Wow, The Sports Minister seems to be very cross with the current performance by the Sri Lankan Cricket Team. Well, quite honestly, not only has he disappointed me with his knowledge of cricket but, being a minister who actually runs the country, has now disappointed me with his knowledge of management and politics! Whilst he was getting his pay cheque every month, on time, for the last eight months, the SLC staff and the Team players continued their duties for the country without a cent going in to their bank accounts, until three weeks ago. However it is important to remember that this was only a portion of their salaries.
One could argue that the players themselves were usually well paid. Well, yes, they were, some more than others, but we are not just talking about a month without pay here, we are actually talking about an entire 8 months of pay, more than half an year. Even the highest paid cricketers did take a significant hit. Lets not forget that this is SLC not The FA, the players do not get paid as much.
It is also important to keep in mind that SLC is an establishment and the team, it’s employees. Any establishment that haven’t paid it’s employees for such a long period of time cannot expect its employees to stay on or not protest about it, but the SL team did stay on, neither of them complained, none of them even commented publicly about it. They did so because they were loyal to the establishment and most of all they were loyal to their country and did not want to let their loyal fans down. The actions by the players was not only praised by majority of the fans who knew what was going on, but also by many players and cricketing associations around the world, more recently by the South Africans.
Psychologically the Sri Lankans were down after the 2011 World Cup. Not only did they lose a Cricket World Cup Final but external politics caused the well established and talented captain Kumar Sangakkara to step down, followed by the vice captain and possibly the most effective selection panel the SLC has ever appointed headed by the Legend, Aravinda de Silva.
SLC, under the influence of the Sports Ministry,were quick to appoint a replacement captain; T.M. Dilshan.
T.M Dilshan, in my view, is the type of player who still has a bit of growing up to do. He’s that kid in school who always got in to mischief but never learnt a lesson. Let’s not forget the times he caused trouble; The Kenyan Nightclub incident the SLC did a very good job at covering up, and that time he asked Suraj Randiv to ball that No Ball on the last ball of the innings against Viridar Sehwag. Questions could’ve been raised about his conduct as a player in general.
As far as his talents were concerned, he is very much a talented cricketer, a talented all rounder in fact, but, he was not the person to lead the team.
In my view, the captain and the coach did have a negative impact on the team’s recent performances but not so much in comparison to the other factors that effected it. How dare he, the minister, accuse the team of under-performing when all they have done is ‘put up’. Did the fact that the players were not paid affect their performance? Yes of course it did. Did the minister’s interference of SLC duties affect the players? Yes it did.
It is with great disappointment I write this article as SLC does have a lot of potential and the pool of cricketers, as proven in the last world cup, has the potential to be the world number 1. Yet, as long as this dark shadow of political influence haunt SLC, the way back up to World No 1 will certainly be a very difficult one. One thing I ask of you who read this articles is to consider the facts, don’t blame the players as they have gone through enough. I am proud to be a supporter of SLC and will continue to do so but very much wish that this political influence that haunts SLC will some day be gone.
But yes, I know it is a lot to ask….