Sri Lanka Cricket Selection Policy
The call for more transparency from the selectors appears to have been answered. Well, not entirely, but it looks like we are on the right path. Sri Lanka Cricket released a document over the weekend titled ‘Selection Policy Document’ which intends on explaining the method behind the mayhem.
According to the document, the new selection policy has been put in place to have an honest, transparent and consistent selection policy for national team selection, Sri Lanka-A, development squad, academy squad, and other levels of Sri Lankan cricket squad selections.
Selection, it says, will be based on performance, potential and discipline.
The volunteer selection panel also has an added task now of ranking players. Players with a certain rank will be awarded central contracts. No mention, however, of how the ranking system works, or what is required to secure a contract, has been made.
The selectors will now be required to attend all domestic games. It is perhaps the first public admission that selectors have not been attending domestic matches. One wonders how a squad was selected without following the progress of provincial tournaments.
The document goes on to state that the selectors – being unpaid volunteers – have personal and work related obligations before them. Therefore there is no guarantee they will be available to attend domestic matches.
"It is important to note that selectors will make every effort to attend as many matches as possible, but selectors are not retained on a full-time basis and it is not possible to guarantee attendance at every match, or at every day of matches, due to other personal and professional obligations of selectors," the document states.
New requirements for choosing selectors has also been included in the policy. The composition of the selection committee will be decided on an annual basis. Individuals must be ex-players, or have 10 years of first class cricket under their belt in order to be considered as a national selector. Despite the current chairman of selectors, Ashantha De Mel, holding his position for over five years, the policy states "the standard term of appointment for each selector will be applied by the Sports Minister". The ‘standard term’ has not been outlined.
Selectors now have new guidelines for national team selection. Current form, past performances, balance of team, ground conditions, fitness, contribution to team environment, and investing in youth development are included in the said guidelines. But with criteria such as "contribution to team environment," the policy prevents a player from being selected based purely on form and ability.
Elaborating further on the requirements needed to play for Sri Lanka and to obtain a central contract, the policy asks selectors to consider a player’s "attitude" and if the inclusion to the squad will "improve the player".
When a selection policy is based on a selector’s interpretation of a professional athlete’s attitude, it is flawed. A cricketer’s attitude, or appearance, should play no part in a selection process. How long will it be before a selector decides that a player has a ‘bad attitude’ due to piercings, hair colour, and his lifestyle? In Sri Lanka, it is highly probable.
A selection policy should not create hindrances but provide avenues and opportunities to represent Sri Lanka.
On a more positive note, the chairman of selectors has been instructed to contact players who have been dropped from the squad and explain the reasoning behind the omission. This also applies to players who have had their central contracts terminated.