Thursday, 24th April 2014

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The best cure comes from the germ itself

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The scene was straight out of a James Bond movie it was as if the negotiators had just got off their vehicle and were now moving into the tables for discussions and it was all over TV news. The most interesting feature was what followed at the table where the entourage of the chief set themselves behind him in dark shades and all to meet the Director General of Sport, Ranjani Jayakody to hand over papers on his candidature for the position of President, Sri Lanka Cricket.

It was a full cast with the main actor Thilanga Sumathipala doing an Oscar-winning role in front of the TV cameras for the benefit of the voters who will elect the new cricket board. From what was seen and heard it only spelt the words one way and the words were ‘I am the man’ at least so it was what could be perceived. Thilanga said there was no way anyone could point fingers at him whether ICC or the laws of the country regarding his eligibility to hold the position of chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket.

The point can be well taken considering his eighteen years of experience in the arena and the work output during that period. But, one has to consider putting all that against the background of accusations brought and proven against him during the same period. But over all that, the one major factor running in his favour is his political connections.

There is an old movie title with a well known English quote that comes to mind at this moment “Set a Thief to Catch a Thief.” This is very appropriate and there was a hint of it flashing up when the aspirant to the title went on about his credentials and steadfastness to carry on his work only for the best interest of cricket and nothing else.

All this while cricket lovers have been waiting for the Messiah to come forth and clean up our cricket that had been desecrated by politicians since 1996 and we all wanted somebody to go back to the drawing board and design some new solution to drag cricket back to normalcy. We were fooled by all who came to clean cricket from political interference. Politicians threw out those who held top positions when they could not manipulate them and brought in those who would do their bidding.

This was not an easy mess to clean up and for some who were in the top seat of cricket the only way out was to go with the ‘gods’ and expect to survive their term even as an interim committee chairman. And the interim committee just meant nothing but yielding to the political will.Thilanga Sumathipala did things his way, which many opposed including the write, but what he did has to be appreciated because there has never been anything close to it happening thereafter. Some of his decisions like putting up the Dambulla Cricket Stadium to play matches during the monsoonal seasons have worked out shaming many who could not even think of such important matters leave aside getting it done.

If that same will could be brought forth to free cricket of politics at this moment it is only Thilanga who is powerful enough to go head on with the Sport Minister or work cordially with him and do the best for the upliftment of Sri Lankan cricket. On the other hand the Minister, who has always been talking of freeing cricket from the clutches of politics, will have a good man in Thilanga who could be entrusted to work for the good of the game and  bring much better results in cricket rather than the “yes sir, three bags full” men. But he and his committee have to be careful not to rock the boat or like some others try to feather their nest, because all eyes will be fully focused on Sri Lanka Cricket to see whether they are working in the best interests of the sport.            

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