Cricket dons out­line Lankan cricket fu­ture

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - COMMENT - By M. Shamil Amit

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

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