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Sri Lanka is a country that has had its fair share of problems this year. An under-fire government is making global headlines for all the wrong reasons, including crushing debt problems and failing to protect workers’ rights. There hasn’t been much for residents and ex-pats to smile about recently, and it seems the national sport of cricket isn’t fairing too well, either.
It could be a massive year for the Sri Lankan cricket board ahead of the ICC World Cup. Prominent global gambling apps, including sports betting in Texas, have dismissed the team’s chances of winning the gong. It’s fair to say in-fighting, scandal, and protests haven’t helped their cause, but is there was a glimmer of light at the end of a very long tunnel this week?
Sri Lankan cricket hopes to bring order
Sri Lanka cricket chiefs were voted back into power, ending the lingering risk of the nation receiving a ban and other strong-hand punishments. Imposing a fine on the cricket board of Sri Lanka was the last thing officials wanted to do, and fans could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
What’s the story with the nation’s biggest, wealthiest, and most prominent sporting body? Does Sri Lanka have any chance of silencing their many doubters and becoming champions? The pool of problems facing Sri Lankan cricket is deeper than many know.
Board finally reached a decision
After months of bickering and seemingly doing its best to discredit the good name of Sri Lankan cricket, officials finally agreed. Under increasing pressure from outside sources, the Sports Minister squashed regulations on problematic term times for administrators.
The debate had created a fracture at the boardroom level that spilled over and caught the attention of the sport’s most significant countries. The stand-down and cooling of frustrations allowed the Sri Lankan cricket board to re-elect office members, a compromise allowing everyone concerned to build a stronger future and crack at winning the World Cup.
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All is not as it seems
This deal is one of peace and unity, but all is not as it seems behind the scenes, with sports fans fearing more controversy to come. Sri Lankan cricket isn’t out of the woods yet. Not even close. And it won’t be until the removal of all political influence from the sports body.
That’s easier said than done in the current climate, but damaging Sri Lanka’s best-loved and most unifying sport would do little to mend fractions in the country. All concerned must be cautious as they are under the watchful eye of the International Cricket Council.
The ICC isn’t easily intimidated or swayed and will only withdraw once a conclusion suits all parties. Sri Lanka’s political power struggle or financial troubles shouldn’t impact professional sports, and it’s the job of the ICC to protect the team and its other members with the full power of international law.
Sri Lanka’s recent form
On the field of play, Sri Lanka has left its troubles in the locker room and pushed ahead with plans to compete at the World Cup. They moved closer with a critical win over Ireland in a One Day International Series last weekend.
Sri Lanka defeated Ireland by an innings and ten runs as the victors flexed their muscles. Experts and pundits predicted a challenging game against the Irish and one that could provide sports fans with an upset. Still, the favorites came good under pressure, demonstrating their passion for cricket above all else.
Ireland posted a disappointing score of 492 all out and 202 all out, and, as you’d expect, Sri Lanka blew those numbers out of the water. The winners totted 704-3 dec to get the result and provide a timely and much-needed boost for team morale.
ICC World Cup info
The 2023 ICC World Cup is in India, with games between the opener on Thursday, 5th October, and the decisive match on Sunday, 19th November.
Experts are confident Sri Lanka won’t feature at the business end of the play, choosing India as their most likely winner. The host nation appears to hold all the aces but will be pushed hard by a resurgent England team that won its first title last time.