Modi Vs Ranatunga

Lalit Modi’s abrasive and confrontational approach is fuel to the fire for a bloke like Arjuna Ranatunga. Recent media reports stated that Lalit Modi had withdrawn a lucrative financial deal between the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) due to comments made by Arjuna Ranatunga.

Modi claimed the comments were damaging to the Indian Premier League.

Modi had previously offered SLC a lucrative package in order to secure the participation of Sri Lanka’s top cricketers in the IPL. This led SLC to postpone a tour of England. Modi then pulled out of the proposed dealing with SLC claiming SLC chairman Ranatunga’s comments were hurting the IPL and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The BCCI subsequently chose to ‘put a hold’ on future tours to Sri Lanka scheduled outside of the ICC’s future tours programme.

Sri Lanka Cricket gains nothing financially by allowing it’s players to take part in the IPL. The cash strapped board regularly sets up tours outside of the ICC’s future tours programme in order to fund it’s development. As such the last minute tour of England which collided with the second season of IPL was not something that was constructed by Ranatunga due to his disliking for T20 Cricket. It was more a genuine attempt to fund a cricket board running on it’s bank over draft.

Ranatunga has been quoted in recent media reports stating that SLC lost 3 Million USD due to the IPL. Clearly he has scant regard for Modi’s opinion and he doesn’t mind making statements that are detrimental to the IPL.

"The SLC would have got USD 3 million including USD 2 million for TV rights which we have been deprived off as our senior players are contracted to play for the Indian Premier League and our tour to England has been cancelled," Ranatunga told PTI.

He said it was "unfair" the SLC does not gain any money for releasing its players for the IPL even while agents get commissions from the fee paid to players taking part in the BCCI-backed tournament.

"One thing the players should remember is that they are employees of SLC. Every year, we sign about 40 cricketers from the national and ‘A’ teams. We give them very attractive contracts.

It is SLC that looks after the players from the junior level and brings them to the level of national cricket by spending a lot of money. SLC should get some money from these cricketers rather than allow them to make payments to some outside agent. This way, we will safeguard our cricketers and make use of the money for cricket development," – PTI

Unlike Cricket Australia which bent over backwards to accommodate the BCCI and it’s boorish ways, Sri Lanka cricket will not. This is a certainty with someone like Ranatunga at the helm. In his playing days and as captain of Sri Lanka Ranatunga always stood firm in what he believed was the best option for Sri Lanka cricket. This time wont be any different.

He has already spoken of doing away with 3rd parties who act as the players Sports Agents. Ranatunga claims the agents stand to gain more by signing the players up for tournaments like the IPL when the SLC looses out. More importantly Ranatunga will have more control over player participation in tournaments like the IPL.

“We are going to help the players by being their agent from next year. At the moment various individuals who have no connection with the development of cricket are lurking in the shadows and grab the players to become their agent.

They make a cool ten percent commission by exploiting the player. We are hoping to a put a stop to it” said Ranatunga.

“SLC is bringing the player up to the international level by supporting them from the grassroot level. So, it is only just that SLC should get a commission if there is any. We have planned this as a mode of income generation for the next year,”  he explained.

It is clear that Ranatunga will eventually even the playing field with Lalit Modi and Modi may have to reconsider his stance with SLC if he wishes Sri Lankan participation in the event.

"Ranatunga is totally unjustified in his continuous blasting of IPL," Modi said speaking to Cricinfo earlier today.

"At a meeting held in Bangkok a few weeks ago where BCCI officials met the Sri Lankan management – both board and government representatives – the BCCI secretary (N Srinivasan) had clearly pointed out that it had no idea why such hostility exists.

We are looking for answers. We hope to find a solution which is beneficial to both boards at the earliest. The officials were also quite perturbed that the situation had escalated to where it is today and were also looking for answers."  – Cricinfo.

Modi and the BCCI seem to have this preconceived notion that Sri Lanka agreed to tour England due to Ranatunga’s disliking for the IPL. As I mentioned previously SLC has always planned tours in haste in order to fund it’s cricket.

Sri Lanka’s ODI series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi after a gruelling World Cup 2007 campaign springs to mind. Not to mention the ODI series tour to Netherlands following a long tour of England. Furthermore the SLC has always maintained that it had cleared it’s players for the first season of IPL – SLC claims they never authorised a three year contract which the players have subsequently signed into.

This stand off between Modi and Ranatunga may hurt the players income significantly and the players stand to loose out the most. Sri Lanka Cricket’s pay package is barely lucrative in this day and age, the players require their agent’s assistance to source sponsors and much needed revenue. The IPL has always maintained that it’s tournament is no place for retired cricketers for it does not want to be the reason behind a mass exodus with players leaving International cricket for the IPL – so an early retirement is not an option.

It will be interesting to see how all this will pan out. One would hope that for the sake of our sport that Modi and the BCCI comes back to the discussion table to bring some life in to their defunct proposal.

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