June 9, 2001

Interim Committee Chairman plans to reorganise the board

Rex Clementine Fernando

The chairman of the Interim Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka, Vijaya Malalasekara, said yesterday in a media briefing in Colombo that he wants to reorganise the Cricket board.

According to Malalasekara's plans, the vital body of the BCCSL will be the Cricketer's Committee, which will comprise all Sri Lanka's past captains and Sidath Wettimuny, who is a member of the Interim Committee. The cricketer's committee will decide on the country's cricketing policies.

This is the second media briefing held by the Interim Committee of the cricket board after the minister of Sports appointed them dissolving the executive committee headed by Thilanga Sumathipala.

When the previous executive committee was dissolved there were accusations of mismanagement of funds, upon which a probe committee was appointed to look into the matters by the minister of sports. "The interim committee is not interested in a witch hunt. We are here to do the work and put a structure in place," said Malalasekara.

"The minister wanted all transactions, between the dissolution of the previous interim committee and the appointment of this interim committee to be looked at we have handed over the work to Price Waterhouse Coopers.

"They have promised to hand over the reports by the end of 30th of June. Once that report is ready we'll send it to the minister because that was at his request it was done."

There were also lot of accusations against the previous executive committee of mismanagement of funds, in the construction of the Dambulla International cricket stadium spending nearly 400 million rupees.

"There were also certain issues raised about the lease of Dambulla International cricket stadium. Now we have obtained the opinions of the lawyers of the interim board, it appears that there are certain discrepancies and I have passed on the opinions of lawyers to the probe committee."

On the development of the game the Interim Committee are full of ideas. Member of the Interim Committee, Sidath Wettimuny, said Darryl Foster (who has been coming to Sri Lanka regularly to train fast bowlers) will be in Sri Lanka in a few months time: "Darryl Foster will be here in September and he'll be working with the fast bowlers for exactly 15 days."

Speaking on Barry Richards, Wettimuny said: "Barry will be coming in somewhere in October or November, depending when Dav Whatmore wants him."

The Interim Committee also feels there is a shortage of cricket grounds: "One another area we have looked about is the shortage of cricket grounds. When I say cricket grounds I am not talking about Dambullas," said Wettimuny, " but basic cricket grounds. When we see our premier cricket tournament we see what I would call traffic jams, because there are too many matches with too little grounds. We are looking at the possibilities of at least building four low cost grounds."

Wettimuny also said the Interim Committee is looking forward to revamping the premier cricket tournament as he feels that the interest is diminishing in first-class cricket. He also said that they are looking forward to improving the standards in umpiring as they have fallen drastically in recent times.

The Interim Committee seem to be having lots of good ideas and surely most of them will help improve the game. But the question remains, as to how long they are going to be there and whether there successors are going to continue with the development plans they have started.