Achchaaaru, Mallun and Mayhem in the Selection Process at Sri Lanka CricketMarch 8, 2016
Sa’adi Thawfeeq, courtesy of the Daily News, 8 March 2016,where the title is “Chaos at SLC over selection policy”
On the eve of the Sri Lanka cricket team’s departure to the ICC World Twenty20 in India tonight mayhem and confusion over selection differences has arisen between Sri Lanka Cricket administrators and the current national selectors. There was further speculation that the Sports Minister has changed the current set of selectors and a new selection committee has been appointed yesterday night to make whatever changes that needs to be done to the already picked squad of 15.
As to how a new selection committee can make changes or pick a squad for a T20 World Cup without any sort of knowledge and in-depth study on the players’ performance is questionable.
However we do not have confirmation to the effect that the current selection committee has been removed to give way to a new selection committee. We could not verify this from the chairman of selectors Kapila Wijegunawardene who could not be contacted yesterday. Nevertheless we reliably understand that approaches have been made to high profile past cricketers like Sanath Jayasuriya and Roshan Mahanama who for reasons best known to them have turned down the offer and the names put forward subsequently for the Minister’s approval are Aravinda de Silva (chairman), Lalith Kaluperuma, Romesh Kaluwitharana and Ranjith Madurasinghe. This committee is expected to function for 40 days.
The whole issue came up when Sri Lanka T20 captain appointed for the World Cup Lasith Malinga informed SLC on his return from Bangladesh that he was stepping down from the captaincy to undergo treatment to his injured left knee and that he would not be able join the team till March 15. Sri Lanka’s opening match of the World T20 is on March 17 at Kolkata. The idea was to retain Malinga in the squad of 15 so that he would be able to join them later.
However the Daily News reliably learns that the national selectors had acted on a report from team physio Steven Mount on Malinga’s fitness and dropped him from the squad and replaced him with Kasun Rajitha. Further it is learnt that the selectors had appointed Dinesh Chandimal to captain the team to the World T20.
These decisions have not gone down well with the SLC hierarchy who feel that the national selectors have ignored repeated requests to follow certain guidelines laid down by them and they have subsequently sought a change of the national selection committee even though their appointed term does not cease until the end of March.
We do not know whether this is tantamount to interference by the administrators on national selections as the national selectors are answerable only to the Minister of Sport who appoints them based on the recommendations given to them by SLC. This new selection committee following the approval of the Minister of Sport was to sit last night and pick the team for the World T20 in concurrence with the coach and captain.
It is learnt that Malinga will be retained in the 15-member squad and Angelo Mathews asked to lead Sri Lanka in the World T20 tournament. Initially the current selectors picked a 15-member squad for both the Asia Cup and the World T20 however it is learnt that changes can be made to the World T20 team as the deadline for teams playing in the second round of the tournament is March 8 (today).
Sri Lanka underwent a disastrous Asia Cup in Bangladesh where they managed a solitary win over associate member country UAE out of four matches and failed to defend the title they won in 2014 by not qualifying for the final.
It is sad to note that an underperforming World Cup squad has been put into further confusion by what is happing within the current set of administrators. It has certainly caused a certain amount of anxiety and uncertainty amongst the players who are unaware of whether they are selected or not. How this team is expected to perform is a further mystery as they have a tough task in having to defend the trophy they won two years ago.