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Lights going out for Sri Lanka cricket

With each passing day little does the Sports Minister realise that Sri Lanka is losing a golden opportunity of hosting the next ICC Champions trophy and possibly the 2011 ICC World Cup by delaying the appointment of a new interim committee to administer Sri Lanka Cricket.

It is more than two months since the Minister dissolved the interim committee headed by former captain Arjuna Ranatunga and appointed his personal secretary S Liyanagama to oversee the administration of Sri Lanka Cricket until such time an interim body was put in place.

We have been reminding the Minister that it is high time he got his act together and appointed a suitable interim committee to see to the day to day affairs of Sri Lanka Cricket. Why he has been silent on this burning issue is rather strange. The longer he delays the more chance of Sri Lanka becoming exposed as the laughing stock in the eyes of the entire cricket world. If what the international governing body for cricket, the International Cricket Council (ICC) in Dubai, thinks about the Ministry appointed officials for the recent ICC World Cup organising committee meetings is right, then the chances of Sri Lanka hosting the Champions trophy later this year could be considered rather slim.

Ministry appointees S Liyanagama who is the competent authority appointed to overlook Sri Lanka Cricket and lawyer Navin Marapana have made such an ineffective impression at the ICC World Cup organising committee meetings that some officials of the ICC hierarchy have expressed their personal disappointment to certain Sri Lankan match officials. The Ministry representatives have hardly brought anything worthwhile to the table where Sri Lanka as one of the four main World Cup hosts is expected to play a big role in the successful organisation of this global event that takes place only once in four years and, which the entire cricketing world looks forward to with great anticipation. But with incompetent officials handling Sri Lankan affairs the ICC it is learnt are rather worried whether Sri Lanka is capable of successfully hosting even the pre-runner to the World Cup – the ICC Champions trophy which they have been made as the alternate venue as the political climate in Pakistan is presently not suitable to host it.

Without a proper cricket administration in place it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the ICC starts to treat Sri Lanka like Zimbabwe whose cricket administration has sunk to its lowest level because of a dictatorial government.
Further, Sri Lanka Cricket is running into big debt as several unsigned cheques running into millions of rupees are lying around with no competent persons to sign them. There have been instances of cheques signed by only one person instead of the usual two being handed to provincial teams as per diem and those cheques being returned as it had no proper authorisation. All development work has come to a standstill and there are no properly organised tours for the Sri Lanka ‘A’ and under 19 teams.

If the Minister thinks that Sri Lanka Cricket is running smoothly today he is sadly mistaken. It is prudent now that he appoints an interim committee as soon as possible. It is rather surprising why the Minister can’t realise the damage he is doing to Sri Lanka cricket because of his short-sighted policies. Distributing cricket gear to schools is not going to develop Sri Lanka’s cricket image internationally nor develop our cricket at home. Just because the national team performs brilliantly one cannot assume that every thing is tickety-boo with Sri Lanka cricket. It is far from that.