By Champika Fernando
Winds of change are sweeping across the length and breadth of cricket administration with several key positions in Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) set to change at next month’s Special General Meeting (SGM).
The country’s premier sports body has attracted much criticism over their handling of cricket matters, governance and the dropping standard of the national team. It is hoped the changes will help put the house in order.
With an Advisory Committee appointed by the Sports Ministry is putting the finishing touches to a new domestic cricket structure, the Board wants to make these vital changes to administrative structure in the pre-election period.
The Board also made several alternations to the national team management, roping in Chandika Hathurusingha as Head Coach and appointing Thilan Samaraweera as Batting Coach.
The SGM will be on January 7, 2017, four days after the Thilanga Sumathipala-led administrators complete two years in office. There will be several new appointments, including a new vice-president and secretary.
Accordingly, Jayantha Dharmadasa, who has distanced himself from SLC's activities since June after reportedly assuming responsibility for the national team’s early exit from the Champions Trophy in England, will be replaced by Mohan de Silva, incumbent Secretary. Dharmadasa was in charge of international cricket.
There was no official announcement of Dharmadasa's resignation from either party. He did not reveal it, nor did the Board. But he has not attended any Executive Committee meetings since then, a clear indication of his intentions to sever ties with the SLC.
De Silva, a long-time confidant of Sumathipala, will be made Head of Domestic Cricket, a position long held by Vice President K. Mathivanan who will now take international cricket under his wing. Mathivanan was instrumental in signing Hathurusingha.
Sri Lanka’s weak domestic cricket structure has been the subject of major discussions for many years as successive administrators have taken too long to address this fundamental problem that undermines the national team and threatens the game’s future.
Current cricket administrators devised a plan with a proposed four-team provincial tournament to be played after the inter-club tournament. However, a Cricket Advisory Committee appointed by the Ministry of Sports is making further changes to improve the quality of the tournament.
The Sunday Times learns either Roshan Biyanwila or Samantha Dodanwela will take over as the new Secretary for the remaining six months. Sri Lanka Cricket sources also said that there’s a move to appoint a new Treasurer and an Assistant Secretary replacing Shammi Silva and Raveen Wickremaratne.
Silva is the President of the Colombo Cricket Club while Raveen Wickremaratne represents the Panadura CC, the club that was involved in changing the outcome of the match against Kalutara PCC during the last domestic cricket season. A SLC investigations found both teams guilty of misconduct and suspended the players but the decision was later stayed, with Sports Ministry initiating a fresh inquiry.
Meanwhile, SLC will also use the SGM to adopt the new Sports Regulations enacted in October 2016 which will allow them to run the affairs until elections. These stipulate that elections have to be called on or before June 1, as opposed to the March 31st deadline previously exercised.