An appeal made by former World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga to stop the influx of foreign experts into the country has fallen on deaf ears with the biggest non-listener being his one time cricketing buddy Aravinda de Silva who side-stepped the issue while introducing the newest pundit, Australian Tom Moody who was installed last month as the top man at Sri Lanka Cricket’s game-changing Authority.
Aravinda, now a behind-the-scene political appointee who heads the Technical Advisory Committee dodged the question in diplomatic style when the Sunday Observer asked him why foreign experts are preferred in place of locals that also includes the firebrand Ranatunga.
The former south paw Ranatunga is still the country’s top attention-drawing head-turning critic despite his political set backs who referred to foreigners as “overseas trash”.
He made his remarks last week to commemorate the Silver jubilee of the 1996 World Cup triumph in the presence of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa whom he nudged to order a probe into malpractices and abuses in the administration of cricket in the country.
Asked whether he could accept or reject Ranatunga in a current set-up, De Silva instead chose to debate the standard of school coaches in the country that Moody will play a part in correcting.
“My captain (Arjuna Ranatunga) also feels the same. But for me there is one thing. Even if you play a hundred Test matches, score 15,000 runs, it is a different ball game altogether.
“You got to start from scratch again. Take a look at our school coaches. Tom’s (Moody) job will be to uplift the standard and educate our (school) coaches so we don’t have to look overseas for coaches,” said De Silva.
Moody joins a heavy list of overseas nationals as the Director of Cricket that makes him available for consultation for 300 days over a three-year period for a payment of Rs.120 million, the highest amount ever paid to a foreign expert that indicates a tell-all story of the riches available at Sri Lanka Cricket.
But Aravinda certified Moody as the best in the business given his global experience in several countries with many a team, to go with what he called his “strong personality”.
There was also nothing to hide an apparent difference between the two men as Moody strongly hinted of what he called “restructuring the domestic First Class club cricket set up in an expected roll out this year” while Aravinda made no secret of the fact that a club system cannot be changed without taking into account the pitfalls.
“You cannot take away the club structure overnight. If we take away all the clubs we only take away the opportunities provided for thousands of school cricketers…