Sunday, March 22, 2009

New cricket administration under scrutiny

Sri Lanka Cricket’s new interim committee headed by former leg-spinner DS de Silva was straight away put under the microscope in the most bizarre fashion when one of its employees barged in to the inaugural conference they had with the media last Wednesday breaking all protocol and trying to use the forum to present his side of the story.

This employee who had survived under several previous cricket administrations has been under the spotlight from the media for his nefarious activities which have so far gone unheeded giving the individual a sense of self-imposed power that he is ‘untouchable’ and that he could get away with anything under the sun.

This individual known as BH Perera or to some as ‘Podi Sir’ or often referred to in the media as the ‘Tender Fraudster’ was put in his place by the interim committee chairman DS de Silva who ordered him out of the meeting but not before he had created some kind of drama in front of a packed media audience that soaked up every bit of the action that took place before their very eyes.

The new interim committee straightaway went into action issuing a press statement a few hours after the incident apologising to the media over the incident and suspending the employee from employment pending an inquiry. A further release issued two days after the incident stated that Perera had been handed a letter of suspension from all duties related to Sri Lanka Cricket pending an inquiry.

The integrity of the new interim committee is in question as to what type of action they would take against Perera who has proved quite immune to allegations and charges brought against him under previous administrations. The new interim chairman made it clear at the inaugural press briefing that his committee would be above political fiefdom and would tolerate no outside interference referring to the Ministry of Sports which hounded the previous interim administration headed by Arjuna Ranatunga for virtually every action they took. Let’s wait and see.

Whilst commending the action taken so far by the De Silva administration reports in the media indicate that moves are afoot to replace the CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket Duleep Mendis ahead of his contractual period which ends in December. So far no charges have been brought against Mendis and any reasons given why his services are no longer needed by the present administration. Mendis has served in this position for the past five years and has been an employee of SLC since 2000 serving initially in the capacity of National Cricket Development chairman. Reports suggest that he is to be given a golden hand shake and paid his salary upfront and asked to leave for reasons best known to the interim committee. But any such move at this stage is bound to push back the progress of the new administration which is at its infancy stage having been in office for only 10 days being appointed on March 12. Needless to say the seven appointed personnel in the committee don’t carry much weight in terms of cricket administrative experience.

The De Silva management should not act like the way a new government does when it comes to power making wholesale changes for the sake of a change without any tangible reasons. To do so would be to invite disaster into the fold. Mendis may have his faults and misgivings but to remove him at this stage would deprive the new administration of the much needed experience that the former national captain could bring to the table. The best way is to make the maximum use of Mendis’ experience and try to develop Sri Lanka cricket for the next two years which the chairman has stated are the most vital years for cricket in this country, rather than banish him and replace him with someone with lesser experience.

It would be imprudent to remove Mendis from his position at this point of time where he is the only recognized individual all international cricket boards and the International Cricket Council (ICC) have come to accept and respect as the sole representative of Sri Lanka Cricket in a vulnerable environment where cricket administration keeps changing like one changes infants nappies.

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