Sri Lanka cricket team manager Charith Senanayake’s term in charge of the Sri Lanka team has effectively come to an end with the SLC Ex-Co deciding to keep him out of the forthcoming Bangladesh tour, but Senanayake said yesterday he needs a clarification from SLC if he is “sacked” or he has been “relieved of the duties.”
Yesterday’s Daily Mirror headline about Senanayake’s removal used the word “sacked” as his term has come to an end. However SLC officials confirmed yesterday that he will continue in his position and will be paid his salary till his present contract ends in April, but will be kept out of his usual job responsibilities. SLC has decided not to renew his contract.
Senanayake’s term of contract with SLC ends in April and the only series involving the Sri Lanka national team from now till April is the Bangladesh team’s tour of Sri Lanka. So, leaving him out of the Bangladesh tour realistically means that he has been taken out of his position.
Senanayake also clarified four specific allegations made against him by SLC officials.
1. Failure to have logistics in place for new players for the ODI and T20 series in Australia
Senanayake revealed that SLC has appointed an official called “Player affairs manager” to look into all such requirements and Senanayake has been given instructions to keep out of such logistics.
“Kamal Dharmasiri as player affairs manager has to attend to all logistics and concerns of the players. He has been in this job for the past four months or so. When the ODI players came to Australia, I had been already there with the team for a long time. So, obviously the manager in Colombo should have addressed their needs. Besides, I’ve been asked not get involved with the clothing contract. SLC Cricket Operations has to ensure all the gear is in place including jerseys, t-shirts and track bottoms. The players affairs manager should have ensured that before these players left for the One dayers that they carry proper gear. They came to Australia without any gear. They didn’t have travel gear, no jackets, no nothing. Eventually on tour I had to sort out all the shortcomings. I sorted this out. I anticipated this and had carried spares. So we managed with spares we had on tour. You had to be extra careful because some of the boys were already in Australia for the Big Bash. It was bound to happen. When the test series ends and new players come for the one dayers even in Sri Lanka always some logisitics issues happen,” Senanayake described.
2. About the suggestion of apartments for players instead of hotels.
“This was a suggestion by Cricket Australia. Because all teams that tour countries like Australia, New Zealand and England prefer self-contained apartments than a dinghy hotel room because they have laundry, cooking facilities and various other facilities. Australia, England, South Africa all stay in apartments on tour. It is to make the players’ life easier. It is much more roomier and comfortable than a hotel room. And it is also much cheaper for SLC. We stayed in apartments in Hobart. They had all facilities and were comfortable,” said Senanayake.
At the end of the tour National teams Officer at Cricket Australia Erin Kelsey had had a one hour session with Senanayake to find out shortcomings and what more they can do to improve their services in future. One of the things that had come up was accommodation and she had suggested apartments in future like other teams do.
3. Allegation of bad language
“Do you think if I use bad language the players will keep quiet? Nonsense. No one can use bad language on players. We give utmost respect to players. Even in team meetings we don’t say anything negative. Coach or team management, when we address the players we do not talk anything negative. We only talk of the positive factors. Bad or negative language is never used. That’s rubbish,” said Senanayake adding “Everybody knows who walked into the dressing room and used raw filth on players after we lost the boxing day test in Melbourne.”
4. Having favourites in the team
“I am not going to say anything about the charge that I had favourites. Let Mahela Jayawardene clarify that. He was the captain at that time and it is up to the players to say whether I was unpopular or not,” said Senanayake.