Sa’adi Thawfeeq, in Daily News, 7 November 2015, with title “Interim Committee saved Rs 438.7 million on waste”
With the Sports Minister calling for elections to Sri Lanka Cricket next month it is only a matter of less than two months before the interim committee headed by former Sri Lanka Test cricketer Sidath Wettimuny will cease to function. Unlike some similar committees of the past Wettimuny and Co can leave with their heads held high.When the interim committee took over on April 1, they started with a Rs. 207 million overdraft and owed US$ 7.8 million to the ICC and the Bank of Ceylon.
“I can proudly say that today we have over Rs. 200 million in the bank plus another US$ 4.6 million in reserve with the ICC to come. It’s a very healthy financial situation,” said Wettimuny. He also revealed that the amount they owed Bank of Ceylon has been brought down to US$ 370,000 which they plan to pay shortly.
Making some startling revelations Wettimuny stated, ” In the first five months of our operation from an expenditure budget of over Rs. 1.4 billion approximately we saved Rs. 438.7 million, nearly 30 percent by being cautious and going slow because the next year is not going to be a good one. “We have cut at every turn and stopped unnecessary expenditure. We want to make sure that when we go we leave a healthy balance sheet.”
On the cricket side Wettimuny said that the national cricket team was “well under control” and that the players were happy with Jerome Jayaratne as the head coach. “We have a superb trainer and you’ll see the fielding standards have gone up and we have a happy dressing room because we have a very good team now,” said Wettimuny. “The selectors are doing a great job and cricket is going in the right direction.”
Wettimuny expressed confidence the way the Sri Lanka under 19 cricketers were shaping up for the upcoming under 19 World Cup in Bangladesh. “We have a very good crop of players this time and we should do well in the under 19 World Cup,” said Wettimuny. “Roger (Wijesuriya) and Avishka (Gunawardene) are working really hard. I am sure we will do much better than in the recent past. The key there is not to peak too early.”
Wettimuny said that they were very mindful not to pick bowlers with suspect actions for the world event. “We are very much in focus and have sent a few of them to Chennai for testing.”
On the infrastructure part Wettimuny said, “Whatever we wanted to do I have done. We have started indoor facilities at Khettarama, Dambulla and Pallekele. We have also ordered indoor facilities for all the international stadiums – Hambantota, Khettarama, Dambulla, Pallekele and Galle. Trainer Michael Main is co-ordinating it and we will have qualified trainers, physios, managers, coaches etc at every centre.”
Wettimuny also stated that payments for players had been increased hugely and added, “We put the payments into a different level where if you play you earn. There is a new payment structure in place and there is an ongoing soft skills program going on in 11 different areas where players are being educate from under 19 to national level. It’s a vital thing to educate our players so that they become confident men”.
A psychologist from Australia has been working for the past three months on SLC employees, men’s and women’s teams, under 19 team and the coaches making it a very happy environment for cricket.