September 28, 2011

Sri Lanka on the brink

They'll lose more of their top players soon, and political interference in the game is rife. What does the future hold?
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Geoff Marsh has taken on a tough assignment, one likely to test his skills to the utmost. If he emerges from his stint as Sri Lankan coach with his reputation enhanced, he will have surpassed all reasonable expectations. Coaching Sri Lanka requires a rare mixture of wisdom, patience, vigour, diplomacy and thick skin. Marsh has many fine qualities, including durability, common sense and a certain humility, but nothing in his record indicates that he has the exceptional qualities demanded by the task that now presents itself.

The Marshes count among the most successful of cricketing families, and that in a game often handed down the generations. Clearly cricket is in their bones. As a former Test cricketer too, and with sons in the game, Marsh will start with an advantage denied others. But that will rapidly fade.

Nor is it the most propitious time to take charge of Sri Lankan cricket. Marsh begins his tenure with the last remaining great players near the end of their time and tether. The two best bowlers the country has produced have withdrawn, and the team has not won any of its last nine Tests (though as the new captain correctly points out, it has only been beaten twice in that period). Sri Lanka are not at the top or the bottom, but they do seem to be on the way down. Nor do they have the resources to affect a swift turnaround.

Many challenges await. To add to the difficulties facing the new man, cricket matters enormously in the country. It helps the nation and its peoples hold their heads up in the international arena. It's no small thing for a country of 20 million to rise in any area, rugby or cricket or cultural, and doing so helps instil confidence and pride. Only the fatuous scorn patriotism, only the narrow embrace nationalism.

Over the last 20 years, too, the Lankans have performed superbly, winning one World Cup and featuring in two other finals. Besides, the country has produced several great cricketers, and reached the top three in the Test rankings. Not bad for a small nation enduring a civil war, recently ended, and suffering a consequent lack of investment in infrastructure. Accordingly success is expected and coaches and captains alike are called to account when defeats pile up.

To make matters worse, Sri Lanka cricket appears to be a house divided. At present the team is led by its third-best captain (the two seniors having served the short period they regard as the local shelf life) and lacks the spirit observed in the team's heyday. Off the field, too, the chaos continues, with interim committees, political interference, empty accounts, high legal fees, and widespread accusations of cronyism. Unsurprisingly the team has slipped to fifth in the Test rankings. Unless a sense of service is restored, the decline will continue.

Much could be gleaned from Kumar Sangakkara's speech at Lord's in July. Delivering the annual Cowdrey lecture to an august audience, the prickly but erudite batsman moved many Sri Lankans in the room close to tears as he told the story of cricket in his country, with its glories and frustrations. It is a tale of a cherished game that fell into the wrong hands - of those alerted to its possibilities by the country's triumph in the 1996 World Cup. Suddenly the old guard was pushed aside and replaced by brash opportunists with dubious connections and populist tongues.

Ever since, Sri Lanka cricket has been in turmoil. Repeatedly boards have been elected by a deeply flawed process, only to be sacked by a government concerned about corruption or else in cahoots with thwarted outsiders. Recently a board chairman was installed by powerful forces because he was prepared to countenance and fund the building of a stadium in Hambantota, a remote and deserted location in the constituency of the President's son. Once the stadium was built the co-operative official was replaced by an old-timer prepared to pave the way for the next bunch of opportunists who had close ties with the government.

Cricket remains a political football. Rather than welcoming Sangakkara's contribution to the debate, the sports minister condemned the plea for proper structures and due diligence. A previous minister had threatened to remove Sri Lankan players from the IPL because it clashed with the early matches of an England tour. Indian officials soon scotched that plan. The ICC needs to apply its diktat about political interference.

Political involvement in Sri Lankan cricket reaches the highest levels of government. During the third Test against Australia, the country's most celebrated players were summoned to see the president, for a routine "friendly chat", as officials insisted, though others suggest that division in the team was the issue.

High-level intervention was also responsible for Hashan Tillakaratne's silence in the wake of the match-fixing allegations he raised recently. Tillakaratne claimed that a past player and a former administrator had been heavily involved in match-fixing.

Unfortunately it is not much use waiting for the media to expose malfeasance - most of it is owned, directly or indirectly, by the government. Within these confines, many journalists do their utmost, but some become mouthpieces. Nor can television be relied upon to provide a dispassionate assessment of the state of the game. Through its sports ministry and cricket board, the government chooses the commentators.

Much has been made of the conflict of interest that affects Indian experts paid by and beholden to the BCCI. The same thing happens in Sri Lanka. Sanath Jayasuriya is a government MP representing Matara - as a local hero he was well placed to win the seat. Now he has the president's ear and a place in the commentary box, though his constituents take a dim view of his long absences.

Sri Lanka cricket appears to be a house divided. At present the team is led by its third-best captain. Off the field the chaos continues, with interim committees, political interference, empty accounts, high legal fees, and widespread accusations of cronyism

Jayasuriya has long enjoyed the backing of the governing party. Senior Sri Lankan players were reportedly aghast that his name was even mentioned as a candidate for the World Cup, because his form had long been abysmal. Despite intense lobbying, it did not come to pass because they played well and he did not. Still, the prospect bound the team together. Instead he was granted a farewell ODI in England by political decree.

Now Jayasuriya has become among the most powerful men in Sri Lankan cricket, able to offer places on the board to people considered suitable. By the look of things he is being groomed for high cricketing office. Meanwhile he covers the cricket as well. That is, assuming commentators are critics, not mere presenters.

Nor are the other commentators able to speak freely. Tony Grieg, a long-standing and much-loved member of the TV team, also works for the government. He is paid a modest fee by the tourism board to serve as an ambassador and to present the country as an attractive place to visit. Grieg has long been passionate about Sri Lanka and his sincerity is not in question. Moreover he avoids anything he considers political, has friends in all communities and takes youth teams on tour to the country. Just that the conflict of interest is palpable.

All things considered, Marsh has a fight on his hands. Sri Lanka can be inward-looking, and sensitive about intrusion from other countries, especially India, and including the West, whose condemnation of the cruelty that marked the closing stages of the civil war (and afterwards) is resented. Certainly the West can be hypocritical - 100,000 Iraqi civilians died in an illegitimate war fought on spurious grounds by leaders who remained intact.

Yet the path forwards is clear. As ever, the forces overlap, sporting, economic and political. Peace has given the country a rare chance to make a fresh start. Take it and Sri Lanka and its cricket will rise. Ignore it and the chance will not come again in a generation. In every arena Sri Lanka needs to admit its excesses, acknowledge its mistakes and build lasting institutions founded on democratic principles. If cricket can meet that challenge there will be no need for interim committees or political interference or dismayed players making brave speeches at Lord's.

The current elders will retire soon, and they are an asset not to be wasted. Maybe Sangakkara will end up with the ICC, in charge of referees. If so, it'd be a pity because there is a lot of work to be done at home, on the field and off it, in cricket and the country.

Peter Roebuck is a former captain of Somerset and the author, most recently, of In It to Win It

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Roshini on | September 30, 2011, 9:00 GMT

    @siriherath..You beauty!!! Said it all mate.Thumbs up!!!!We are all pinning our hopes against hope for a just cricketing revival..Erosion is way too fast to our liking - Roshini Vaas - Homagama Sri Lanka

  • POSTED BY Imran83 on | September 29, 2011, 19:15 GMT

    Superb. Balanced and spot-on as an assessment of Sri Lankan cricket's predicament.

  • POSTED BY on | September 29, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    Peter I am sure you got the inside running, or you here we all Sri Lankans talk about the same issues all over and over again. Ill give you a good 95 % spot on.Good on you mate Go the Warriors on Sunday and All Blacks to lift the WC.

  • POSTED BY ChandraPrince on | September 29, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    I feel, Mr. Roebuck article, which says nothing but his usual beating the dead horse. Mr. Roebuck has done this sort of thin before many times over dealing with the same material. And to read him again about the same things rather old and stale stuff re-cycled over, only to feel the agony that Mr. Roebuck experiencing. We hope that Mr. Roebuck would have better sense about politics or cricket, as writer. Now, I'm less inclined to read his books! Because he proved to me what an awful writer he is, actually. May be not-- however, we already know all this. Why beat the dead horse again? But why single out Sri Lanka? What about the political issues in England? Weren't there people rioting just weeks ago? There are very serious problems in Australia, India and Pakistan. Let's say-- in spite of the scenario that Mr. Roebuck presents about Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka did much better than India against England, remember? But why not say India Cricket is falling apart?

  • POSTED BY RohanBhalerao on | September 29, 2011, 1:32 GMT

    Simply Superb Sir..!!! What awesome detailing..!!! Respect!!!

  • POSTED BY Herath-UK on | September 28, 2011, 19:34 GMT

    Peter you are factually incorrect and you seem to touch unnecessarily on the dead civil war in your last couple of articles;of course fans come here to read your articles not to hear your sermons on politics and I'm sure that you will show your professionalism to stay clear of it.Tell me which subcontinent country cricket board is not accused of politics,favouritism and excesses?Do not worry Marsh will rise to the occasion and lets see who will lift the 2015 cup in your backyard. Ranil Herath -Kent

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 18:48 GMT

    THE BEST ARTICLE I HAVE EVER SEEN IN CRICINFO.... ANALAZES EVERY LITTLE DETAIL OF THE CURRENT SLC SITUATION AND PRESENTED VERY NICELY. RESPECT!!!!

  • POSTED BY ARad on | September 28, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    When Roebuck does not write about blood and ancestry of cricketers, he can make some very valuable points. The 'us' against 'them' is a good mentality when it comes to playing sports since it creates a great fighting spirit but when people use it to deflect valid criticism (a popular tool of politicians to manipulate the emotions of the masses), it shuts down rational analysis of the situation. A valid criticism is valid criticism regardless of who makes it and I don't see anything Roebuck has said here about the state of Sri Lankan Cricket, politics or the mixture of both to be incorrect. SL may be able to produce some brilliant individual Cricketers in spite of the problems, an attribute they share with Pakistan, but just like with Pakistan, they may never reach the pinnacle of their potential if the problems persist.

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 18:31 GMT

    I cant disagree about most of the things written here, It hurts when a westerner write these things,....But as they say truth is bitter..but sincerely hope sanga and nahi will play for another three four years...and one will take over as the captain soon....

  • POSTED BY Praxis on | September 28, 2011, 17:08 GMT

    Roebuk is one of my most favorite writers on this site, also I really like the band of cricket Sri Lanka play, especially in the shorter formats. Not being a Sri Lankan, I don't think I've got much to say about the current situation in this country or the effect it has on the game. But I hope Sri Lanka will keep producing brilliant, unorthodox & fascinating cricketers in the future. Cricket will lose a lot of colour if this demise continues.

  • POSTED BY Roshini on | September 30, 2011, 9:00 GMT

    @siriherath..You beauty!!! Said it all mate.Thumbs up!!!!We are all pinning our hopes against hope for a just cricketing revival..Erosion is way too fast to our liking - Roshini Vaas - Homagama Sri Lanka

  • POSTED BY Imran83 on | September 29, 2011, 19:15 GMT

    Superb. Balanced and spot-on as an assessment of Sri Lankan cricket's predicament.

  • POSTED BY on | September 29, 2011, 7:12 GMT

    Peter I am sure you got the inside running, or you here we all Sri Lankans talk about the same issues all over and over again. Ill give you a good 95 % spot on.Good on you mate Go the Warriors on Sunday and All Blacks to lift the WC.

  • POSTED BY ChandraPrince on | September 29, 2011, 3:54 GMT

    I feel, Mr. Roebuck article, which says nothing but his usual beating the dead horse. Mr. Roebuck has done this sort of thin before many times over dealing with the same material. And to read him again about the same things rather old and stale stuff re-cycled over, only to feel the agony that Mr. Roebuck experiencing. We hope that Mr. Roebuck would have better sense about politics or cricket, as writer. Now, I'm less inclined to read his books! Because he proved to me what an awful writer he is, actually. May be not-- however, we already know all this. Why beat the dead horse again? But why single out Sri Lanka? What about the political issues in England? Weren't there people rioting just weeks ago? There are very serious problems in Australia, India and Pakistan. Let's say-- in spite of the scenario that Mr. Roebuck presents about Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka did much better than India against England, remember? But why not say India Cricket is falling apart?

  • POSTED BY RohanBhalerao on | September 29, 2011, 1:32 GMT

    Simply Superb Sir..!!! What awesome detailing..!!! Respect!!!

  • POSTED BY Herath-UK on | September 28, 2011, 19:34 GMT

    Peter you are factually incorrect and you seem to touch unnecessarily on the dead civil war in your last couple of articles;of course fans come here to read your articles not to hear your sermons on politics and I'm sure that you will show your professionalism to stay clear of it.Tell me which subcontinent country cricket board is not accused of politics,favouritism and excesses?Do not worry Marsh will rise to the occasion and lets see who will lift the 2015 cup in your backyard. Ranil Herath -Kent

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 18:48 GMT

    THE BEST ARTICLE I HAVE EVER SEEN IN CRICINFO.... ANALAZES EVERY LITTLE DETAIL OF THE CURRENT SLC SITUATION AND PRESENTED VERY NICELY. RESPECT!!!!

  • POSTED BY ARad on | September 28, 2011, 18:36 GMT

    When Roebuck does not write about blood and ancestry of cricketers, he can make some very valuable points. The 'us' against 'them' is a good mentality when it comes to playing sports since it creates a great fighting spirit but when people use it to deflect valid criticism (a popular tool of politicians to manipulate the emotions of the masses), it shuts down rational analysis of the situation. A valid criticism is valid criticism regardless of who makes it and I don't see anything Roebuck has said here about the state of Sri Lankan Cricket, politics or the mixture of both to be incorrect. SL may be able to produce some brilliant individual Cricketers in spite of the problems, an attribute they share with Pakistan, but just like with Pakistan, they may never reach the pinnacle of their potential if the problems persist.

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 18:31 GMT

    I cant disagree about most of the things written here, It hurts when a westerner write these things,....But as they say truth is bitter..but sincerely hope sanga and nahi will play for another three four years...and one will take over as the captain soon....

  • POSTED BY Praxis on | September 28, 2011, 17:08 GMT

    Roebuk is one of my most favorite writers on this site, also I really like the band of cricket Sri Lanka play, especially in the shorter formats. Not being a Sri Lankan, I don't think I've got much to say about the current situation in this country or the effect it has on the game. But I hope Sri Lanka will keep producing brilliant, unorthodox & fascinating cricketers in the future. Cricket will lose a lot of colour if this demise continues.

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 17:03 GMT

    jeez why all the doom and gloom?

  • POSTED BY KingOwl on | September 28, 2011, 16:57 GMT

    Sri Lankans like Peter Roebuck and I know he has good intentions. But I think there is quite a bit of exageration here. Sure, SL have gone down in the test rankings (by one). BUT, they have gone up in the one day rankings (they are #2 in the world right now). There is of course political interference. But that has always been the case. SL cricket is chaotic, but then it has ALWAYS been chaotic. So, SL can perform in these circumstances. They know how to. That is something even well intentioned foreigners cannot quite understand. Moreover SL's former coaches have all done great. Nobody was fired, nobody went away unhappy. If Marsh is good - I think he is - he will do just fine as well. SL has problems - we lost some irreplaceable people. It will take some time to re-build. But batting future is solid. We have a couple of rookie fast bowlers who can be as good as Vaas. Murali cannot be replaced. But, SL have some spinners who are far better than most other countries. So I am optimistic.

  • POSTED BY denwarlo70 on | September 28, 2011, 15:47 GMT

    I agree and I disagree too. There are some things which I as a proud Sri Lankan cannot agreed upon with. I don't intend in going in to detail as it would open up a can of worms no doubt and that, is the last thing I want here. If you look at the comments which has been made, you see various aspects been covered and argued upon. So, obviously, there are questionable paragraphs....

  • POSTED BY Charith99 on | September 28, 2011, 14:38 GMT

    i'm a sri lankan and i'm amazed about your knowledge of lankan cricket and its current situation. To all the non srilankans reading this article i can safely say that 90% of this article is true except for the " whose condemnation of the cruelty that marked the closing stages of the civil war (and afterwards) is resented" part. Jayasooriya will always remain a great cricketer but our respect for him is down in the dumps. in a cricketing sense we should not worry too much because there are many young talent available.

  • POSTED BY Reggaecricket on | September 28, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    Whose turn is it to get a good caning now?! You know NOTHING about Sri Lankan politics and by the way, we come here to read about Cricket!

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    Wonderfuly written.High accolades to Mr. Roebuck. hatts off.

  • POSTED BY Nathan_123 on | September 28, 2011, 14:18 GMT

    Such a well composed and structured article by Peter. I have read so many articles here talking about nothing but pure cricket. This is the very first time I have read such an interesting article how politics and mismanagement can bring about the down fall of Srilankan cricket. It made laugh when peter mentioned Sanath's commentry. No doubt Sanath was a great cricketer, but for his commentry he needs to polish his English before he comes on the air. Under Murlitharn's tenure Srilankan cricket was at its best. As Peter rightly said this country is cursed with corruption and mismanagement. You can't change this in Srilanka. Sad day for Srilankan cricket, and worst to come.

  • POSTED BY SharniJay on | September 28, 2011, 14:11 GMT

    As a Sri Lankan who does not believe that one has to disregard or condone the wrongdoings or mistakes of its government if one wants to remain a 'patriot', I salute your well researched and clearly analyzed piece.

    Sri Lanka gains nothing by ignoring the truth.

  • POSTED BY ian_ghose on | September 28, 2011, 13:00 GMT

    @Raneesh238...pardon my ignorance. But please do tell which are these western nations that did not want Sri Lanka to be a peaceful, politically established and economically rising nation and why?

  • POSTED BY demon_bowler on | September 28, 2011, 12:31 GMT

    Definitely one of your better pieces, Peter; an informed summary of the state of the game in one of its key stakeholders. Jayasuriya has already tarnished his great reputation, and will do so still further unless he removes the several conflicts of interest in which he is implicated.

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    Gosh, is this all people write about Sri Lanka all the time? politics and a war that is finished? Peter, tell us something we don't know. Use your energy on something more interesting please.

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 11:51 GMT

    Mr. Peter Roebuck you are a genius about Sl cricket nho ! so why can,t u explain Zaheer khan's selection over Lasith Malinga in the ICC world ODI team ! Lasith Malinga is the 12th player ! puh !

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    Well ! this so called great writer's words may be brave ! and seems like he too wants to be a hero ! but I ve been a great fan of SL cricket over the years ! to me you can't find this sort of a cricketing nation which has provided so many ORIGINAL cricketers in the lights of Malinga,Murali,Mendis.Jayasuriya ........there was politics @ those eras too ! and SL will provide many greats in the future as well ! every team has ups and downs ! may be the teams which Peter Roebuck likes,had won all the matches they played ( according to him ! ) .......... this is surely not a sports article !

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 11:41 GMT

    wow I came here to read an article on cricket and find a lesson on politics from a sports writer.(Irony)Things about Jayasuriya and govt getting involved are true but geeeeeeeeeese last stages of a civil war.........come on!!!! !!!Mind your own business mate :) and Hashan Thilakaratna's public stunt portrayed as evidence of what???????Mr Peter Roebuck you should stick to what you know better.

  • POSTED BY stormy16 on | September 28, 2011, 11:05 GMT

    Great factual article and the writting is on the wall for SLC and the only question being - do the powers to be see the is (are they able to read!!) The talent of the players (specially the batsman) was obvious from the first test SL played in 1982 and it was always a case of finding wicket taking bowlers. That they did and became a force to be reckoned with however, the administration of cricket has gone the opposite direction. It was a talented bunch of administrators who ensure SL obtained test status and then a WC win in 96' - from then on its all gone wrong and all the talent in the world is of little use unless its nutured and allowed to blossom. SLC has showed little or no appreciation of this basic concept which unless is changed soon is going to hurt SL.

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 10:08 GMT

    SriLanka needs to ensure that Sanga get into the administration of Cricket in the country. As he is well respected and demands dignity from Dressing Rooms as well as his peers and certain section of Parliament They need to ensure that all current players are nurtured and groomed for the future.Mendis, Mathews and Parivartana are players for the future. They should not be burden by the politics and reckless politicians.

  • POSTED BY Ray24 on | September 28, 2011, 9:40 GMT

    Thank you for a very well written and very informative article. I never knew the challenges that SL cricket faces, many congrats to them for bracing these conditions and coming out of it. It seems like the Pakistan cricket situation, not as bad but still something concerning. Hopefully political influence will be scrapped and teams will play to their full potential.

  • POSTED BY Raneesh238 on | September 28, 2011, 9:39 GMT

    I do not rate this article as high in sports prospective because I visit this site to read about cricket but not the sort of information which are included in this article.

    It can be observed that this article is based on mere political agenda against Sri Lanka and it is present government. It is known to most of us that certain western powers did not want Sri Lanka to be a peaceful, politically established and economically rising nation, ever.

  • POSTED BY siriherath on | September 28, 2011, 9:34 GMT

    Peter has laid down the simple facts. As much as some of it hurts some, the problems will not just blow away by sunrise. As he quite rightly puts - 'those alerted to its possibilities by the country's triumph in the 1996 World Cup' are more or less running cricket. This is the beginning of the 'curse'.We can split hairs as to its extent and percentages, but that will not make the culprits quiver an inch. This is a bug that's has eaten into cricket standards and reputations in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and now SL. The unending thirst (lust?)to own and control everything when in power will not go away. Alas, nor does the gloomy prognosis of SL cricket unless things are turned completely around. For that to happen the general public need to wake up from their long sleep to see things as they are and stop treating everything and every criticism as a threat from 'foreign imperialists' to our sovereignty.

  • POSTED BY AvidFanDownUnder on | September 28, 2011, 9:14 GMT

    Well written article - a credit to you Mr Roebuck

  • POSTED BY Black_Rider on | September 28, 2011, 7:32 GMT

    @ Malin Dharmaratne:: Hats off to you mate...Completely agree with you...Cricket In Sri Lanka never dies........

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 7:18 GMT

    chandimal,mendis,banuka rajapakse,nuwan pradeep,mathews>>>groom them,cuz they are the future of sl cricket!

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    Its better to say 11 Tests since both havent played (lost 3, drawn 8) rather than saying last 9 Tests (2 lost). You have to be correct, otherwise why not saying that last 5 Tests where just 1 lost. By the way, I am a Sri Lankan.

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 5:43 GMT

    One thing about Sri Lankan team is they will produce champions from nowhere. No body knew we had great players till we won the 1996 WC. And after that so called experts said with the retirement of Arjuna, Aravinda, Vass & co. the team will fall. It did for short period then so came Sanga, Mahela, Dilshan, Malinga, and we were back in the reckoning. Now its time for these players to hand over to the next generation. Like before experts are saying we will fall but mark my word there is more than enough cricketing blood in sri lanka to produce world champions. Because for us cricket is not something to just watch or worship. If our team is doing poorly we switch of the TV call up the friends and enjoy playing cricket our self's. So every ally you look there are cricketers in production. This drive will keep us going for many many generations, producing many more world champions.....

  • POSTED BY Farce-Follower on | September 28, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    Wonderful article, Mr. Roebuck. Sri Lanka has picked the bug from India, where so called 'legends' who by the way, make for most uninteresting commentary, have struck sweetheart deals with BCCI. India too is going downhill, with a board packed with politicians.

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 4:50 GMT

    I think it's a great article Peter (obviously some parts are debatable) but overall it's spot on. I have faith in Sri Lankan cricket. We always do best when we have our backs to the wall. As a nation we survived in this world for over 3000 years and Sri Lankan cricket will survive this turbulence and will play WC final in 2015.

  • POSTED BY ikmal--syd on | September 28, 2011, 4:40 GMT

    this article has some truth to it is a bit over the top. I agree, that the politics in sri lankan cricket is pretty corrupt and the selectors have favourites in their selections of certian players in chamara silva and kapugadera, but i don't think jayasuriya's selection was poiliticly interfed. Roebuck in definitely incorrect to say that tony greig is being paid to speak postively about Sri Lanka. Roebuck is right in saying that Sri Lankan cricket is in crisis and it needs to saved by the sri lankan selectors, players and administration before it's too late. As for the seat incident, that would happen anywhere in the world. Hopefully SL cricket works things out and chooses the right players and the best players along with the right administration to lead sri lankan cricket forward.

  • POSTED BY lanka_86 on | September 28, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    At least your descriptions (eg. Sangakkara's speech, the war, etc) is slightly more balanced after your visit to SL. But how can say Hashan Tillekaratne's silence is due to high level intervention. Almost everyone thinks it was only a cheap publicity stunt. Peter, this shows you're talking to the wrong people in Sri Lanka. Please talk to both urban and rural Sri Lankan's to get a balanced perspective.

  • POSTED BY randikaayya on | September 28, 2011, 4:13 GMT

    Mr. Roebuck, congrats on a well composed article. But you are treading on thin ice when you speak of "cruelty that marked the closing stages of the civil war (and afterwards)". If you are not careful about how you present this (without much insight evidently), you maybe counted amongst those western hypocrites.

    As to Cricket, you got it spot on. Even before the predicted Sangakkara's appointment as head of ICC referees, Sri Lanka has its own Ranjan Madugalle as its head already. One of the true gentlemen of the game to emerge in the 80's. However, as you rightly pointed out, political interference has been the death of our beloved game of Rugby and it will considerably deteriorate the standard of cricket if it continues to probe its ugly fingers into the original beautiful game!

    As to your comments regarding India, make no mistake we Sri Lankans feel as one with the Indians (recent BCCI interventions not-withstanding) in all matters be it in cricket or otherwise1

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  • POSTED BY randikaayya on | September 28, 2011, 4:13 GMT

    Mr. Roebuck, congrats on a well composed article. But you are treading on thin ice when you speak of "cruelty that marked the closing stages of the civil war (and afterwards)". If you are not careful about how you present this (without much insight evidently), you maybe counted amongst those western hypocrites.

    As to Cricket, you got it spot on. Even before the predicted Sangakkara's appointment as head of ICC referees, Sri Lanka has its own Ranjan Madugalle as its head already. One of the true gentlemen of the game to emerge in the 80's. However, as you rightly pointed out, political interference has been the death of our beloved game of Rugby and it will considerably deteriorate the standard of cricket if it continues to probe its ugly fingers into the original beautiful game!

    As to your comments regarding India, make no mistake we Sri Lankans feel as one with the Indians (recent BCCI interventions not-withstanding) in all matters be it in cricket or otherwise1

  • POSTED BY lanka_86 on | September 28, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    At least your descriptions (eg. Sangakkara's speech, the war, etc) is slightly more balanced after your visit to SL. But how can say Hashan Tillekaratne's silence is due to high level intervention. Almost everyone thinks it was only a cheap publicity stunt. Peter, this shows you're talking to the wrong people in Sri Lanka. Please talk to both urban and rural Sri Lankan's to get a balanced perspective.

  • POSTED BY ikmal--syd on | September 28, 2011, 4:40 GMT

    this article has some truth to it is a bit over the top. I agree, that the politics in sri lankan cricket is pretty corrupt and the selectors have favourites in their selections of certian players in chamara silva and kapugadera, but i don't think jayasuriya's selection was poiliticly interfed. Roebuck in definitely incorrect to say that tony greig is being paid to speak postively about Sri Lanka. Roebuck is right in saying that Sri Lankan cricket is in crisis and it needs to saved by the sri lankan selectors, players and administration before it's too late. As for the seat incident, that would happen anywhere in the world. Hopefully SL cricket works things out and chooses the right players and the best players along with the right administration to lead sri lankan cricket forward.

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 4:50 GMT

    I think it's a great article Peter (obviously some parts are debatable) but overall it's spot on. I have faith in Sri Lankan cricket. We always do best when we have our backs to the wall. As a nation we survived in this world for over 3000 years and Sri Lankan cricket will survive this turbulence and will play WC final in 2015.

  • POSTED BY Farce-Follower on | September 28, 2011, 5:40 GMT

    Wonderful article, Mr. Roebuck. Sri Lanka has picked the bug from India, where so called 'legends' who by the way, make for most uninteresting commentary, have struck sweetheart deals with BCCI. India too is going downhill, with a board packed with politicians.

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 5:43 GMT

    One thing about Sri Lankan team is they will produce champions from nowhere. No body knew we had great players till we won the 1996 WC. And after that so called experts said with the retirement of Arjuna, Aravinda, Vass & co. the team will fall. It did for short period then so came Sanga, Mahela, Dilshan, Malinga, and we were back in the reckoning. Now its time for these players to hand over to the next generation. Like before experts are saying we will fall but mark my word there is more than enough cricketing blood in sri lanka to produce world champions. Because for us cricket is not something to just watch or worship. If our team is doing poorly we switch of the TV call up the friends and enjoy playing cricket our self's. So every ally you look there are cricketers in production. This drive will keep us going for many many generations, producing many more world champions.....

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 7:02 GMT

    Its better to say 11 Tests since both havent played (lost 3, drawn 8) rather than saying last 9 Tests (2 lost). You have to be correct, otherwise why not saying that last 5 Tests where just 1 lost. By the way, I am a Sri Lankan.

  • POSTED BY on | September 28, 2011, 7:18 GMT

    chandimal,mendis,banuka rajapakse,nuwan pradeep,mathews>>>groom them,cuz they are the future of sl cricket!

  • POSTED BY Black_Rider on | September 28, 2011, 7:32 GMT

    @ Malin Dharmaratne:: Hats off to you mate...Completely agree with you...Cricket In Sri Lanka never dies........

  • POSTED BY AvidFanDownUnder on | September 28, 2011, 9:14 GMT

    Well written article - a credit to you Mr Roebuck