In a shocking turn of events, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has suspended Sri Lanka Cricket’s membership, citing a blatant breach of its obligations. The cricket-loving nation, still reeling from a lackluster performance in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, now faces a more profound crisis—one that goes beyond the boundaries of the cricket field.
The ICC’s decision to suspend Sri Lanka Cricket comes with a damning accusation: the failure to manage its affairs autonomously and the unwarranted interference of the government. This suspension leaves a stain on the nation’s cricketing reputation, and the consequences are yet to be unveiled. The conditions of this suspension are pending discussion by the ICC Board, set to convene on November 21, leaving the future of Sri Lankan cricket hanging by a thread.
This unfortunate situation sheds light on a deeper, systemic issue that has plagued Sri Lankan cricket for years. The once-celebrated heroes of the 1996 World Cup-winning team, particularly Arjuna Ranatunga, have not only failed to uphold the sanctity of the game but have actively contributed to its degradation. The Ranatunga family’s extensive interference, coupled with the political manoeuvring of individuals like Roshan Ranasinghe, raises questions about the integrity of those entrusted with the stewardship of Sri Lankan cricket. As a politician in the same cabinet, Roshan Ranasinghe lacks the authority to countermand President Wickeremsighe’s directive, mandating robust action against him. This unequivocal situation presents a compelling rationale for his removal from the portfolio.
The narrative of these so-called cricketing legends takes an unsettling turn when examined under the harsh light of reality. Arjuna Ranatunga, once a symbol of national pride, stands accused of contributing to the deterioration of not only cricket but also the national economy. Meanwhile, Roshan Ranasinghe, positioning himself as a new messiah for Sri Lankan cricket, raises eyebrows regarding his rapid accumulation of wealth and the exploitation of politics for personal gain.
The rot extends beyond individuals to encompass the entire cricketing fraternity. The likes of Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan, Sanath Jayasooriya, and others, despite their cricketing prowess, have become complicit in the erosion of the sport’s purity. Their focus on personal gain, be it through expanding businesses or entering politics for family benefits, paints a grim picture of moral bankruptcy within the cricketing elite.
We unequivocally express our profound dismay at individuals such as the Justice Minister, who stands accused of harassing a Korean girl during his recent visit to Seoul. Astonishingly shameless, he shamefully appointed his inexperienced son—devoid of any cricketing knowledge—to address the deeply ingrained systematic issues plaguing our national sport.
These individuals hypocritically assail Mahinda Rajapaksa for nepotism, only to perpetuate the same repugnant and despicable behaviours. The vast majority of these cricketers, with few exceptions like the commendable Roshan Mahanama, who tirelessly endeavours to uplift rural areas and eradicate poverty, exhibit a blatant disregard for the well-being of our nation and the future of cricket.
We must condemn and resist such flagrant misuse of power, holding those responsible accountable for their actions. Our national sport deserves leaders who are committed to excellence and genuine progress, not individuals who exploit their positions for personal gain while neglecting the very essence of our collective future.
The criticism is not solely reserved for politicians and cricketing legends. The current Cricket Board must also be held accountable for mismanaging the sport and diluting its glory. However, this indictment should serve as a call for collective introspection rather than a blame game.
Cricket in Sri Lanka has the potential to be a force for positive change, a catalyst for uplifting the lives of those in underprivileged areas. Unfortunately, the selfish pursuits of individuals have turned this noble sport into a tool for personal gain, leaving the nation morally and economically bankrupt.
If these cricketing icons had harboured genuine intentions for the future, we might have witnessed the establishment of a dedicated sports university, providing opportunities for underprivileged children to flourish in cricket. Instead, the country is left with a legacy of celebrated sportsmen turned businessmen and politicians, exploiting the sport for personal advancement.
It’s time for a reckoning. The people of Sri Lanka deserve leaders who prioritize the nation over personal gain, who view cricket as a means of fostering national pride and unity rather than a tool for individual prosperity. The moral bankruptcy that plagues the country is a wound that runs deep, and only sincere, collective efforts can heal it. As the ICC deliberates the fate of Sri Lanka Cricket, let it serve as a wake-up call for redemption—a call for a new era where the spirit of the game prevails over personal interests, and the nation’s pride is restored on and off the cricket field.