January 30, 2013

Don't give up the day job, Sanath

Andrew Hughes
Sanath Jayasuriya is welcomed on his arrival in Karachi, Karachi, October 18, 2012
…And when he's hatless, beware, he might just smack you for six over point  © AFP


A few months back the ICC proposed that governments should not be fiddling about with cricket. Everyone said this was a splendid idea and signed up to it hungrily, like dieters pledging to drop three dress sizes for their summer holidays.

Unfortunately it's now 2013, and Sri Lanka's government still has its fingers in the cricket pie. This is fairly naughty, but we shouldn't be too harsh. We all know it's hard to stick to resolutions. Giving up the cupcakes may help unclog your arteries and enable you to see your toes, but it leaves a terrible empty feeling come afternoon tea-time.

If the ICC has its way, being the Sri Lankan sports minister would be no fun at all, like being the British sports minister. She doesn't get to pick Manchester United's defence, she can't design the England rugby team's shirt, and she's not even allowed to sack Giles Clarke. Her job involves handing trophies to sweaty people, trying to pretend she's interested in cycling, and making sure she doesn't tweet anything silly before a better post comes along.

And there are benefits to having politicians running sport. If they're meddling in cricket, by the laws of physics, they can't simultaneously be meddling in anything else (leaving aside for the moment the idea that digital technology opens up the possibility of quantum meddling). While a politician is scratching his chin over whether to play Angelo Mathews at six or seven, by definition, he can't be messing up the economy or declaring war on anybody.

Still, I suppose it was a little cheeky of Mr Aluthgamage to appoint one S Jayasuriya to the position of pin-sticker in chief. Not only is Sanath a politician these days, but by an oxygen-depriving coincidence, he's a politician from precisely the same gang of politicians to which Mr Aluthgamage belongs. It seems that, having promised to ditch the cupcakes of cronyism for the celery of good governance, the sports minister has instead doubled the cupcake ration, outlawed green vegetables and spooned himself an extra helping of rum trifle.

This has not gone down well with the cricket community. So in response the minister has made it clear that Sanath the selector will not allow Sanath the politician to involve himself in the business of picking the team; just as Sanath the politician will refuse to reply should Sanath the selector email him about the public sector borrowing requirement.

To make this separation of Sanath's powers even clearer, he has agreed to wear different hats. If he's wearing his slightly grubby "Sri Lanka 96" baseball cap then his politician friends will know not to sidle up to him in the corridor with the latest political gossip. Equally, when he comes down to breakfast wearing his "Vote Jayasuriya" trilby, his family will know that all talk of the deterioration in Dilshan's batting average is off the table.

And if they need it, the Sri Lankan government have an escape clause. He's got the job on an indefinite basis, which sounds like a long time, but in reality means a period of time somewhere between forever and a week next Tuesday. I wouldn't give up the day job, Sanath.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Keywords: Politics

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Posted by Rasitha on (January 30, 2013, 18:28 GMT)

Excellent blog, had me in stitches. I would actually ask Sanath to GIVE UP A DAY JOB and do ONE job right, rather than trying to wear TWO conflicting HATS.

Posted by chula on (January 30, 2013, 17:14 GMT)

he will do it in better way........gud luck my dear Sanath

Posted by Somo on (January 30, 2013, 16:21 GMT)

Best satire ever: While a politician is scratching his chin over whether to play Angelo Mathews at six or seven, by definition, he can’t be messing up the economy or declaring war on anybody. Awesome!

Posted by Carlyle Weinman on (January 30, 2013, 16:14 GMT)

Unfortunately political interference in the administration of cricket in SL is adversely affecting progress.

Posted by Niranjan on (January 30, 2013, 13:33 GMT)

Great piece and love the humor...dejavu is what comes to my mind. Political influence in SL cricket is reaching legendary proportions. It's like a yummy jar of nuts that you never put down once you taste a few kernels!

Posted by Shawn on (January 30, 2013, 12:41 GMT)

Sanath was one of the greatest crickets Sri lanka has produced, one of the greatest cricketers all of us in this little island of ours, loved. Unfortunately these days I see Sanath as one power hungry politician who wants more, more and more. Please Sanath, leave cricket alone, you have done enough for it already. Politicians have done enough to spoil this game many of us islanders love so dearly.

Posted by Asoka N Pathirane on (January 30, 2013, 11:47 GMT)

Brilliant Andy! Just what the doctor ordered. But will it work with Sri Lanka's politicized sports pudding? They do not understand a seven bone rib from a rack of lamb

Posted by chinchi on (January 30, 2013, 9:40 GMT)

absolutely brilliant.

Posted by Mario on (January 30, 2013, 9:31 GMT)

I agree that it is not an ideal situation with Sanath as chairman of selectors. But at least his first comments after taking over were, that Dilshan, Sangakkara & Mahela are requiered in the test team for the forseable future. Also he is trying to get Vass & Muraly into the coaching team. These are encouraging singns. We shall keep our fingers crossed & hope for the best.

Posted by Riyas on (January 30, 2013, 9:00 GMT)

Funny as always Andrew sad thing is whith all the trouble SLC already is in, what will this lead to in a few years time...

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Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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