December 26, 2012

Memo to Mahela

Why the Sri Lanka captain needs to zip it

Today I want to talk to you about leaks.

About time, you might think. Ghastly vegetables that think they're onions but turn out to be mostly leaf. When you manage to hack off enough of the greenery to get them into a cookable state, you find that after a little light braising they take on the texture and taste of warmed-up slivers of recently pasted wallpaper.

Sadly, those of you who didn't read too closely will be disappointed. This blog will not be a savage and frankly long-overdue indictment of this particularly noxious bit of green-grocery. Vegetable satire is beyond my remit.

No, I want to talk about leaks. Literal leaks are bad enough. Many a nuclear-reactor worker has spent a frustrating night searching for the source of that persistent dripping sound. But figurative leaks are even worse. In the top ten of things a chap ought not to do if he wishes to be considered sound, leaking secret stuff to ne'er do wells ranks at No. 3, just behind whistling loudly on buses and getting a Wayne Rooney tattoo.

Why is leaking universally regarded as naughty? Because it violates the code of brotherhood. No one talks about Fight Club. What happens on the ECB annual act-finding mission to Tahiti stays on the ECB annual fact-finding mission to Tahiti. That's why so many cricket boards employ Twitter police, and make sure their players' central contracts include an "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all" clause.

So naturally, Sri Lanka Cricket is not happy that soon-to-be-once-again-former-captain Mahela has criticised them via the letters pages of the Daily Mirror. We can expect the legal wrath of SLC to descend upon him like a ton of bricks with a couple of hippos on top.

And what was Mahela's problem anyway? He claims that a confidential request he submitted to SLC was leaked to the Daily Mirror on the grounds that:

a) He handed a request marked "confidential" to the SLC b) That request was subsequently published in the Daily Mirror

Such wild accusations frankly just make him look silly. He can't prove that SLC leaked it, and anyway, even if they did leak it (which they didn't) that would be completely different to what Mahela did by talking about the leak (which didn't happen anyway).

If one player is allowed to get away with saying what he thinks about SLC, then others will do the same, and before long the Sri Lankan public might begin to form the impression that their board is in some way two teacups short of a tea set. Such a loss of confidence in their cricket administrators could have a devastating effect on the morale of the nation. So, Mahela, for the good of Sri Lanka, please keep your opinions to yourself.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England