Friday, 27 March 2015 00:00
By Leonard Ratnayake
Sri Lanka Cricket is in disarray; not because we failed to qualify for the third consecutive World Cup Final, but because we were unable to convert individual brilliance into team success. Indeed Sri Lanka had got the best of the cricketing talent to win a world cup in its first-send squad to the tournament; in the lately joined players and some others at home that were overlooked for unknown reasons.
So what didn’t have to face this debacle? A pre-world cup tour against New Zealand was in vain due to poor preparation tactics and squad selections, a proper think tank, a good vision, team-makers and match winners. To sum up, Sri Lanka Cricket as a whole failed to bring all these factors together and sharpen its forces to face a world cup.
For sure, if taught well, every Sri Lankan would speak English, although not perfectly. Likewise, Sri Lanka has got enough and more cricketing talent coming up from the grassroots levels. Managed well, these talents could be groomed to become cricketing brilliance. Winning the World Cup 19 years ago itself was able to spread the syndrome of cricket into every individual in Sri Lanka. It is now a passion, pastime and some call it a religion. Hence, undoubtedly we have plenty of young cricketers budding up to become sufficient talent to represent their country at international level.
At present, what we lack in Sri Lanka Cricket is a good management with a stable administration; in short, managers and administrators to develop country’s cricket into an international force. It’s not always the popularity as a cricketer that makes you a good manager or an administrator.
To be direct, the Chairman of selectors, Sanath Jayasuriya was largely responsible and made a number of blunders for the loss of the country’s cricketing glory at its best tournament. Together with a bunch of local coaches and an almost invisible Team Manager, Jayasuriya failed to select a squad that would have built up a team performance at a world cup tournament. Shame on you, who say that we were injury-stricken, because every injured played was replaced with a contradictory role of a player.
Maybe, we should be happy to have achieved what was expected at the World Cup; the retirement of two cricketing greats of Sri Lanka. Mahela Jayawardene was able to drag it until the World Cup even with a bad run with his bat, while Kumar Sangakkara, although reaching an important peak in his career did not hesitate to call it a day.
Unfortunately, the bidding farewell to this duo was much bigger than our campaign to turn the runners-up position to cricket’s World Champions overshadowing the possibility to bring the second World Cup home. Was it because the two great cricketing professionals had already become idols or legends just in their playing days? Has the game of cricket become smaller than its actual players?
Awkwardly, Sri Lanka needs an iron man on top who can cane and tame these big names playing the game of cricket, if it’s to develop the country’s most loved sport internationally. Conclusively, Sri Lanka Cricket is hoping to elect its most suitable person for this task with the mandate of its affiliates in the pre-claimed most democratic cricket polls to be held at the end of April. But whether the Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake keep to his word is yet to be seen as there is pressure mounting to appoint an Interim Committee thus taking the sport from bad to worse.