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Cricket Board suspended, a judicial injunction and player timed out - EDITORIAL

8 November 2023 12:01 am - 7     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Sri Lanka cricket has not reached dizzying heights. Much like our country earlier this year - when declared bankrupt - cricket too has hit its lowest depths. The cricket board has been sacked, and charges of corruption and mismanagement whether true or false abound.  
Just as our present president was the constitutional appointment, cricket’s new interim committee headed by our World Cup-winning captain - Arjuna Ranatunga - has been appointed to clear the good name of cricket in our country and rebuild the national team.   


But the Court of Appeal has issued an injunction on the Interim Committee and Parliament has criticised the Court’s decision.  
We can only hope, that the new interim head of the cricket board will be able to rebuild the national team and cricket administration in the country as successfully as the president turned around the fortunes of our country. At the time he occupied the presidency, the nation was hurtling into a situation of anarchy. He halted it.  


He also changed the international perception of our country as not being creditworthy. He succeeded in negotiating an IMF debt restructuring deal and brought back a semblance of normalcy within the country albeit rather slowly and painfully. The government’s own statistics show large sections of the population - over 70 per cent - are unable to adequately feed their families.   
On assuming the post of chairman of the Interim Committee, Ranatunga announced he would undertake the rebuilding of the national team, spotting talent, and instilling discipline and pride in playing for one’s country.  


Ranatunga added he had a competent team of Judges of the Supreme Court to investigate and take steps to eliminate corruption in cricket and past administrators to negotiate with the ICC, adding these were not his fields of competence. He also alleged corrupt practices were taking place in the regional body.  
In turn, this brings us to the latest of our cricketing miseries - Monday’s (6th November 2023) - fiasco at the World Cup match against Bangladesh. One of our players was ‘timed out’. Sadly, this most senior player in our team who was ‘timed out’, has since been making a shameful public spectacle of himself and cricket in our country.  
We need to keep a few facts in mind.   


In cricket as in any other sport or industry, the rule of thumb is to know the laws of the game and act within it. Bangladesh is one of the newer teams with test status. The team knew the laws governing cricket. When our senior player breached the law appealed and the umpires upheld the appeal.  
The Bangladesh captain was thinking ahead. The match against Lanka was of no consequence to the campaign in the present World Cup competition. But he and his team needed to ensure they won a place in the Champions Trophy Series which is to be played in Bangladesh itself.  


They aimed to eliminate any chance of having to undergo the indignity of having to go through the process of qualifying for that series.   
Unfortunately Mathews, the player at the centre of the ‘time out’ decision - a former captain and most experienced player in the Lankan team - did not know the letter of the law.   
Rather than admit the blunder he made, this player has taken to social media and interviews to claim victimhood rather than his ignorance of the laws governing the game which provides him with a very lucrative livelihood.  


In a way, it represents the collective attitude of the present Sri Lanka team. Just recently, they have on two occasions been shot out for less than 60 runs at an international level.  
The national cricket team needs an overhaul as is the entire Lankan cricketing establishment. There are also fears the ICC, cricket’s governing body could penalise the country, challenging the decision of suspending the SLC. Yet, the Auditor General’s report reveals some of the corruption within the SLC.   
Whatever the ICC’s decision, corruption and favouritism within the cricketing establishment need to be weeded out at whatever the cost, to bring cricket back to its past glory.   
We can only wish the interim committee the best in its efforts to rebuild the spirit and quality of cricket in the country.   


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  Comments - 7

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  • Fred Wednesday, 08 November 2023 01:08 AM

    In fairness to Matthews I suggest you to speak to other teams like England, Australia NZ for their views.Have to take these things in context.How about the captain, coach of the SL team what is their view why were they not asked or interviewed?? maybe then we will get a more balanced picture

    N V Jen Wednesday, 08 November 2023 05:56 PM

    Whatever credit Ranil earned for reversing to some extent the economic maladies, his subsequent actions have caused him of poor approval ratings. On Mathews' time out case, cricket is said to be a gentleman's game and Shakib proved that he belongs to the blackguard clan.

    Champika Munidasa Thursday, 09 November 2023 11:47 AM

    Arjuna Ranatunga should be given a free hand to put the game of cricket in the correct direction. He is the most enthusiastic and capable person for the top job no doubt. Why is it that he never gets a chance to do it is puzzling? The Cricket Board is all corrupt and who doesn’t know about it. They should resign like gentlemen and allow new faces to take over the governance.

    Cecil Hedwige Friday, 10 November 2023 07:52 AM

    Before being selected to the SL team,the intended players should be disciplined and should learn the rules governing cricket and not behave like donkeys in front of the world.

    A sad cricket fan Sunday, 12 November 2023 06:34 AM

    Angelo Mathew was the next batsman to go to the crease when any one of the 2 batsmen playing got out. He should have been ready with all the cricket paraphernalia and wearing the helmet properly. According to cricket rules, the next batsman has only 120 seconds to come to the crease and be ready to face the next ball. You were not ready to face the next ball because you only realized the helmet strap was broken because that was the time you tried to wear the helmet. Although you had played in 100 test matches, you did not know the rules properly. You let down the team and the country.

    K G Abeysingha Sunday, 12 November 2023 11:13 AM

    Those who argue that Angelo knowingly delayed facing the ball ignores how enthusiastic Angelo was trying to win against not only Bangladesh but even previous games. The rule is there to avoid players delaying purposely. (The rule needs changing by adding the purpose etc.). There was nothing to gain by Angelo delaying few seconds. Questioned by the press about the spirit of the game and not just winning by hook or crook, Bangladesh captain had no answer. It is time we all have faith in our players, like those in other countries do. Try and listen to Wasim Akram.

    K G Abeysingha Sunday, 12 November 2023 11:36 AM

    Further to my comment just made I have copied below an extract from another comment: Ex-Ireland wicket-keeper Niall O’Brien said on Test Match Special: “I think he was ready to face the ball. He was on the pitch and his equipment failed him. I think there was a mistake there.”


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