The Council for Business with Britain (CBB) organised a luncheon meeting with Ranjan Madugalle recently at the Hilton Colombo Residence.
The event attracted quite a number of cricket lovers from a vast spectrum of businesses in the country and Madugalle’s speech stimulated interest among those attending, which led to a very interactive and an interesting session.
Commencing his speech, Madugalle highlighted the significant changes to the sport since its inception, evolving from a leisure sport to a billion dollar industry today. Like many other sports cricket has been positioned in the entertainment industry applying many changes to cater to the different segments of the market. As such the initial five day game has taken in many changes including T20, ODI, etc., not by accident but by conceptualising; for the survival of the game as well as developing the business aspect of it.
Madugalle also spoke about the contribution from the subcontinent to cricket being 70% in total in terms of income and sponsorships. Tremendous increase in interest for woman’s cricket was also highly complemented.
He further stressed on the ICC’s involvement in standardisation and playing conditions, ensuring the uniformity of the game, improvement and use of technology and a few debatable aspects of increased use of technology in cricket, especially calling for third umpire’s decision, etc.
Concluding his brief speech, Madugalle mentioned the challenges facing the game with the increased interest, money, corruption, recognition and challenges faced by ICC as a result.
Madugalle has over 30 years’ experience in cricket both on the field and off. He represented Sri Lanka in the National Cricket Team from 1979-1989. With 21 Tests and 65 ODI appearances to his credit, Madugalle subsequently captained the national side from 1987-1989.
In 1984, Ranjan was nominated by the Daily Telegraph of London as one of the eight ‘Cricketers of the Year’. Later, in 1999, Jaycees International selected him as one of the ‘Top Ten Sri Lankans’ for his contribution to cricket and sports administration.
Through the appointment as a National Selector by the Minister of Sports in 1992 – a position he held right through to 1997 – Ranjan played a pivotal role in selecting Sri Lanka’s only World Cup winning team in 1996. Since his selection to the Panel of Match Referees in 1994, he currently holds the record for the highest number of appearances for international refereeing.