Is Nishantha damaging Arjuna’s legacy or is Arjuna part of Nishantha’s legacy?

The recent interview given by Charith Senanayake, the former manager of the Sri Lanka cricket team, further solidifies the public opinion that Sri Lanka Cricket is now effectively the private property of Nishantha Ranatunga and his close associates.

Even though he never held the position of president, Nishantha the secretary has been the undisputed, uncontested boss of SLC and surely the most powerful force within the SLC administration. While SLC is quick to remind the public that it is the executive committee as a group that makes decisions on behalf of SLC, it is common knowledge that Nishantha has “God sent” blessings to act as needed to serve in the best interest of all of those who are “blessed”.

Following are only a few examples of the outrageously shocking, irresponsible and disgraceful activities that have taken place under Nishantha’s watch:

• Nishantha accepted the position of SLC secretary while also serving as the CEO of CSN and ensured that CSN got local TV broadcasting rights for SLC matches

• SLC appointed unqualified Suraj Dandeniya without a proper hiring process, simply based on his relationship to the then president D.S. De Silva

• SLC went from having a budget surplus to being bankrupt

• SLC wasted millions of dollars in public funds building cricket grounds that were not needed and in places where no ordinary man could go

• SLC’s computer hard drive mysteriously disappeared once SLC and Suraj Dandeniya were subject to an investigation on their handling of SLC funds 

• Some of the best local talent such as Chandika Hathurusinghe were lost to Sri Lanka due to ill-treatment from SLC who preferred favorites over more qualified and talented, but "not blessed" individuals  

• Some of the greatest cricketers in the history of Sri Lanka cricket were treated disrespectfully and humiliate in the public forum

• Nishantha is repeatedly elected uncontested to key positions not just within SLC but also in leading cricket clubs

• Test cricket is on the verge of extinction

While all of this is taking place, Arjuna Ranatunga, the elder brother of Nishantha, continues to be a vocal public figure who presents himself as the only person who truly cares for, and unselfishly fights to protect Sri Lanka cricket from the “political influence that is ruining Sri Lanka Cricket”, as he puts it. Arjuna without a doubt is the closest to a cricketing God in Sri Lanka. Millions of fans still continue to adore him for the forever-unforgettable glory he helped bring to cricket fans in the country. While many still pin their hopes on Arjuna yet again coming to the rescue of Sri Lanka cricket, some fans that closely follow the sport and Arjuna’s involvement in it are beginning to question Arjuna’s true intensions and priorities.

Arjuna Ranatunga never wastes an opportunity to attack Lasith Malinga in public at every given opportunity and rip apart his integrity and loyalty to country. Mind you, this is all because Lasith claims to have an injury that prevents him from playing test cricket, which Arjuna interprets as “picking and choosing what a player wants to do at his own will”. Arjuna jumps on the opportunity to question why the cricket board and the sports minister continue to allow Lasith to “get away” with picking and choosing his priorities. However, Arjuna never, directly points a finger at Nishantha Ranatunga for the current calamity within Sri Lanka Cricket. Instead, if pressed, he would simply acknowledge that “yes the secretary is my brother and I agree he is part of the problem”. Now Arjuna is smart enough to know that Nishantha IS THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND ALL OF THE PROBLEMS. Not part of it. Yet, Arjuna never directly addresses the issue of Nishantha Ranatunga. Recently Arjuna stated that “Malinga should get the Peterson treatment” yet he never calls for “Nishantha to get the Modi treatment”. 

Fans remember very well how much of a big deal Arjuna made of Don Anurasiri being a selector for a long period of time. Arjuna would question the justification in repeatedly appointing Don as selector. Yet, how many times has Arjuna directly addressed the issue of Nishantha Ranatunga owning the post of SLC secretory? Arjuna, who uses his favorite phrase “Mudalali-keranaya” to mock businessman who wants a piece of the action within SLC, does not seem to be too bothered with “Nishantha-karumaya” that is taunting Sri Lanka Cricket. Arjuna often discusses how the business people (Mudalali’s as he calls them) do everything to "buy votes" in their attempt to get elected. But how many times has Arjuna directly discussed Nishantha’s continuous uncontested election?

Arjuna rarely spares the opportunity to directly, individually and specifically address the failures of the likes of Malinga, Dandeniya, Aluthgamage and Gaminimi Lokkuge the sports minister who fired him from SLC. Arjuna also takes the time to directly criticize two of the greatest cricketers Sri Lanka has produced, Sangakara and Mahela, for their desire to maximize their professional worth. When discussing these individuals and their failures, Arjuna does not shy away from going after the individuals directly. However, when it comes to Nishantha Ranatunga, a man who is associated with way more corruption and failure than all of these other men put together, Arjuna has little to say about. Rather, he blames the system, the government or the culture for all failures that originate from a Nishantha Ranatunga signature!

All of these facts do present the fans with a very disturbing curiosity. Is Arjuna Ranatunga, the current politician, a true and honest servant of Sri Lanka cricket? Or is he using the public forum afforded to him due to his cricketing popularity, simply to promote his political and personal agenda? For years the fans have worshiped Arjuna the cricketer and prayed to Arjuna the administrator/politician for help. It is about time that the REAL MR. ARJUNA RANATUNGA STOOD UP!

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