Written by Staff Writer
18 Mar, 2019 | 8:36 am
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Today(March 17) marks the 23rd anniversary of the 1996 ICC Cricket World Cup victory by Sri Lanka against Australia.
This difficult task of putting Sri Lanka on the world map was not accomplished in a single day.
From the moment Sri Lanka was granted its ICC test status, the journey leading to “underdog” Sri Lanka to victory in the cricket world championship, was not a simple task.
The world, most importantly Sri Lanka should admit it was the fruition of blood, sweat and tears of far too many.
It was reported that the true and ardent fans of the game and the officials back in the day worked tirelessly with a concrete plan even before Sri Lanka was granted the ICC Test status on the 21st of July 1981. It is with utmost gratitude avid Sri Lankan Cricket fans remember that Ana Punchihewa was the President of Sri Lanka Cricket in 1996.
There could be no better day to reflect on the dire plight of Sri Lankan cricket other than the 23rd anniversary of that glorious day.
Sanath Jayasuriya, former Sri Lanka Cricket Captain aka “master blaster” shared his thoughts with News 1st.
He stressed that there is a difference in how things were carried out back then and how they are carried out now. He noted in his day it was a passion and they were driven by bringing glory to their motherland, today it has deteriorated into a mere profession. He finally noted that it is the player’s duty to carry out his duties for his country and think of their fans.
It is an undisputed fact that Ana Punchihewa’s conduct was exemplary in cricket and ultimately to the country. It is however questionable as to what the people who were appointed to the helm of Sri Lanka cricket, after him, did for its betterment. Did they actually do anything concrete to uplift and strengthen cricket in the country with a proper plan, or did they only try to achieve personal benefits?
Another fact that effectively stands out is the fact that in all instances where an interim committee was in place at SLC, Sri Lanka performed well at the tournaments. After 2003 Sri Lanka Cricket was embroiled in power struggles. A few people who represented several key factions at SLC made sure that its leadership was passed on from one person to another for money. The catastrophe of this corruption and power struggle is evident today from the plight of the Sri Lanka Cricket.
The fate of the US$ 500mn that was transferred from local bank accounts to a foreign account with regard to broadcasting rights still remains a mystery. It was reported recently that the Auditor General himself arrived at Sri Lanka Cricket regarding an audit that was being carried out there revealing the gravity of the situation.
The current administration does not seem to be looking at ways to develop cricket at school level which would ultimately lift the spirit of the game.
This nation is a country that has won two world champion titles. Against such a backdrop, it is also questionable as to whether SLC has a plan for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup which is a mere 74 days away, other than changing captains.
It is also reported that SLC has decided to hold a local tournament to select players for the team that will represent Sri Lanka at the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup.
Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, former Sri Lanka Cricket Captain who led the team to victory in 1996 noted that the decision to hold local tournaments reveals the level of competence of the officials. He added that ignorance of the existing officials would doom Sri Lankan Cricket.
In 1996, when the country was engulfed with fear in terms of a raging war, cricket united the country devoid of caste, creed or race.
Against the backdrop where cricket in the country, is going from bad to worse, and in a situation where even the players are quarrelling among themselves regarding personal affairs, will the Sri Lankan team be able to unify the people of the country under one goal?
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