By Marlon Dale Ferreira –
The Annual General Meeting of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board has always had cricket enthusiasts following the progress of this all important election, as historically the days leading up to the vote has been nothing short of pure entertainment and drama.
This time around the pre-election work has kicked off where three potential candidates Jayantha Dharmadasa, Nishantha Ranatunga and Thilanga Sumathipala have made no bones about their intentions to contest for this post.
But don’t be surprised, if as per information received a fourth candidate and none another than the current Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation, and the former national skipper Arjuna Ranatunga our ‘Captain Cool” may be lurking in the background and may submit his nomination at the last minute.
This strategic move is now considered in what will be the attempt of the big brother protecting his small brother in the play ground and supporting the little fellow’s existence at SLC in the eventuality of him experiencing signs of been voted out closer to the day.
Nishantha Ranatunga the current Secretary of SLC has started dreaming bigger dreams of occupying the seat of present President Jayantha Dharmadasa‘s and will attempt to open batting to securely perch himself at the top whilst carrying his bat throughout the innings of this election.
The Minister of Sports Navin Dissanayake is expected to be in for a jolly good time and is expected to be bound to have his plate full. If by now he does not know the steps of the ‘fox trot’ or the ‘tango’ he better enlist himself for some dancing classes soon, as this election is bound to make him devil dance as the 144 voters get ready for the big day.
However, Minister Dissanayake made no bones about his displeasure in one candidate already, as he shared the alleged story of how the ‘Ranatunga Brothers’ had a secret meeting with the country’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe on social media.
Nishantha Ranatunga vehemently and categorically denied when Colombo Telegraph spoke to him that this meeting ever did take place as to did Arjuna Rantunga to another reliable source.
Going by vibes at present it appears that a merge between two candidates to knock the third off will in all probability swing the vote in each others’ favour. Even if Captain Cool enters the ring at the last minute, it appears that the predicted combination may hold a lot of weight due to his involvement with his younger sibling and the set backs SLC & the employees encountered during his last tenure as interim Chairman.
Jayantha and Thilanga? Nishantha and Arjuna? or Jayantha, Thilanga or Nishantha alone?
Now whichever it may be it is going to be very interesting. But if in all honesty they decide to contest individually we are then bound to find out the answers of whatever sinister campaigns they would have planned and plotted to outweigh each other n due course.
In all honesty I am sure whoever pulls it off would occupy the seat eventually with a cynical smile.
We will focus on the contestants as we get closer to the big day but for starters we will commence with Nishantha Ranatunga.
Sri Lanka Cricket Secretary Ranatunga at present is been scrutinized to the full as it is chrystal clear that he was the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa‘s main man at SLC. But leaving politics aside he is a businessman first and a damn good one at that too. Even though he may be accused of many business malpractices with whatever deal he may be involved in, be assured he is one who has covered his tracks most beautifully. Even the JVP led Bribery & Corruption probe is going to have a tough time sifting through wards of documents in their attempt to pin anything on him.
If it was not the funding of the Carlton Sports Network using Sri Lanka Cricket Boards Funds for the Rajapaksa first sons or his close association with BCCI Chief Srinivasan there are a plethora of others linked to a shady deal or two.
In all honesty one should be informed to brace themselves and not lash out too soon as he at the moment is innocent until proven guilty. Some quarters confirm that he will eventually come out unscathed and smelling of roses as he has got what it takes to pull it off like hitting a last ball six to win the day.
If that happens and he gets away scot free, then many others will jump on the band wagon and accuse his big brother for protecting him whilst compromising the 100 day pre-election promise of the current government in control.
In actuality it appears to be a wise move indeed to have as many siblings infiltrate as many political parties as possible, as at the end of the day it may be the big brother protecting the older brother or vice versa.
The latest incident that may nevertheless pressure Nishantha Rantunga will be the freshly dug up 2010 Indian Cricket Tour to Sri Lanka where officials present at Dambulla have now come up with CCTV footage and documentary evidence to prove that Ranatunga hushed this entire incident due to his close friendship and ties with BBCI Chief Srinivasan.
“The Anti Corruption Unit of the ICC has closed the Dambulla incident where it has been proved that a female with links to book makers had entered the room of Indian cricketer Suresh Raina and according to CCTV footage had only left the following morning” claimed a Sri Lankan official who also stayed then at the hotel.
These details are bound to be exposed closer to the day of the elections and rest assured it wont be pleasant for the Secretary SLC with the elcetions looming.
Many in the current cricketing set up here in Colombo have started asking some valid questions pertaining to Nishantha Ranatunga’s involvement and many dubious affairs at SLC from the time he held on to Secretary’s position from 2009 to date. Firstly under D. S De Silva then Upali Dharmadasa & now Jayantha’s Dharmadasa’s presidency’s respectively.
If a person is directly responsible for making an establishment bankrupt or had more than a hand in doing so would the person be eligible to run for the Presidency or in this case the affairs of the cricket board when it remains in the ‘red’ & almost near bankruptcy?
Is this person running for Presidency for the betterment of the cricket board or for his own intentions and purposes? Is it simply logical one simply wonders?
Well these are few common questions been asked by many at present and with the current state of affairs of SLC their questions are all very valid.
Some on the other hand have voiced that Nishantha Rantunga should never contest this elections as at present he is been severely probed and going by the long list of allegations he should step aside and not come forth.
The Secretary SLC still holding office has also been in question as many to date question the controversial building of the cricket stadium at Sooriyawewa and non payment to date to suppliers such as the Ports Authority and the State Engineering Corporation for their services rendered. Others have raised a different set of questions on Nishatha Ranatunga’s involvement with Somerset Singapore, a company formed few days before the controversial tender regarding the SLPL T20 tournament and his involvement in awarding the controversial local TV rights deal to CSN when he held both the posts of Secretary SLC and CEO of the Television Station. He is also tainted with being involved in fixing many Management positions for friends and associates at SLC and continues to wield powers regarding national team selections which has had an overall negative impact on players.
But for some reason or the other it is also made known that the Secretary of SLC cannot make any decisions on his own and has always had the blessings of the Executive Committee and the minuted evidence speaks for itself.
But now this is a different ball game at cricket’s abode and one match worth watching from the sidelines.
Wonder what bookie owner and contestant Thilanga Sumathipala’s betting odds are for this contest?
Await more news on the other contestants too!