Officials of the financially-struggling Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have made another colossal blunder by failing to insure the heavily rain-affected current tour of Sri Lanka by the New Zealand team, sources told “Daily Mirror”.
That has been an extremely dangerous gamble amidst the current stormy weather caused by monsoons and cyclones and could have cost millions of Rupees which SLC can ill afford, an insider said yesterday.
SLC Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said he is not aware of the issue while SLC Chief Executive Ajit Jayasekara said they have insured the series.
“Of course we have insured the series” said Jayasekara and claimed it was with “Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka (MBSL)”.
However sources said that the current series has not been covered by any insurance firm and cautioned that could be a costly mistake.
The Only T20 International at Pallekele with which the tour was kicked off was washed out. All five One Day Internationals which followed were affected by rain while the fifth and final match finished without a result due to rain at Hambantota.
The first ODI of the series was washed out without a ball being bowled.
The second and third ODIs of the series which were to be played at Premadasa Stadium in Colombo had to be moved to Pallekele in Kandy due to an unfit ground caused by heavy rains.
The Duckworth and Lewis rain rule decided the fate of the other three ODIs which Sri Lanka won.
Usually the host board takes insurance for the matches to meet the heavy losses that would be caused by a cancellation.
These insurance covers had been always been the subject of controversy in the past as various allegations surfaced from time to time over the huge premiums involving millions of Rupees and also the huge commissions that were allegedly made.
In 2008, the then Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge cancelled a tender for tour of Sri Lanka by India following accusations by Sri Lanka Insurance that proper procedures had not been followed by SLC. Minister appointed a tender board to evaluate bids and later issued a ruling that all SLC insurance had to be carried out only by state-owned insurance firms.
This has obviously limited the choice of SLC and their position had further worsened when Sri Lanka Insurance refused to insure the current New Zealand series.
Sri Lanka Insurance had informed SLC that they cannot undertake the deal as the overseas company which acts as their re-insurer had rejected the cover after studying the weather patterns of Sri Lanka through complex satellite data they had received from international agencies.
MBSL which is largely owned by state bank Bank of Ceylon, has initially agreed to undertake the cover and submitted their quotation but had later withdrawn their offer just a few days before the tour started.
This has stumped the SLC as they had no other options to turn to. Sources said, SLC is now considering taking legal action against MBSL.
Last year, the World Cup events in Sri Lanka had been insured for more than Rs five billion (US $ 45 million) by SLC, which gives an indication as to how important the insurance cover for a cricket series is. (Channaka de Silva)