SL Cricket: Survival of the most influential
Daily Mirror Editorial
Jan 23, 2011

It was a sorry sight, the manner in which the Sri Lankan cricket team was being swept away by the currents of defeats one after the other. For various reasons that are better known to the arbitrary authorities who control the game, the team hardly looks like the one that was qualified for the World Cup final in April 2011. Hence, the victory at Kimberly was a massive sigh of relief for everyone who thought the countryís cricket was marching towards its eternal sleep.

At the outset, the drastic changes that were made in order to revamp the cricket played by the national team, may not be entirely unexpected. However, the question remains whether it will serve the purpose, given the nature of the changes and the persons who had been brought in as replacements. While the tenure of T.M. Dilshanís captaincy is likely to end with this series, press records Geoff March will also have to pack his bags. However, one wonders what parameters used by the decision-maker to conclude, Marsh, who did not get enough chances to prove himself, a failure, in the same vein the old wine in new bottles are capable of bending the teamís losing streak. Now with the new changes, the man that was brought in by the system, Ashantha de Mel, has a history that does not commend him to be the most efficient of men. The hedging deal speaks for itself. Only the future will tell whether he can live up to the expectations.

The rotten fruits of 1996 post World Cup politicization of cricket have continued to spoil the cake. In fact, Sri Lanka is the only country in the world that goes with the democratic label and still allows political interference in team selections. At the end of the day, it is not the countryís best eleven that gets down to the field, but a personal best of some high head who canít differentiate a rubber ball from a leather ball. We were known to have been playing a spirited game and those who spirited it away were none other than the politicians who put their private agendas before the countryís pride.

Now, for better or for worse, a change is demanded by both the authorities and the cricket-lovers. The mission is underway to restructure the collapsing skeleton of the Sri Lankan cricket. The team has been paying off for the sins and the incongruous actions of the authorities; which should not be the case anymore. For a fan who does not know what is going on behind the curtains, the be all and end all, is a loss or a victory; throwing eleven men to the lionís den of public fury cannot be called justice.

In this endevour, if Sri Lanka is looking forward to start afresh, the mission should not be about thickening the private pockets of the politicians and the high heads that run the system. The countryís pride is at stake. It might not matter to those who do not know the definition of the word. Yet it matters to the public.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka