Cricket dons outline Lankan cricket future
Acricket advisory committee set up by the Ministry of Sports has proposed radical restructuring of the country’s domestic cricket structure by strengthening the provincial cricket tournament over the clubs tournament. This was cited at a presentation made by the committee members to the Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekera and all stakeholders including members of the Sri Lanka Cricket on Thursday at the Ministry of Sports.
The committee which includes three former cricketing icons, Aravinda de Silva, Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara have often demanded a urgent revamping of the weak domestic cricket structure to bridge the unacceptably wide gap between domestic and international cricket. The committee is headed by Hemaka Amarasuriya, a respected business leader and a former cricket administrator.
The proposal also outlines the clustering the clubs to form the four provincial teams. Each provincial team will have 20 players selected after thorough vetting of their performances during the inter- club cricket tournament which will start next weekend.
According to sources, there had been positive vibes with regard to the proposed provincial structure among the stakeholders but two clubs—SSC and CCC have strongly resisted a change to the present inter-club system.
The existing club tournament is being played in two tiers—A and B. Tier A will consist of the top 14 clubs who will initially play in two groups of seven teams before the top four in each group play against each other in the Super Eight tournament. The remaining six teams will p l ay for the Plat e Championships.
However, Jayawardena who has repeatedly criticized the fundamentally flawed existing domestic structure wants all 24 clubs to play in one tournament to allow all top players to play against each other.
“We had a very informative session with them on Thursday and their proposal was principally agreed by the stakeholders. They were some resistance from tow clubs with regard to the inter-club tournament but I am we can come to finality,” Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera said.
SLC has been under fire from most quarters with many past and present cricketers uniting in their call for a radical change to the existing first class structure which has been conveniently overlooked by successive administrators—to arrest the current slide of the national team.
Their proposal also includes a healthy remuneration package for all players in the provincial teams ranging from Rs. two to three million which will help SLC retain players in the system. Due to the poor payment structure, most players travel aboard to play in grade tournaments.
Last year SLC offered annual contracts to 70 domestic cricketers and were paid a contract fee between Rs. 300,000 to Rs. 1.2 million a year depending on their respective categories and performances. The contract period was for a one year period, but at the conclusion of the domestic season, they were allowed to play in any part of the world.
The initial meeting where former cricketing brains got together to explore a permanent answer for ongoing woes - File pic