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5-member committee appointed to oversee SLC overhaul


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By Madushka Balasuriya

Sri Lanka’s Sports Ministry has appointed a five-member committee comprising former Sri Lankan captains Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Aravinda de Silva and Anura Tennakoon, to rehabilitate Sri Lanka Cricket.

The committee, which is being headed by former Sri Lanka Cricket President Hemaka Amarasuriya, however is playing its cards close to its chest. The only issue they officially acknowledged as having been discussed was Sri Lanka’s poor recent injury record. 

Sri Lanka has suffered a spate of injuries to key players in recent years, and while SLC has pulled out several stops to get on top of the issue - even going so far as to bring in the expertise of a podiatrist to make custom orthodontic footwear for the players - the committee believes the matter warrants closer inspection.

“One issue to look at in the short term is the frequency of injuries. Whenever we have a good run of form we get injuries to key players, and we need to look at the research and try and gain a better understanding of why this is happening and how we can better handle it,” said De Silva.

Apart from that it can be presumed, given Jayawardene’s presence, that the committee will also push for a revamp of Sri Lanka’s domestic cricket structure. Jayawardene has been a vocal critic of Sri Lanka’s present domestic system and even had one restructuring plan rebuffed by the incumbent board in 2015. Having worked on that plan for months, only to see it unceremoniously shelved, Jayawardene and his fellow committee members are wary of the present board’s propensity to dispense with outside counsel. 

“We are not part of Sri Lanka Cricket, it’s up to them to implement these plans and we hope they do, because if not all these meetings would just be a waste of time,” said Jayawardene.

As such it was made clear that while they would formulate long-term plans to stabilise their short-term solutions, they would only pursue them in any greater capacity once it was clear that SLC were serious about reform. “I’m willing to put in one final effort to help cricket in the country, but it’s up to the board to make it happen. We can’t just keep coming back over and over again, as some sort of band-aid solution,” added Jayawardene.The signs though are there that the move might gain traction, as word from SLC is that a new domestic structure putting provincial cricket at the forefront - similar to that of Jayawardene’s original plan - is in the pipeline and is expected to be presented towards the end of the year. While it remains to be seen what other issues the committee will look to address, a key talking point in recent years has been the need for an overhaul of Sri Lanka Cricket’s bloated voting system, a move strongly advocated by Sidath Wettimuny during his stint as interim committee head. Wettimuny, incidentally, had also urged that Jayawardene and Sangakkara be brought into the SLC decision-making process.

As it stands, the committee says it will first focus on short-term fixes following assurances by Sri Lanka’s Sports Minister that their suggestions will be taken under serious consideration by SLC.

 


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