Dear Mr President
Your Sri Lanka Cricket Team has just completed a very successful tour of Australia. They played a style of cricket that brought glory to their homeland and they won many new fans in Australia and world wide.
Their brand of cricket also brought out the true character of the Sri Lanka cricket fan in Australia and rarely have we seen, even in Sri Lanka, the atmosphere, the spectacle and the true splendour of song, dance and cheer as created by the Sri Lanka supporters in Sydney and Melbourne.
So, Mr President, I thought the time was right and appropriate for me to make this plea to you for changes and improvements on behalf of all Sri Lanka cricket fans and, of course, the players. When you think about it, the game belongs to them, not to you, not to your Ministers and not your Board.
The pride of Sri Lanka is her cricket team. In players such as Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Dilshan, Chandimal, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekera and many current and former players. Sri Lanka has the talent and cricket heritage to make cricket and the national team the envy of the cricket world.
So why do you allow unqualified, unethical, corrupt and politically motivated individuals and Ministers administer the game? The results are there for all to see and the stories we have heard about the waste, the corruption and the scandals have sent waves of disappointment, anger and disgust through the cricket world and has hurt Sri Lanka cricket internationally.
Mr President, we need to ensure that
- Our cricketers are “paid up”, happy and contented to ensure they perform at their best.
- Our Cricket Administrators are qualified, business savvy, honest as daylight, loyal to Sri Lanka cricket and free of corruption and political agendas so that cricket in Sri Lanka is able to develop to the next level. Our cricket fans have had enough of these do-gooders making use of Sri Lanka cricket as their gravy train.
- The game is for the people and the players. Not for the politically powerful bureaucrat to line his pockets.
School Cricket in Sri Lanka
My friend Ranjit Fernando, school cricketer, commentator and selector, reminds me that I am just one of the many thousands of cricketers that have sprung out of the Sri Lankan School Cricket system and have reached some form of recognition in their field.Politicians, academics, servicemen, judges and legal professionals, educators, scientists, engineers, financiers, accountants and more – people from every strata of Sri Lankan society at home and abroad have come through our wonderful Sri Lanka School Cricket system.
Mr President, this is possibly the most important advice I can give you.
The School Cricket system in Sri Lanka must never be allowed to die.
It has to be nurtured and allowed to flourish as it has done for over a century.
Many a great and admired name as famous as the Mahela Jayawardene’s, the Sangakkara’s, Dilshan, Muralitharan, Tissera, de Silva and Tennekoon have brought glory to our cricketing country through the path, the leadership, the discipline and training provided through the School Cricket system.
On the other hand, so much of the waste from corruption, the wars, the building of unnecessary stadiums, and politically motivated salaries of ministers could be channelled to ensure our School Cricket system flourishes and develops to even better and bigger things, so we can produce more leaders such as Mahela Jayawardene & Kumar Sangakkara and more champions of the likes of Muralitharan, Aravinda de Silva and Sanath Jayasuriya, to name just a few.
Would it not have been better, Mr President, to have built ten smaller provincial school and community cricket and sports grounds in your name than the one massive stadium in Hambantota – which now stands useless and empty with a debt the Board of Sri Lanka Cricket can ill afford?
So Mr President, let’s clean up our act and our game in Sri Lanka. What are we going to do about the billions of rupees owed by Sri Lanka cricket? What are we going to do about the billions spent on that “white elephant” of a stadium built in your electorate? You owe some responsibility to the people, the cricket lovers of Sri Lanka. This has happened on your watch.
Clean it up Mr President and, like your cricket team has just done under your new Captain and Cricket Board, let us begin all over again.
You owe it to your people.
Harry Solomons, Sydney
15th March 2012