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Government Gazette

Cricket in a crisis

Personal favours and club politics has once again put Sri Lanka cricket in a crisis situation as the domestic premier tournament criteria has become a laughing stock.

It all began after the SLC took a controversial decision to retain Baduraliya Cricket Club in the Premier League Tier 'A' for the forthcoming domestic season. The club which seems to be a pet of some influential cricket officials fared miserably during the last season and as result a demotion for the lower division was imminent.

The SLC tournament rules clearly state that the last team in Tier 'A' of the Premier League will be demoted to the Tier 'B' to be replaced with the top team in the Tier 'B'. It is there in black and white and all what the SLC should have done was to act accordingly.

Baduraliya CC finished last in the Tier 'A' of the last Premier League season while Army Sports Club was the champions of Tier 'B'. Accordingly, Baduraliya CC should be demoted to the Tier 'B' while the Army SC should have been promoted to Tier 'A'.

Though the SLC promoted the soldiers to the Tier 'A', they did not demote Baduraliya CC to Tier 'B'. This resulted the Tier 'A' having 11 teams for the current season.

Apparently, this would have been done to satisfy a club official who has been a pet of the previous interim administration. It seems that the same person has now changed sides and trying to play the same 'game' with the anticipated SLC elections.

Blessed by an individual who is capable of dancing to any tune of the cricket 'gods', Baduraliya CC managed to remain in the Premier League Tier 'A' even after finishing at the bottom of the points table during last year's competition. Surprisingly, they were granted permission to remain

in the Tier 'A' tournament for another season following a 'special request' from the club.

That made a mockery of the current tournament structure as Baduraliya CC has no right to remain in Tier 'A' under any circumstances'. When the tournament rules clearly state that the worst team should be demoted to the lower division, how come such team makes an 'appeal' to remain in the same group and avert demotion. Of course any club could make such special appeals but those who run the game should have brains to stick to the tournament structure and strictly follow the criteria.

Sri Lanka Cricket seems to be in utter disarray as the controversy surrounding the Tournament Committee escalated with another resignation while three major sub committees - Tournament, Umpiring and Tour Organising all encountering serious problems. Key Tournament Committee Member Mahinda Halangoda - the former Thomian captain, resigned following the previous week's resignation of Committee chairman Air Commodore Ajith Jayasekara. They resigned as a mark of protest against SLC Interim committee decision to include Badureliya CC in Tier 'A'.

Halangoda and Jayasekera are respectable personalities and have always played a straight bat. Their resignations should be an eye opener to all and the Sports Ministry must promptly look into the high drama.

Instead, the misleading club official has now twisted the drama to suit his agenda. He has now painted a different picture before the Sports Ministry and is apparently trying to play a different ball game.

The SLC-conducted Under-23 tournament had a system of demoting the eight clubs which finish at the bottom of the final standings. But there was a no system to get those relegated teams back as there was no second division.

If the Tournament Committee (TC) was to sack eight teams out of the Under-23 tournament each year, there won't be a single team left in a couple of years time.

Hence, the TC organised a separate tournament amongst the eight teams that were thrown out of the Under-23 tournament to find a couple of teams which could be promoted back to the U-23 main tournament.

Apparently, the TC has not obtained the SLC ratification for the relegation tournament which was a mistake on their part. But this could not be taken as a precedent and take the TC to task as the Baduraliya CC is now trying.

We feel interested parties are trying to mislead the tournament committee and project a different picture that Baduraliya CC could remain in Tier 'A'.

The Sports Ministry, now investigating a complaint, must clearly understand that the Premier League has nothing to do with the Under-23 tournament. Just because the TC has failed to obtain SLC ratification for the separate relegation tournament for the eight clubs that were demoted from the Under-23 tournament that is a different issue. But that should not be used as an effective rule to justify Baduraliya CC to remain in the current Premier League 'A' tier.

Earlier, media reports said the SLC Interim Committee are likely to revise the decision on the inclusion of Baduraliya Cricket Club into the upcoming Premier League Tier 'A' tournament. SLC Tournament Manager Chaminda Mapatuna has said that the Interim Committee will consult the Cricket Committee headed by former Sri Lanka star Aravinda de Silva and take a final decision. The high-profile Cricket Committee is packed with reputed former Lankan players such as Duleep Mendis, Guy de Alwis, Michael Tissera, Hashan Tillekeratne and Graeme Labrooy.

The comedy of errors and the disastrous results could have been averted easily if the SLC Interim Committee cared to take a decision in consultation with the Tournament Committee, instead of pursuing their haughty attitude of retaining Baduraliya CC.

The SLC Interim Committee was to meet the Cricket Committee and the Tournament Committee at a special meeting last evening. But no final decision has been taken at the time of writing. Whatever the outcome would be, the continuous effort to retain Baduraliya CC till the last minute was a bad example and does not augur well for the game.

Media reports stated that two more Tournament Committee members Ravi de Silva and Aruna Gunawardena too would resign if there is no change in the decision to keep the wooden spoonists Badureliya CC.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
srilankans.com - news & information
Donate Now | defence.lk
LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka

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