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Don't trouble the President

It has been the rule rather than the exception of late for sportsmen to rush to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and complain about injustices done to them seeking redress from him.

Those complaining to the President must understand that he is facing more pressing problems which he is wracking his brains to solve and it is unfair and not sport to trouble him.

That the President is sports loving is well known. In addition to finding the time to solve some of the grievances of some sportsmen, he has also set in motion many projects for the benefit of sportsmen and women.

We would ask sportsmen rushing to the President not to do so unless some grave injustice has been done to them. We are not pointing fingers at any sportsperson.

If any grievance, then it must be first attempted to be sorted out by the controlling body. If that is not possible then they can take it to the Minister of Sport and it should be sorted out with him.

President  Rajapaksa

President Rajapaksa, in Gamini Lokuge has appointed a man whom he trusts and knows will deliver without fear or favour with justice to all. At times the Minister is bound to make mistakes. The minister is also human and is bound to err.

It is then for the sportsmen or women or the controlling body to show the Minister where he has gone wrong and not try to intimidate him and have their way.

We are not trying to tell the Minister or show him how. But would like to bowl it in to him, by asking him to remember that selection committees of all national sports bodies are appointed by him. It is no different with Interim bodies.

Then the minister must endeavour to play with his nominees and not query their selections, just because somebody sends a petition or the aggrieved party is some powerful individual's son or daughter.

If there has been a lapse by the selectors, then he should summon them, explain to them and hold an inquiry and if they can prove their bona fides then the matter should end there. He has appointed the selectors and he must trust them. Trust is what is important. Without trust nothing is possible, even in everyday life.

Where everything goes wrong is when powerful individuals with political clout, who know nothing of what has happened or taken place or know a bat from a ball attempt to bat, not knowing which side of the willow to use. The recent rugby jokes was created because the Minister initially initialled the choice of captain in Dhushanth Lewke and then got bowled off a no ball sent down by his detractors.

Had he stuck to the original selection of Lewke which was unanimous by the previous selectors and asked his detractors to go fly a kite, then everything would have been tickety boo. But as it is rugby is on the skids.

Rugby jokes continue

The rugby jokes that was the selections of two captains for the tour of Chinese Taipei, gathered momentum and had the sporting world here laughing their sides out when the selectors resigned and then hey presto they turn around and withdraw their resignations.

At the press conference to announce their resignations, the selectors had their tails up, blaming the Minister for forcing their hand because the Minister had removed a player and included another without their consent. They were admired because they had the guts and courage to stand by their convictions.

Then when the selectors seemed to have got sports people to forget the joke of two captains, they add another joke to the list by withdrawing their resignations.

So their tails stayed up for only a few moments. The next moment it came down as quickly as it went up and now it is tucked tightly between their legs.

Dinesh Weerawansa, Sports Editor of the 'Daily News' and Editor-in-chief, 'Sunday Observer', described it best and in a nut shell when he said in his popular column 'Sportswatch' - SHAMELESS AND DISGRACEFUL.

These unfortunate incidents will certainly affect the form of the players in the tournament and it was the consensus that the tour should have been called off.

Zimbab(no)we

When this is being read the Sri Lankan cricketers will be in Zimbabwe readying to meet their counterparts in five one-day internationals and some practice games. But surprisingly there would be no sports journalists on the spot in Zim to describe the action to readers in Sri Lanka. With Zimbabwe a 'no opponent' and no attraction to TV viewers, it is certain that there would be no TV coverage too, unless EYE takes strike to bring the action.

Read on for the reasons as to why there are no local journalists with the Lankan team. Journalists in any part of the cricket paying world are not asked to pay for their accreditation. It is no different in Sri Lanka.

But not in Zimbabwe. according to Lovemore Banda, Communication and Media, Zimbabwe Cricket, the accreditation charge for a journalist is - believe it or not which Ripley would like to include in his! 'Believe it or not' stories the fee is US dollars 1,500. In Sri Lankan money it is well over one hundred and fifty thousand. Journalists here described it as RIDICULOUS. In the circular sent to Sri Lanka Cricket there are many more hassles that would not encourage, but discourage journalists from going there.

I have been on two tours to Zimbabwe and other than for the visa fees there was no accreditation fees. Obviously the US dollars 1,500 demand is because the coutnry is dollar strapped.

Zimbabwe is a lovely country with so much for toursts with the Victoria Falls being something that has to be seen to be believed.

On my two tours I had the good fortune of enjoying the hospitality of Terry and Myrna Perera in Harare and Dr. Kitta and Soma Rajaratnam in Buluwayo. Had it not been for them I would have been stranded.

On every visit they play hosts to the cricketers and throw lavish parties. But with Zimbabwe becoming impossible for them, they have come back to good old Sri Lanka.

 

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