There was a time when the budding cricketers of Sri Lanka looked upto India for learning the nuances of the game but former captain Arjuna Ranatunga feels this can no longer happen due to the advent of Twenty20.
"It's unfortunate that most youngsters only want to play the shorter version for financial gains. Let's be very clear that India won't have any more Sachin Tendulkar or a Sunil Gavaskar. You won't find the elegance of Tiger Pataudi," the World Cup winning Lankan captain told a select gathering after a seminar at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) on Sunday.
"It was a part of our learning process as youngsters to look upto Indian cricket. I don't think we can learn from India anymore," Ranatunga said when asked whether the rise of Twenty20 will lead to India playing lesser number of Test matches in the near future.
The 49-year-old, who played 93 Tests and 269 ODIs for his country, also seemed disappointed with the way Indian cricket board has functioned over the past few years.
"I think that BCCI should come under the Right To Information (RTI) act as they are not answerable to anyone, not even to their union sports ministry. That's why they do whatever they want. In Sri Lanka, at least we have the right to criticise Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) in parliament and get it corrected," Ranatunga stated.
He is not against politicians entering sports administration but feels technical decisions should be taken by cricketers in the board.
"Cricketing decisions should be limited to cricketers. That's the reason I feel insecure as a cricketer when I find that a player of (Dilip) Vengsarkar's stature loses to a politician. (Vengsarkar had lost the MCA polls to Vilasrao Deshmukh). In Sri Lanka Cricket, most of the administrators are appointed with blessings of president."
Ranatunga reiterated that he is yet to digest as to why the erstwhile Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara made four changes in the 2011 World Cup final against India in Mumbai which the island nation lost.
"Four changes in a final. I was surprised sitting in a TV studio alongside Kapil (Dev). I told the channel to cross-check if it's right. There were players who were outsiders as far as that squad is concerned.
"I don't know what happened as only the Sri Lankan captain could tell us about those changes. I still believe we should have won that final."
Someone who doesn't mince words, Ranatunga was very vocal about how SLC is not ready to handle the transition phase once veterans Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara call time on their career.
"When we (and Aravinda de Silva) were getting old, we introduced Sanath (Jayasuriya) as vice-captain. Also we had players like Marvan Atapattu, Russel Arnold with whom we persisted for a long time.
"You need to give players a long rope and not discard them after one or two failures. That's how you build a team," the cocky former skipper recollected.
As has been his philosophy regarding T20 cricket, Ranatunga is certainly not amused that Lasith Malinga decided to forego his Test career to prolong his future in limited overs and especially T20.
"If I start speaking about Malinga, I don't know where it will end. I believe that when he first expressed his desire to retire from Tests and play only ODIs and T20, the captain should have spoken to him.
"I believe there shouldn't be any 'exceptionally separate' cricketer in a group. In a team, all are equals. During our time, Aravinda (De Silva) was a world class player. But he was never treated differently from others," he said.
Ranatunga is also peeved that a lot of cricketers seek political interference to get their job done.
"The moment you try to take any action against errant cricketers, he invariably goes to a politician and the person who is trying to set things in order is then removed. I am glad that new chairman of selectors Sanath Jayasuriya has a long-term vision. Hopefully, he would be able to deliver the goods."
The portly cricketer feels that regulation of sports betting won't be of any help to cure the malaise of match-fixing or spot-fixing.
"I don't agree that regulation of sports betting can change the scenario as there are no guarantees that you can keep away the unwanted elements from an organized sector." (PTI)
Comments - 14
KADMIN Monday, 14 October 2013 05:37 AM
He is the God father of SL cricket. He always has a point when he talks about cricket. Well said.
Seelawathie Monday, 14 October 2013 09:39 AM
The only person with a spine, but should have kept away from politics.
jurry Monday, 14 October 2013 09:46 AM
Arju u are the beat captian we had we will always respect you. not like the jokers we have now none of these players can say they won any thing for the country chase them of better to lose than play with them. kumar can talk in shows in UK that woukd better for him.
KaluSudhaSudha Monday, 14 October 2013 10:05 AM
All cos he cudnt bcom the sports minister
Kiris Baba Amaray Monday, 14 October 2013 02:27 PM
Arjuna is a Prophet... of Cricket. Guys, all should learn fro,m
Neutral Tuesday, 15 October 2013 03:14 AM
I wonder if he would have had the same views, if the IPL was introduced in his cricketing days?
Suq Madique Monday, 14 October 2013 10:12 AM
He doesn't mince his words on and off the field.
Chanaka Monday, 14 October 2013 10:17 AM
Poor fellow. Nobody in the cricketing world wants to associate with him because of his bad smell. Maybe if he maintains some basic hygiene people might start taking him seriously. Hopefully he will not lose his "Sri Lankan smile" and go around assaulting little school children.
Prof. Calculas Monday, 14 October 2013 03:55 AM
Well said skipper. Black is black. We do not want those babies back.
jude Tuesday, 15 October 2013 04:59 AM
These days all SL Cricketers play only ODI and T20, because all Test matches are cancelled???!!!! Arjuna got great cricketing brain, however, as administrator or politician, I don't agree with his choices????!!!!
Nihar Monday, 14 October 2013 04:58 AM
Hats off, a good post. It's always educational to view Arjuna Ayyas comments as he has been and will always be a legend to us and Sri Lankan Cricket. He is definitely the '# One cricketing Leader' our generation has ever seen.
MirakRajBanda Monday, 14 October 2013 05:07 AM
I don't agree with him. If the UEFA or Premier Leagues were not advent, the soccer would have been long dead. That equation is very much suitable for Cricket as well. Of course, match fixing and corruption should be dealt very harshly...no doubt about it!!
OMG Monday, 14 October 2013 08:49 AM
So start teaching Indians now.
Kiris Baba Amaray Monday, 14 October 2013 05:22 AM
Our money hunger, greedy cricketers have to learn a lot from our Cricketing "Legend" Arjuna.
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