Alex Marshal, the head of Anti-Corruption unit of the ICC issued a press statement detailing investigations underway into corruption in cricket that has stunned this cricket loving country. The statement included the announcement of a meeting the ICC delegation has had with the President, Prime Minister and the Minister of Sports, and investigations that are on-going.
The seriousness of the information divulged in the report allegedly handed over by the ICC delegation was underscored by the statement made by the Minister of Sports where he stated that SLC is facing a dangerous situation.
It is also alleged that the ICC has advocated that criminal prosecutions are initiated against the guilty parties under the laws of Sri Lanka. The ICC has also warned of severe repercussions if no action is taken by the authorities to wipe out corruption from cricket in Sri Lanka, placing the onus squarely on the government of Sri Lanka.
How the authorities act on this report will determine the fortunes and future of cricket in our country.
Information trickling in through unofficial channels who were privy to the contents of the report suggest that the revelations made are damning and that several key officials, past and present players are named with details of their violations. One thing is for sure, and that is the ICC would not be publishing a report with names unless they were in possession of proof which can be upheld in a court of law.
The government can do one of two things. a) This report can be confined to gather dust in a drawer within the corridors of power or b) The government can choose to carry out a credible and transparent investigation into corruption and violations contained in the ICC report and initiate criminal prosecution against the guilty parties whoever they may be.
It has also come to light that three officials have walked into xcellence on Wednesday, and taken charge of three mobile devices in the possession of a former player and coach attached to SLC and escorted him out to be interviewed. Therefore, more damning revelations can be expected to be divulged over the coming days bringing more grief and heartburn to the cricket loving public of this country.
No matter how the government chooses to address these violations, the proud cricketing heritage and reputation of the country has been sullied beyond imagination.
The former Minister of Sports should hang his head in shame for the destruction he has brought about in the annals of cricket by sanctioning unqualified and unsuitable individuals to vandalize the corridors of cricket.
The people of this country are well aware of the challenges that late Gamini Dissanayake had to overcome with the support of the wise and talented administrators he had at the time to win Test status for this country. One can only feel sorry for the young cricketers whose careers are on the line as they too are victims of circumstances.
None of this untoward behaviour would have taken place, particularly to the scale to which appears to have, if there were honorable people at the helm of SLC guiding these boys towards achieving excellence.
From what is being reported the damage is expected to be colossal.
With the national team’s performances at a low ebb this is the last thing the cricket loving public in the country would want. They can only wait with bated breath to see how the authorities are going to act and restore credibility in the game of cricket once again.