SLC no longer in transition but a state of denial

Having lost to Bangladesh and Zimbabwe at home earlier this year, current poor performances against India should not come as a surprise. Although it was just last year, the whitewashing of Australia at home feels like light years ago. The current Sri Lankan team simply does not have the collective skill, experience, leadership or management to challenge even Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, let alone India. No matter what Sri Lanka's strategy would have been, spin, pace or flat wickets, it probably would not have mattered against this well balanced Indian side.

Since the retirements of the batting greats Sangakkara, Jayawardena and Dilshan, the loss of Dammika Prasad and with an aging Herath, Sri Lanka have become a very weak team, and that is why they are loosing! Sri Lanka have become just another ordinary international cricket team. Most of the blame falls on poor leadership, planning and vision of various administrations through the past several years. Their collective failures to invest, nurture, guide, grow and strengthen the sport, has cost Sri Lanka talent, quality, success and now dignity as a cricketing force.

As experienced players retired, the dysfunctional system failed to produce capable replacements. Riding the good fortune of the greatness in Herath on spinning wickets against opponents who were helpless in those conditions became Sri Lanka's only strength and strategic option. The win against Australia is a good example of riding the great fortune of Herath heroics against an opponent with no spin threat of their own. It must be acknowledged that Australian whitewash and Zimbabwe-tour wins were also made possible through the hard work of the team management lead by coach Ford and manager Senanayake, who cleverly identified the strengths of available resources, understood the conditions and devised successful strategies to go after the weaknesses of the opponents. 

As if Sri Lanka does not have enough challenges, the current administration continues to make things worse by getting rid of what works, and instead continuing with incompetency, proven failure and bringing in more trouble. Coach  Ford and manager Senanayake who were part of the winning teams against Australia and Zimbabwe have been pushed out. An alien (to SLC’s progress over the past 20 years) has been put in charge of turning things around (or upside down, depending on how you see it). A politician is giving advise on fielding and fitness. Even after a record setting inconsistency in selections and after an embarrassing private matter that went viral on the internet, the chief selector remains indispensable. Executives of clubs involved in fixing domestic first class matches find protection and even power and authority within SLC’s EXCO, with the blessings of a board-president having roots in the betting industry.        

As evident during the recent Satana show, none of the cricketing bosses see SLC in any state of trouble! They are just seeing ups and downs, just like what every team goes through. Perhaps they are not remembering how often we have been down versus up. The chief selector did not even remember that he’d been the chief selector through the greater part of this period of decline, including serving in that capacity under the previous administration. SLC has officially entered a state of denial!

Sri Lanka's former cricket greats are fighting each other, trying to cash-in on the situation, than trying to unite to help or fight to save the sport. The stress seems to be getting to the fans too, who have attempted to find comfort by having a go at a few punching bags, possibly created for them by SLC to help relieve fan stress and most likely to divert attention from SLC.

Denial is indeed the most popular defense against allegations of failure and corruption among politicians in Sri Lanka. Seldom does a Sri Lankan politician take responsibility or accountability. SLC is governed by a couple of politicians. Unfortunately, denial seems to be the most predictable result fans can expect from SLC, at least until it’s freed from politicians.

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