr hands aways distance, then it would work.

  • 1
    0

    Teams have their ups and downs. Lankan cricket is in one the lows but the talent is there and Lankan cricket will ascend again in the near future.
    Lankan cricket has got politicised and the team administration has become a much sought after job – not because of love of the sports but to enjoy the perks that along with it.
    One can feel that the player morale is low and so are the morale of coaches etc. The Minister of Sports recently blamed the players for not being sports fit!
    For a start SLC may appoint an impartial person to interview the players and coaches in strict confidence and address their grievances.
    The quarrel between Arujuna and the present owner of SLC is ugly.

    • 2
      1

      Arjuna Ranatunga’s only claim to fame is Captaincy of the Sri Lankan team in the World Cup championship victory over 20 years ago. His contribution to this achievement pale against that of Arvinda, Mulathitharan, Jayasuriya.
      One must remember that he was previously sacked from captaincy for a while on charges of nepotism. The megalomaniac, that he is, was desperate for attention and influence. He entered politics. Only academic qualification is O’level. He fell out with all political leaders. Then, if one may recall, he joined the newly formed Jathika Hel a Urumaya . He appeared in the national dress and vowed to fight for the rights of Sinhala Buddhists as a leading member of this newly formed political party.To be
      continued …

  • 0
    0

    In every game, there are ups and down. PEople can not work 100% every time. Players should be allowed to go throughthat phase. If they get accustomed to that. they should be laid off temporarily until they recover, if not to retire.

  • 1
    0

    lets prop up Sri Lanka cricket by bringing Bookies directly into play while we can.
    We can win some and loose some by buying up every one.

    Like the Pay Masters of INGOs n NGOs dictating the agenda,
    Bookies too then will be able to dictate the outcome of a game.

    Lets halt the flop while the bookie man is at the top and also having Prez’s blessing having walked in through the backdoor to parliament..

    ALL CAN BE WINNERS.

  • 0
    0

    How many coaches we have had?Doesn’t that tell you something is wrong with the management.

  • 1
    1

    Bangladesh doesn’t have Royal College or St.Thomas..and they have Australia on the rope…
    the problem with Sri Lanka cricket and politics and economy is Royalist and Thomians whose English vocabulary is limited pater bugger machan an mater bugger machan …even Gothabaya have acknowledged the intelligence of the Tamil Tigers….there are many Tamil Cricketers out their like Malinga ….Sri Lanka is in a flux

    • 0
      0

      Rajash

      “.there are many Tamil Cricketers out their like Malinga “

      You are right.Some time ago i noticed some tamil talent when sampu hit a peach of a cover drive in happier times,but problem with sampu is like arjuna he can’t run and gets his partners frequently run out.Sampu is also a bit weak against the ball that comes in straight without turn as expected and traps him LBW.Other than that he reminds me of that maestro ravi sathasivam who could survive on any type of pitches,the bouncy ones as well as the placid ones.

      http://ww1.prweb.com/prfiles/2014/12/30/12418816/Praba_sampanthar.jpg

      • 0
        0

        rajhash what do you think of that guy in the background wearing sunglasses.Can he be trained up to replace malinga?Andy roberts was a wood cutter when they trained himup to become a fast bowler.

  • 2
    0

    I think the problem is with sanath jayasuria…he think managing cricket team is like instent noodles …or another t20… we need a latter thinking cricket chairman..

  • 2
    1

    No worries Gamini, great article and I am sure not many would have noticed though. I like your part on Emotional Intelligence, which as a nation most Sri Lankans lack.

  • 2
    0

    Please re-appoint the well respected head coach Graham Ford.If we are to see any success in the matches.At present there is nobody to guide the young cricketers on the right path.

  • 0
    0

    Too many of our cricketers are getting injured.I think it is the workload. A competent coach like ford should be reappointed and specially tasked to oversee injury management.The players should be rested once in a way to recoup their lost energy.Even mathews now seems to be suffering burnout.

  • 0
    0

    arjuna has asked siri and ranil to remove tilanga but dayasiri has said earlier that nothing wrong with thilanga. If dayasiri can’t see a problem with the management of our cricket he must be first removed from his post.The rot always starts at the top and the minister is the right man for the wrong job.His talents such as organisational skills and interpersonal skills should be utilised elsewhere instead of ruining our cricket by giving him a job which iam sure he would have been surprised too to get.

  • 0
    0

    We are now reaping what Mahinda Rajapaksa sow in the field of cricket by making SLC go bankrupt when he took Rs. six billion from SLC to put up a cricket stadium in his god forsaken Suriyawewa, when we had another six or seven international level cricket grounds. In order to achieve that goal he got NIshantha Ranatunga and D S De Silva. Beacause of leeches like DS De Silva we lost Haturusinghe, a world class coach. That’s how we lost to Bangladesh. If those monies were in tact with SLC , we would have trained more batters, more bowlers and more fielders capable of fielding 3 or more teams. Today, SLC is bankrupt without sufficient funds for training etc. SLC could have gone in search of talent to North and East. We certainly could have unearthed many Muralitharans if that money which MR robbed was available. Cultivating relationships would have definitely paved the way to move forward in the reconciliation process.

  • 0
    0

    how much did kapugedera get to throw the match?And who are the others who shared it with him.

    These are the questions the angry fans who threw bottles want an answer to.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.