(Pics by Chandana Wijesinghe)

Imagine what’s on the minds of Sri Lanka’s cricketers who are touring New Zealand with days ticking away before Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) conducts its Annual General Meeting (AGM)?

Gone are the days when SLC, earlier known as the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka, was administered by gentlemen with no personal agendas.

You could be right if the answer is, ‘who would be our new boss’. It’s certainly not the best time to have such thoughts, especially when you are in a foreign country and getting accustomed to alien conditions. Cricket is a sport where you play to your strengths and don’t stray away from your comfort zones. For any cricketer it is comforting to know that his salary is going to your bank account and that his paymaster is stable and also watching him play, even if he is far away from where the cricketers are doing national duty. But Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) AGM being scheduled to be held on January 3 and Sri Lanka’s final match in Kiwi Land scheduled for January 10 means that the national cricketers will be returning to their place of employment which most certainly will see big changes in its executive committee.

For cricket watchers both local and international, the way the scales will tip will be of great interest. On one side is Thilanga Sumathipala teaming with Jayantha Dharmadasa while on the other side is Nishantha Ranathunga backed by his brother Arjuna and Asanga Seneviratna.

A well informed cricket source told Nation that if the appointment of Sumathipala materializes the majority of clubs that hold clout at the elections will see their wishes come true. According to him, Sumathipala is a go-getter and enjoys a healthy rapport with the clubs and national players. One of the talking points in the cricket circles is that Sumathipala is now cleared from being associated with the gambling industry and will not encounter obstacles when contesting.

Sumathipala is a shrewd tactician and his teaming up with Jayantha Dharmadsa for the elections means he has found a back-up candidate to contest for the top post at SLC if his nomination is rejected under any circumstance.

Sri Lanka Cricket (2)The man who made it happen for Sri Lanka in Lahore in 1996 with his leadership, Arjuna Ranatunga, is backing his brother Nishantha Ranatunga, who is contesting for the post of president. Nishantha was the secretary of the administration arm of the SLC which is being investigated for corruption charges. Sumith Perera is the other candidate who is contesting for the post of President at SLC.

Anyone riding the popularity wave created by Sumathipala is bound to be on a healthy wicket. The candidate for the post of Vice President, Dharmadasa, backed by Sumathipala, is likely to pull the votes contesting against Arjuna Ranathunga. The former world cup winning captain has realized the hard way that being straight and honest in ‘sports politics’ means you will have few supporters. Arjuna has voiced his concerns regarding corruption at SLC and its public knowledge now that the release of a corruption report compiled regarding investigations at SLC has been delayed to stop any party capitalizing on it before the elections. The other candidate contesting for the Vice President’s post is K.Mathivanan.

Gone are the days when SLC, earlier known as the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka, was administered by gentlemen with no personal agendas. The approach to cricket from playing the sport to getting involved as an administrator or coach underwent a massive change after the islanders bagged the Wills Cricket World Cup in 1996. If the change in approach to the physical aspect of the game can be likened to boy growing up to be an adult, the change from the ‘amateurish’ nature of running affairs at SLC to one of professionalism happened like caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. From a finance perspective, this institute took the shape of a gold mine over the years.

Two prominent names in the cricket scene Mohan de Silva and Shammi Silva are contesting for the post of Secretary and Treasurer respectively.

Director General of Sports K.D.S. Ruwanchandra has given the green light to all candidates to prepare for the SLC AGM after deciding that 14 objections raised regarding some of the candidates were not backed by sufficient proof.