A senior sports writer warned us that less than ten percent of people who read this article are going to like it. But facts are stubborn. As one visionary priest – late Fr. Bernard Quintus OMI used to say, ‘cheap popularity is not going to get us anywhere.’ With the stepping down of Ashantha De Mel, cricket has found a scapegoat on whom all sins are pinned. It’s as if Sri Lankan cricket hit rock bottom due to De Mel’s blunders. The truth is far from it.
De Mel has been shredded to pieces in social media. At this rate, he will be even blamed for the extreme heat that people are experiencing in Mannar these days and not Rishad. Most of the things said about De Mel are not true. For example that his wife is related to Shiranthi Rajapaksa, the wife of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa! That’s a total fabrication.
However, what is true is that De Mel was Chairman of Selectors when Sri Lanka reached the finals of three World Cups – in 2007 in the Caribbean, in 2009 in London and in 2012 at RPS. For record’s sake, he was also Chairman of Selectors when Sri Lanka whitewashed England in their own backyard 5-0 in 2006. During his tenure, the national cricket team won Test matches in Pakistan, New Zealand, England, West Indies and South Africa….