July 6, 2011 12:59:55 am
Kumar Sangakkara,till recently the Sri Lankan captain and one of the batting mainstays of the team,has launched a scathing attack against his own cricket establishment,accusing it of causing rift,ill-feeling and distrust in the side.
In an hour-long speech at the MCC Spirit of Cricket Colin Cowdrey Lecture that earned him a standing ovation,Sangakkara slammed Sri Lanka Cricket for corrupt practices and hinted that he was forced to step down from captaincy after only two years at the helm.
Sangakkara said the countrys cricket administration has turned from a volunteer-led organisation run by well-meaning men of integrity (in 1996) into a multi-million-dollar organisation that has been in turmoil ever since.
Although he didnt take Sanath Jayasuriyas name,he did express his displeasure at how the cricketer-turned-politician was recalled into the team for a one-off Twenty20 and the first ODI against England.
Without taking names,Sangakkara voiced his concern at the direction the sport in his country is now heading. Players from within the team itself became involved in power games within the board. Officials elected to power in this way in turn manipulated player loyalty to achieve their own ends. At times,board politics would spill over into the team causing rift,ill feeling and distrust, he said.
Lack of accountability
Sangakkara also felt that lack of accountability has been the bane of Lankan cricket which has left the board without consistent administration. Accountability and transparency in administration and credibility of conduct were lost in a mad power struggle that would leave Sri Lankan Cricket with no consistent and clear administration.
Presidents and elected executive committees would come and go; government-picked interim committees would be appointed and dissolved, he said. The Sri Lankan sports minister had recently announced that the entire national cricket board committee would be forced to step down,following allegations of financial mismanagement that left the co-hosts of the recent World Cup with a $69 million bill.
That announcement followed the ICC meeting in Hong Kong,at which a directive was issued,stating that cricket boards had to be free of political interference by June 2013,or face the prospect of sanctions. After 1996 the cricket board has been controlled and administered by a handful of well-meaning individuals either personally or by proxy rotated in and out depending on appointment or election, said Sangakkara.
Unfortunately to consolidate and perpetuate their power they opened the door of the administration to partisan cronies that would lead to corruption and wanton waste of cricket board finances and resources.
The stylish southpaw feels that the confusion still remains. It was and still is confusing. Accusations of vote buying and rigging,player interference due to lobbying from each side and even violence at the AGMs,including the brandishing of weapons and ugly fist fights,have characterised cricket board elections for as long as I can remember, he rued.
The speech has landed Sangakkara in trouble,who is likely to be called for an explanation by the countrys Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage. According to the state news agency Lankapuwath,Aluthgamage had called the newly elected interim committee of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to examine the remarks made by the former captain.
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