On 1/17/2017, SLC announced that “Hon.Thilanga Sumathipala had convened an emergency meeting at SLC HQ to review the performance of the team and strategize for the upcoming T20Is & ODIs”. SLC posted this on their Facebook page and invited fans to share their comments, thoughts and feedback.
The following is an excerpt from a post by, Oshanda Weerarathna. According to this fan, his post was deleted twice from the SLC Facebook page. When he could not get his comments posted on SLC’s facebook page, the fan contacted this blogger and asked that the following be published in an Island Cricket blog post. The fan added some extra content into this blog post (compared to what he posted on SLC’s FB page) to further highlight his views.
Oshanda Weerarathna’s comments for SLC:
1. Because he didn’t give into your pressure and pick a horribly out of form Thirimanne for the T20 world cup, you fired chairman of selectors Mr. Kaplia Wijegunawardena, just hours before the team was scheduled to depart for the tournament. It was Mr. Wijegunewardena who first gave promising youngsters like Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya De Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Siriwardena and Jeffry Vandersay, among others, an opportunity. In order to have your say, you appointed a team of selectors for an unprecedented short-term stint, got your wish come true, but ruined the T20 World Cup dreams for millions of Sri Lankan fans.
2. Can you explain the reasons for Thilanga Sumatipala going into the player dressing room and discussing team selections leading up to the T20 World Cup? This was a fact revealed by both Lasith Malinga and Kapila Wijegunewardena. Thilanga Sumathipala is the president of the SLC not a selector, he should never interfere with selections.
3. Your administration wants us to believe that a ROTATION POLICY is essential to bring fresh talent, generate new ideas, eliminate stagnation and over confidence/complacency and produce back-up options within support staff. That was your explanation for removing the Manager just days before the tour to South Africa. YET, SLC continues to recycle the same set of individuals for key administrative, support staff and coaching positions. Ashely De Silva and Mohan De Silva have made a career out of SLC. Sanath Jayasuriya is the new super-selector, an (dis)honor previously held by Don Anurasiri. Champika Ramanayake owns the fast bowling coach job. Dharmadasas and Sumathipals love Sri Lanka cricket so much so that we cannot do without them! Whatever happened to your ROTATION POLICY with respect to these people?
4. Your indispensable super-selector Mr. Jayasuriya’s record is worth reminding you of! He held the position of chief selector while the team had seniors like Sangakkara, Mahela, Dilshan and Samaraweera approaching retirement. Yet, what did he do to prepare for their replacements? Perhaps he was too busy with his obsession over Ramith Rambukewella? Would you like to explain to fans how you did not see anything wrong with Mr. Jayasuriya selecting Ramith for the FOUR-DAY leg of the Sri Lanka A’s 2016 England tour when there were at least 10 front line spinners who had performed significantly better in the domestic first class season? Oh, and was it just coincidence that Ramith happened to be in England when Sri Lanka were about to play England in the T20’s? Would you like to explain to us how Mr. Jayasuriya managed to convince you to accommodate a miserably out of form Thirimanne as the SEVENTEENTH member to go on the England Test tour, yet couldn’t convince you to allow Asela Guneratne, a centurion in the previous Test series, to be selected for Zimbabwe as the SIXTEENTH player? Would you like to explain how your chief selector deemed Siriwardena, who up to that point had made an impressive start to his Test career, out of form based on a few failures in warm-up matches and was overlooked for Thirimanne who had failed in almost anything he played in for over a year? By the way, your own sports minister was making fun in public about how much a single run by Thirimanne had cost SLC. He even said that if only fans knew how much, they’d throw stones each time the player walked back to the pavilion. Yet, you saw nothing wrong with the preferential treatment Thirimanne was getting? Can you explain how you find it acceptable to have a chief selector who has no hesitation in selecting players like Rambukewela and Pathirina the minute they did something noteworthy, yet someone like Roshen Silva never gets a break even after having performed impressively with the A team over a long period of time? Can you look in the eyes of fans and assure us that these (Ramith and Sachith) player’s high-profile fathers have nothing to do with their good fortune? Well, after seeing how Ashley and Mohan explained your genius idea of a rotation policy (to replace manager) with such a straight poker-face, we are certain you will have an explanation for everything! Can you explain Mr. Jayasuriya’s genius thinking behind sidelining Dasun Shanaka from shorter formats? A player who was deemed good enough to play a TEST MATCH IN ENGLAND! A player who was identified as someone to be groomed as the shorter format fast bowling all-rounder has now been dropped for……WHO? Tikshala De Silva? Whatever happened to giving a player some consistency? After all, you too have admitted that our domestic structure is so weak that players have to learn on the job when they come into international cricket, thus deserve to be given some time before we pass judgement on them. Yet, you and your chief selector continue to play musical chairs with our best young talents? How do you explain Mr. Jayasuriya picking 31 different players for ODI cricket within the last 12 months?
5. Your indispensable super-Fast bowling coach Mr. Ramanayake’s record is also worth reminding you of! He, along with your super-selector have made several selections that would make Pusswedilla a substandard comedy. How on earth did they find Chaminda Banadara ready for Test cricket in England when several talented fast bowlers who had done the hard work with the A team were readily available? How did Wikum Sanjaya, with just one first class match since March 2014, find a place ahead of a group of fast bowlers who’ve been in the set-up and working hard with your coaching staff? Why did you take the likes of Kasun Madushaka, Lahiru Gamage, Casun Rajitha and Anok Fernando on recent international tours if they were only worth for carrying water on one tour? Why don’t you apply the same consistency you reserve for yourselves within SLC’s high profile jobs, to these promising young cricketers, without cutting and chopping players for each tour?
6. Domestic cricket is a dansala of first class caps and has been that way for many years now. Many prominent former cricketers have been saying for years that we have too many first class teams, thus diluting the quality of our cricket. Yet, you don’t do anything about it because you are afraid of the consequences come election time. You continue to distribute funds based on a strategy to enhance your electability, not necessarily to develop cricket. You invest heavily on foreign resources while the best local talent is lost to countries like Bangladesh, where they are making significant strides. In addition to letting the standard of first class cricket deteriorate, you also have ignored the hugely one-sided conditions we play our cricket on. Almost all of our first class cricket is played on wickets where fast bowlers have minimal involvement in. You have failed to implement anything to address that situation. You don’t seem to understand that our fast bowlers fail to stay fit, let alone develop, because they hardly play any cricket in Sri Lanka. You seem to be just happy winning a few home matches while you can squeeze out whatever is left in Herath. Yet, you are surprised and call for an emergency meeting when our cricketers fail to perform in alien conditions?
You are an organization that is run by a small group of “privileged men”, to whom the same set of standards and policies that you try to enforce on others, don’t apply! You are so indispensable to ROTATE while everyone else is rotated so you can fill the seats on your bus with the people you want! As highlighted in the few points mentioned above, one does not need to be a cricket expert to see what is happening to our cricket. You have planned to fail and have failed our team!
The fact that you needed an emergency meeting in the middle of a tour alone shows how poorly you had planned for this tour! With your emergency meeting, you not only made a mockery of the debacle you have put our cricket into, but also insulted us by asking for our comments when you never had showed any respect for our opinion!
Judging by the fan comments, you got what you asked for! A group of men with honor would do something with it. But we are not holding our breath!
Note: Oshanda Weerarathna has made a third attempt to post on SLC’s facebook page and says he has succeeded, at least for now. Here is the link to what he posted on SLC’s FB page.