Help Sri Lankan cricket gain impetus now

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By 2018-02-14

By Dyan Pathiravithana

From its humble beginnings, a game supposedly started by shepherd boys, cricket evolved into a more sophisticated game around the 16th Century. The fields where the game was played were owned by Landlords who thought of it as a good investment and leased out their land for the game to be played on and betted on it.

So the potential for it to be a commercially viable industry was felt as far back as those days mentioned above. Today we see the results and know its potential in the entertainment industry. These opportunities to be in partnership in such industries do not come easy. And, when they do come around in this modern world, should be accepted and made use of to accumulate as much wealth as one can do to their potential with such a commercial venture that fell on our lap as it did with the first World Cup 1975. India is just doing fine and living it up as the biggest stakeholders in the industry.

To do that Sri Lanka needs to act like India to position itself in the international scene. They should be able to properly gauge where they stand and how they can move forward. The 1996 win showed Sri Lanka had capabilities to be in the top rung, which they have not been able to exploit. There may be several reasons, but the most important is to eradicate personal agendas which almost got us into a hole. Being there for the game should be the most important of all agendas.

Looking back, one could observe that those who stepped into those shoes at SLC could not manage because they had their own agendas and thought of cricket the way they managed their dens. Bad management and choices had only left the cupboards bare at SLC. Then they had to borrow on the future of the game to survive. There is money coming in thanks to tour programmes that have included Sri Lanka as a venue and grants from the ICC. And, the lean times that came about through these miseries were not acceptable and they had no other choice with the Coach's job but bring Hathurusinghe in. Hathurusinghe was thought up as the answer to woes Sri Lanka had been through and has made a useful turn around with the team. Well, you could say that he got a team that had been through the rebuilding process for many moons: Of course, with no satisfactory results shown for over a course of about close to thousand days. Not only were they not able to be consistent and do so in all three departments.

When you look at their performances for 2016/17 they were playing South Africa and lost the Test series as well as the shorter formats very badly. In doing so they lost some players due to injury (Dhammika Prasad and Angelo Mathews), affecting the outcome to a great extent. Drew the Test series with Bangladesh in 2016 and managed to beat Zimbabwe 1-0 in 2017, lost the Tests to India 3-0 and managed to beat Pakistan 2-0 which showed the potential of the team when beating them in their stronghold Dubai: Then again, lost a three match Test series to India 1-0.

To make Sri Lankan cricketers who are on the rise to be confident of whatever their undertaking is and make the turnaround was done by their present coach, especially starting on the recent tour of Bangladesh. With Hathurusinghe in place who knew Bangladesh in and out and unless Hathu has information, SLC must now hunt down possibly a West Indian to suit our needs to work with Hathu. This must take place before the West Indian tour in June.

And if the rosy picture drawn by the SLC on their financial stability is true then now is the time for more momentous tasks to be undertaken for the sake of local cricket that still needs backing to overcome their underdog status.

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