All-rounder Thisara Perera has called for a change in the limited over captaincy in order to bring in unity and stability in the national side ahead of this year’s cricket World Cup in England. In a letter addressed to Sri Lanka Cricket CEO Ashley de Silva, Perera added there is no environment of unity in the side since Lasith Malinga took over the captaincy ahead of the recent New Zealand series.
“We are at the verge of a world cup. Our focus and attention should be on performing well at it instead of bickering over social media on pointless issues. The team is in dire need of steady leadership and guidance. Importantly as environment of unity is needed in the dressing room. Something we lack very desperately at the moment. These issues need ractifying ahead of the World Cup,” Perera wrote in his letter.
A serious rift emerged in the Sri Lankan national cricket team during the New Zealand with Perera openly criticising Malinga and his wife for having made demoralising comments about him on social media.
The unpleasant exchange started on December 21 when the said cricketer’s wife shared a meme on Facebook clearly targeted at Perera which implied in Sinhala that Perera, dressed in a “cheethaya” had ingratiatingly gone to Harin Fernando’s house soon after he took oaths as Sports Minister. “Lajjai ney”, it said.
In response to that, Perera’s had shared a meme on her Facebook page saying that a fox will never become a lion even if it dresses itself in a lion skin. “When the fox opens its mouth, it’s still a fox,” it said.
Thisara Perera's letter to CEO:
Mr. Ashley De Silva
Chief Executive Officer
Sri Lanka Cricket
35, Maitland Place
26th January 2019
I write to you with a sense of disappointment and great concern for Sri Lanka Cricket and myself as a senior player in the team.
As you may already know there has been a series of posts on social media targeted at me by Mrs. Tanya Perera, the wife of Sri Lanka ODI and T20 captain Lasith Malinga. My wife and I had endured these posts in the past and kept quiet about it put of the respect to the game and off course Lasith Malinga himself.
However, it took a darker more demeaning turn while we were in New Zealand right in the middle of a tour. The level of discomfort and mental trauma that was endured as a result of this was beyond words.
I have been accused of running after high ranking officials and minister asking them to retain me in the national team. I have always adhered to the selection process of SLC and never once questioned a decision to drop me, nor have I asked for the favours in this regard. Upon my recall to the national side, I believe I have done justice to my place. My statistics for 2018 would speak for itself.
Furthermore, I have never shied away from responsibility. When Sri Lanka has to tour, I had entrusted with the captaincy, when no one else came forth. May I add that it was an honour and I previlage to represent my country in a tour that was more about helping a fallen neighbor to regain international status as a safe touring destination.
However, when these kind of accusations are made by the incumbent captain’s wife on social media, it is hardd to prevent the general public from believeing and further slandering me in various ways. The pressure was such that I knew that if I failed in one game, that I would be dropped without a doubt
There has been a general sense of unease in the dressing room ever since and to be honest the environment was rather unpleasant for the youngsters especially when two senior players were not on the same page. We can now play as a team with friction. The leadership’s role is to create stability and unity within the team even before one could start with a game plan. In this instant I regret to say we had none of the above.
I have had to endure these slanderous posts and the embarrassment of having to answer to people of my intentions were in fact in line with the team? Nobody plays for Sri Lanka with an intention to lose. We give our best to the team and country and my performance in the New Zealand tour due just that.
Today, we were once again targeted at the joking point on one of Mrs. Perera’s posts. Needless to say it went viral and ended on my social media feed as well.
I know these posts are created to dishearten and shaken my confidence. However, I don’t deter. But having stated that, sir I plead with you to intervene here and put an end to this childish behavior by a very well respected public figure.
We are at the verge of a world cup. Our focus and attention should be on performing well at it instead of bickering over social media on pointless issues. The team is in dire need of steady leadership and guidance. Importantly as environment of unity is needed in the dressing room. Something we lack very desperately at the moment. These issues need ractifying ahead of the World Cup.
We need to go forward as a unit for a team of factions. The leadership and seniors of the team must set the example for this.
I am available for an inquiry in necessary.
I thank you for providing me an opportunity to bring forward my concerns to the team management.