Four former Presidents of Sri Lanka Cricket; Ana Punchihewa, Rienzie Wijetilleke, Vijaya Malalasekara and Sidath Wettimuny along with some prominent and well respected individuals moved the Appeal Court to change the governance and voting structure of Sri Lanka Cricket.
Sri Lanka Cricket hierarchy that came in for a severe censure last week by the Parliamentary watchdog COPE has received another blow with a group of well respected individuals moving the Appeal Court requesting for a restructure of the governance and voting structure of Sri Lanka Cricket.
The group of petitioners includes some high profile individuals like world’s highest wicket taker Muttiah Muralitharan, former SLC Presidents Ana Punchihewa, Rienzie Wijetilleke, Sidath Wettimuny, former captain Michael Tissera, Sri Lanka’s former High Commissioner to Australia S. Skandakumar, eminent President’s Counsel Dinal Philips and many others.
The petitioners point out that cricket is now a million dollar business and the alarming decline of the sport in Sri Lanka can be only addressed through a complete revamp.
It has been pointed out that a new constitution needs to be put in place for cricket with the support of the ICC bringing independence, integrity, transparency and accountability.
The petition has gone onto prove that the government can be told to act with regards to the sports body through an intervention of judiciary as it happened in India whereas a direct involvement by the government could result in the suspension of SLC by the ICC like it happened in Zimbabwe.
The well researched petition goes onto show that from the 1st of January 2016 to 31st January 2021, the national cricket team has lost 118 of the 194 international matches they have been involved in with a winning percentage of 30%. The root cause of the decline in the sport is poor governance, it has been argued.
The petition goes onto show that the system we have in place encourages office bearers of SLC to satisfy the clubs – their vote base and further points out that that SLC is a body of the clubs, by the clubs, for the clubs. A more appropriate name for SLC, the petition says, would be Cricket Clubs of Sri Lanka (CCSL).
On gender equality it has been pointed out that the national female population is 52% but the role of women in governance of the sport is zero.
Several former greats have pointed out that a diluted First Class tournament is not helping cricket in Sri Lanka but SLC has failed to act as reduction of First Class teams would anger their vote base; clubs. It is strange that how for a population of 22 million Sri Lanka has a monumental 24 First Class teams and comparatively for a population of 25 million, Australia has just six First Class teams.
Another pertinent point to come out of the petition is how India with a population of 1.3 billion has a vote base of just 38 whereas with a population of 22 million, Sri Lanka has 146 votes at the cricket elections.
The petitioners point out that they intend to drag SLC into the 21st century from its anarchic amateur practices of the 19th century.
Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa and the Executive Committee of SLC have been named as respondents in the petition. If the Sports Minister, who has promised to address cricket’s decline, agrees that changes need to be done at the next court hearing, cricket is set for a massive revival.