‘Lanka Cricket - Another One for the Road! | Sunday Observer

‘Lanka Cricket - Another One for the Road!

Watching Sri Lanka cricketers these days, if one has nothing else to do, is predictably a boring and agonizing pastime. But not so with what is supposed to be the governing body.

There is never a dull moment. Just when you think that things are settling down, there is another bombshell! So it was when two members who were earlier cleared by a committee to contest the Sri Lanka Cricket board elections, were disqualified by another committee. All this generates a burst of income to the ‘Bartender in the Club Houses’.

And it will surely continue till the SLC Election Day scheduled on February 21. And who knows for another round of volatility thereafter. Give me one more round for the road-- ‘Bottoms up!’

There is canvassing at a fever pitch by those endeavouring to head the prestigious body. The game and the administration was meandering, run by competent authorities with nothing meaningful being done to resurrect the game. The game itself is and the administration is heading into oblivion, with ever fading hope.

In a way all this is entertaining with contestants going at each other’s jugular, washing dirty linen, slinging mud which we have sadly made a fine art of.

What is sadly lacking is a manifesto from the contestants indicating what the winners will do to streamline the administration, improve the game and cleanse the bad name and image that alleged match-fixing has defaced the beauty that Sri Lanka cricket once was.

When it comes to politics and a general election it is expected that the contestants make public their policy statement, elaborating what they intend to do for the betterment of the citizen and the country. But inexplicably nothing like that has been said or done by those seeking election to head Sri Lanka Cricket.

Every media conference called for sees only allegations and counter allegations being levelled by each contesting party and nothing spelt out what the future holds for the game, the player or the administration. They are on the wrong bus, not knowing where they are headed.

Whoever is voted into power will have a gargantuan task to perform. First on the agenda will be to bat and see that a team capable of not only just making the numbers, but qualifying for the all-important World Cup that will be held in England in May/ June. Nothing short of at least contesting the final will stop the cricket mad fans of baying for blood.

Having said that here’s hoping that the side that deserves to get elected to run the destinies of the game start their innings by bringing stability to the game and bring an end to the revolving door with constant chopping and changing of Captains of the Sri Lanka team.

Captaincy, this columnist can say with first hand experience of being in that role is the most unenviable aspect of playing the game. One day the job of captaincy could be joy when you win. On another day it can turn cruel the time you lose a game. From Hero to Villain!

With not much time before the World Cup in May/June, the selectors’ most sacred job is to find and prepare a captain and a team of cricketing warriors who will have the attributes to bring back dignity to cricket in Sri Lanka.

Sadly though as for us, we see no player who can get anywhere near the best captain we produced before gaining Test status in MICHAEL TISSERA or a captain after gaining Test status like ‘Captain Cool’ ARJUNA RANATUNGA.

The writer had the good fortune of playing with and against TISSERA in school and club cricket and under his leadership for the Board President’s team and can vouch for his expert and outstanding qualities as a captain par excellence.

TISSERA had the good fortune of playing under and learning the captaincy trade under Vernon Prins who was known as the Prince of captains at Nondescripts and then Sri Lanka and later C.I.Gunesekera when Gunesekera captained the country.

TISSERA it must be said had captaincy blood in his genes. He led the country to its first ever unofficial Test victory against India led by Pataudi at Ahamadebad. This he repeated against Pakistan led by Imtiaz Ahmed at the Colombo Oval.

TISSERA had the brains of a shrewd, clever, skillful and gentleman captain. He led when the game had not yet attained Test status and when the game was not professionalized or commercialized and it did not require being a mean machine.

RANATUNGA had the attributes of a shrewd and tough captain in an era where acting the gentleman, in the gentlemen’s game did not matter nor was it paramount. He took on all opposing captains, even terms, showing no inferiority, but resorting to street fighter tactics like did Pakistani captain Javed Miandad when the need arose.

With winning the World Cup being the utmost priority, I suggest that the new elected members of Sri Lanka Cricket and the selectors pick the captain and send him for a crash course in learning what captaincy is to MICHAEL TISSERA and ARJUNA RANATUNGA. They sure would be too glad to help and lick into shape a captain who will carry with him fire and brimstone that is essential in today’s game.

The selectors will also be cheered if they could invite two other former great captains Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara to also mentor the captain and team and inspire and motivate them to play from out of their skins and make the impossible dream possible.

By the way play a straight bat and enjoy life now. It has an expiry date on it.

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