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Lasith Malinga (File photo)

Several renowned personalities in the sports scene aired their views on the unhealthy attitude of sportsmen and coaches and what went wrong at the 2016 T 20 World Cup, at  a lecture on sport which was organized by ‘Save the Sports in Sri Lanka’ and held at National Library Auditorium in Colombo a few days ago.
One of the key factors highlighted by Cricket Selection Committee Chairman Aravinda de Silva who spoke at the lecture was that present day cricket coaches are not grooming good captains. De Silva had said that coaches are more concerned about their futures and hence control the proceedings at the middle by sending instructions to captains from the boundary line.

He had gone onto recall how coaches who taught him at junior level groomed him and made him think of how a player should do duty for the national team.

De Silva taking responsibility for the team’s debacle at the World T 20 must be commended. But he had been quite forthright in his comments about the non-availability of Lasith Malinga, who, according to the player, was due to injury. De Silva showed he wasn’t happy with Malinga’s non-availability and said, “Let’s see for which tours Malinga will be fit in the future”. He added that he was aware that the team’s morale had dipped before the T 20 World Cup in India. Former World Cup winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga said that it was pointless, considering playing Malinga against opponents like Afghanistan and added that he should make himself available when Sri Lanka is playing against the best in the world.

De Silva pointed out that it was pointless for individuals to fight among themselves, come election time. He said that the five provinces where cricket is played in a big way should take turns in presenting a candidate for the cricket board elections. He said that this is the best way to move forward in terms of cricket administration.

Ranatunga added that the West Indies players, talking openly about how they were shabbily treated exposed the truths about how the West Indies Cricket Board was treating its players. He commended the rise the West Indies cricket and underscored the fact that the Caribbean Island cricketers had won the T 20 World Cups (men and women) and the Junior World Cup too.

Physical Education Instructor at Peradeniya University Anuja Liyanarachchci said that the champion West Indies side running onto the pitch and later removing their shirts to celebrate the win showed they were physically fit. He implied that an athlete wouldn’t expose his body unless it was well-trained. This could be a timely message for some members of the national cricket team who are struggling with their fitness.
Some of the other renowned personalities who formed the head table were K.S Peiris and Rohana Perera.

Save the Sports Secretary Chintaka Fernando when contacted said that the lecture on sports was successful and that there were requests to have such sessions at least once a month.
“We must not only focus on cricket and probe into other sports to see what has gone wrong. Whatever problems that are highlighted at these sessions must not be restricted to words. We must start somewhere. We must collectively put pressure on the sports minister to act and find solutions to these problems,” Fernando said.

He added that a key issue that needs to be discussed in the future is the problems that surface when the school authorities governing a sport see their approach to a certain discipline differ from that adopted by the main body.

Aravinda de Silva  | Arjuna Ranatunga
Aravinda de Silva | Arjuna Ranatunga