We have got it all wrong, haven't we?

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When I saw the Sydney Cricket Ground a sea of pink with a sell-out crowd in attendance, it was time to reflect on the difference between what is going on in Sri Lanka vis-a-vis Australia.

In Australia they rally round a worthy cause, they turn up in numbers to support their team and the team can hardly not perform. The crowd supports them unreservedly and all differences are left outside the boundary ropes.

There is dissention against the selectors and all the usual things, but they are trashed out before the event and a compromise is reached. Professional managers and executives are in charge of the game and transparency is paramount.

We say Australia is “the lucky country”. It is not luck, it is the support and the determination of the people that makes things happen. The people are committed, due to the fact that the majority have confidence in good governance practices and access to transparency in most matters.

What do we have in Sri Lanka? No one comes to Test matches, and of course playing them on week days to facilitate the television networks doesn’t help either. There is no professional marketing or planning that goes into Test matches. In Australia, the dates of the summer Test matches and the venues are set in stone. Everyone knows that the first day of the first Test of the Australian summer will be at the Gabba. People buy tickets literarily years in advance. Occasions are incorporated into the Test matches to incentivise people to come, and even bring their families.

Why can’t we do this in Sri Lanka? We can if we go professional! If we remove the past players and same old officials who have played musical chairs with the jobs going at SLC. If we recruit internationally, God knows we can afford to pay competitive salaries! If the selectors are experienced professionals who are held accountable to a Minister who knows his subject or even a panel of experienced players from the past. If the media gets knowledgeable people who report with a clear conscience and not based on ulterior motives.

WE CAN!

Sri Lanka cricket has never been as low as this. All the malpractices that have been going on for over decade have brought us to this position. The last full tour of Australia resulted in the Muralitharan incident, and was used to rally our team into a unit and won us the World Cup. Let’s turn this debacle also into something positive!

Change Sri Lanka Cricket from top to bottom.

By this I mean most of the officials, the selectors and the very fabric of the organisation. An organisation firmly entrenched in corruption, in cronyism and in political interference. Get in international professionals and re-negotiate all the contracts with the players and the television moghuls. Deport player managers who are the catalysts of the corruption. Introduce taxes for earnings of players’ and player managers if they are not already in place without taxing the poor middle-classes of this country. The law to exempt sports earnings was introduced in the days when players earned pittances. Now a reasonable tax is a must!

While supplementing the coffers of the country, a tax will also make the players think twice before they go "pot hunting" at the expense of the pride and honour of playing for the country.

We saw the contents of the “leaked e-mail” the sums of money earned by a single player for one tour is mind boggling. So much so that a sum of money spoken about Rs 12 million is more than any middle class worker can hope to earn in their entire working life. Why should these earning be tax free?

Cricket is the only sport that Sri Lanka can hold her own on, in the world stage. To let it join all the others in which we are “also rans” would be desecration of our very history.

Comments

UppercuT's picture
Member since:
19 October 2011
Last activity:
8 hours 24 min

@ravana, the 'change-top to bottom' u r talking abt idealy shud ve taken place after the CWC 2011 debacle(stadiums, tickets, and the team selections for the FINAL), but it never happened.
Can't see it happening in the near future either.

Stormy's picture
Member since:
15 January 2011
Last activity:
11 hours 36 min

@Ravana good read and fair point and totally agreed but the reality is - we nned a majicwand to maeke this happen.

Ravana's picture
Member since:
8 July 2010
Last activity:
1 hour 18 min

Aren't "realism" and "practicality" relative terms ? By this I mean what is REALITY today need not be the reality tomorrow. If the parameters of thinking and even paradigm under which your actions are controlled are changed reality changes.

It is therefore sad to see people who cannot think outside the box (to use a hackneyed term) talk about reality affecting the actions that should be taken.

The magic wand can be the system that Australia and England have developed for the governance for Cricket over so many years, we should just use it and use people who can relate to it until our people get trained.

After all we did that for coaching and physical training didn't we ?

Stormy's picture
Member since:
15 January 2011
Last activity:
11 hours 36 min

@Ravana - another valid point using the Aus/Eng (lets call is western) coaching and training system but when it comes to 'accountability, transparency and administration' SLC have a totally different destructive style. I totally agree - why doesnt SLC embrace the full package from the West, why just the coaching staff only.

Ravana's picture
Member since:
8 July 2010
Last activity:
1 hour 18 min

I guess you know the answer stormy, it is because the POWER and the ability to rob in the form of commissions, bribes, gifts etc lie with the administration.

Basically it represents lucrative "jobs for the boys".

(Last edited by Ravana on January 7, 2013 - 19:32)
Hilal's picture
Member since:
20 November 2008
Last activity:
1 min 19 sec

We have some of the lowest paid players in the world, despite us being WC finalists numerous times. Not sure if judging the players' earnings by the earnings of the middle-class in a third-world nation is the way to go.

To keep players interested in playing for Sri Lanka, the way to go is to ensure they receive the best deal, on par with the rest of the world.

Authoritarianism is common at SLC and all over Sri Lanka, in every aspect of life. We need to shed that mentality for the greater good of our game and learn to show our athletes a bit more respect, regardless of the choices they make and regardless of the outcome of a match or series.

Look what happened with Malinga? He was unable to play Tests, but had not ruled out a comeback until the then chairman of selectors Duleep Mendis slapped him with an ultimatum.

While I welcome the need to find ways to bail SLC out of the financial mess they got themselves into, asking the players to pay for it is not wise. Take it out the wages and benefits of SLC officials instead.

Ravana's picture
Member since:
8 July 2010
Last activity:
1 hour 18 min

Hilal,

You have one BIG oversight in you politically correct argument. Because we are 3rd world we have PLENTY of players to choose from !

No one is indespensible and those guys are earning mega bucks because they started by playing for a 3rd world country !

There is NO NEED to incentivise people to play for the Country. There are plenty of contenders we just need to lock them in with proper contracts once they get recognition which comes at a cost to the Country.

They have to pay their taxes and make their contribution to developing the Country because it is 3rd world !

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