Fearing the worst for Sri Lanka`s cricket, three former Test players of contrasting styles yesterday made a vibrant appeal to President Mahainda Rajapaksa to restore what they called democracy in the game through the dismantling of the controversial interim committee and holding of an election to pick its governors.
The three players, Aravinda de Silva, Hashan Tillekeratne and Asantha de Mel vehemently backed a petition to Rajapaksa and warned that the game was at the doorstep of destruction with the wrong people calling the shots while slamming the sports ministry for usurping the law and turning a blind eye to current trends.
?We cannot ignore what has happened to the game and can only appeal to the President with confidence to restore the game`s administration?, said Aravinda as he bemoaned the scrapping of the country`s only internationally acceptable domestic inter-provincial tournament at the hands of a government installed interim committee.
Ex-captain Hashan Tillekeratne did not hold anything back and went one step further to accuse sports minister Jeewan Kumaratunga of keeping infamous rebel cricketers who once toured aparthied South Africa in the player selection committee.
?The President (Mahinda Rajapakse) gave us a promise to clean up sports and we can only hope that he will give us a just solution?, said Tillekeratne.
One time fast bowler Asantha de Mel said only the President could pull the game out from its current mess. ?He is a fair-minded man and we have the fullest confidence in him?, said De Mel.
Both Tillekeratne and Aravinda charged that the debacle of the Sri Lanka Under-19 team at the recent World Cup in Colombo could be attributed to the absence of qualified coaches due to the negligence of the current administration.
The three ex-Test players opened up after nearly a hundred representatives of clubs and district associations in the country unanimously passed two resolutions in a hardcore stand calling on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to order an election of the game`s office-bearers and the circulation of the account statement of the interim committee for 2005.
Ironically the current administration running cricket was installed to replace an elected set of office-bearers who were controversially sacked in March 2005 on charges of mismanaging funds amid closed door governance.
The charges have not been proved and it is reported that a government investigation committee found no evidence of misappropriation of funds and its report has gone missing.
In passing yesterday`s resolution the protesters charged that funds currently being received to promote cricket were being channeled towards irregular activities with total disregard for the game and its future.