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Where’s the love ?

Boxing day. The smell of freshly cut grass. The flowing beer. The gentle warmth of the early morning sun. The buzz of crowd as they prepare to watch some grueling test cricket.

All the things that will be missing in Dhakka when Sri Lanka take on Bangladesh.

So, another tour, another minnow opposition and another 2 test series –the story of Sri Lankan cricket this year. It seems incredibly hypocritical when the 4th ranked test team in the world plays only 5 test matches in a year where teams like New Zealand – who are invariably complaining about not playing enough test cricket – and even Bangladesh of all team play more. The only team to play less games than Sri Lanka were Pakistan, who had that slight glitch with them terrorists blokes.

Who is at fault though. The Sri Lankan board ? The ICC ? The ridiculously outdated future tours Programme?. The best answer is probably a mixture of all three. That the annual cricket schedules are monopolized by the English and Australian summers is unavoidable and has been forcibly accepted by the rest of the test nations, who have to organize their matches around it. Even then the quality of test cricket coming to a country like Sri Lanka is insufficient. 2009 will follow the same path as this year, when the first half of the year is spent sitting on couches and watching other countries play cricket.

Now that the England tour is canceled, Sri Lankas next test tour, according to the FTP, will be Zimbabwe. How exciting, add to that the fact that’s inaccurate. The only real tour, against Pakistan, is planned for August. Any tours planned with India are still in doubt after the disaster with Arjuna, Lalit Modi and the IPL.

Surely Sri Lanka are still a big draw card, they have some world renowned cricketers and are only behind Australia, South Africa and India, who they soundly beat at home just a few months ago. Arjuna has been pre-occupied in trying to put one over Lalit Modi. His ill timed move to arrange for a tour to England has since nose dived. In the meantime Sri Lanka tours Bangladesh, plays a tri series against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and then hangs up the boots for 5-6 months. This is cricket administration at its worst. It’s a loss for the fans and undeniably for the players.

Rumors of the ‘Test Championship’ replacing the FTP, are just that. Rumors. The ICC says there will be ‘some form of test championship’. Proving that vagueness is still the ICC’s best attribute.

Its up to the guys in the hierarchy to make sure that Sri Lanka gets the right amount of cricket with right kind of opposition in whatever ‘form’ it may come in.

While they are at it, can they also have quick vote to get rid of the plague that is the ‘2 – test series’.

5 Comments

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  1. You have to agree Damith. So
    You have to agree Damith. So far Dhakka has been grueling for the batsman. Until the end of day 2 and Murali’s exploits, I too was convinced that we may loose this test with a 1st inning score of less than 300.

    The West Indies still allocates 2 test matches for Sri Lanka..Many other countries do the same. This is not the ICC’s fault or the host nation. This is the fault of a cricket board full of beggars. Ever heard the term ‘Beggars can’t be choosers’? Well this is a prime example of that. 

    Four years of touring Australia, we still play our 1st test at the Perth or on wickets that will 100% suit the Aussies..never ever do we get tests at the SCG because they know we have a good chance of kicking their hind. We don’t get more than 1 or 2 warm up matches. So when your in alien conditions once every few years its tough to beat the Aussies. All of this is no fault of the Aussies but the fault of our board who sets these fixtures up. Not a single person from within SLC cares about the players or the outcome as long as we send our team we make some money to pay off the over draft.

    Completely insane and very bizarre…

    Once Sri Lanka’s administration is sorted out we can explore avenues on how better to improve our image and get what’s due to us.

    The English and Australian summer is just a total of 4 months in a year that consist 12…there is always a way we can allocate home tours or even tours to nations that don’t get effected by the cold weather when the poms and Aussies are playing their home series.

    • Why not? If the lankans had
      Why not? If the lankans had time to acclimatise and have wickets that suit their spinners, I dont see it as impossible. Don’t forget in Hobart when Sanga was batting we came pretty close to winning….I know there were a lot more runs to get but it didnt seem like the Aussies could dislodge sanga, at one point -if im not mistaken- we had a 100 odd to win.

  2. Chanel> Cheers, I also blame
    Chanel> Cheers, I also blame the FTP, Honestly speaking I don’t think Bangladesh or Zimbabwe should play cricket. I am in favor of a two tier cricket system, which may never see the light of day.

    I cant help but feel that the powers that be also play a part in us not getting enough good cricket, England Australia still dont ‘like’ giving us too many matches. Plus they know they will make more money with teams like India or SA.

    I dont see this situation improving any time soon either.

    Beating Australia , right now its not impossible. You can see what the SA’s are managing without Warne and Mcgrath.

    If we get a full 3 test tour there, with games at Sydney and the G, with a couple of tour games thrown in the middle I think we can beat them.

    Not with the current batting though !

  3. Great article

    Great article Damith. 

    Unfortunately world cricket is unofficially broken into 3 tiers in terms of bums on seats: Australia, India, South Africa, and England at the top; Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and the West Indies, in the middle; and Bangladesh and Zimbabwe at the bottom.  The West Indies, which were certainly considered a tier 1 team in 70s and 80s, have found themselves in this second tier as a result of consistent failure over the last 15 years.

    Sri Lanka is no longer the crowd puller that it was in the mid-late 90s, when the brand of cricket we played was fresh, exciting, aggressive and fearless. Case in point: World Series Cup 95/96 Australian summer – Sri Lanka with it’s soon to be world champion ODI team filled stadiums across the country, including 45,000 at the MCG for a Tuesday night group game, followed by 72,000 two days later (the 10th highest ODI crowd at the MCG and 2nd highest in the 90s);  Last summer, Sri Lanka drew 29,000 and 22,000 for its two MCG ODIs (India drew about 50,000 for its MCG ODI .  

    Cricket Australia schedules the major crowd pullers to play the Boxing Day and New Years tests. Again using the West Indies as a reference, in the 70s, 80s and 90s they were regular boxing day test contestants.  Now they are relegated to the start of Aussie summer.

    It should be noted that we are the only major test playing nation not to have won a test match in Australia. (I understand we have only been playing tests for just under three decades).  When we address this then and can win here regularly we will be assured of securing the MCG and SCG test everytime we visit Australia.  Further, continued test success will hopefully ensure that instead of being entre to the main course in the English summer, we can reverse that and play 4 test series there.

    We are next scheduled to visit Australia in the 2012/13 summer, which is when South Africa is also due to visit.  The good news is that, by all reports, South Africa insist that they will no longer play the boxing day and new years tests in Oz because it clashes with their cricket season – maybe we will get those two tests by default – let’s hope!

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