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
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
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.