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
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, 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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.