Reconciliation costed us the World Cup
Posted on April 8th, 2011

Geoff Wickrema

 Following the Mumbai debacle, the captain, the vice captain and select committee resigned. Bayliss made a startling revelation that cricketers had to put up with things that had nothing to do with cricket. What are these things that got nothing to do with cricket? These are known, at least to friends and family of cricketers. Cricketers have a very large number of friends! Soon these will be well known and people will debate over it. Whatever the denials are, there was political involvement in selection, unfortunately. But it had nothing to do with UNP/SLFP/JVP party politics. It was different kind of politics.

 

The President declared that the cricket world cup is going to make reconciliation easier. He instructed Sri Lanka Cricket to take into account the need to use cricket world cup to the maximum for reconciliation. In turn the Interim Committee instructed the select committee and players what they should do to achieve maximum reconciliation impact. They were told how multiethnic the Indian team was.

 

Meanwhile the only non-Sinhalese players in the team, namely, Mutiah Muralitharan and Angelo Mathews were injured and were in doubt for the final. However, that would mean playing a “Sinhala only” team according to influential sections and they instructed to somehow include Muralitharan in the team and they insisted that there is no way a team without either Muralitharan and Mathews could play. Reluctantly Murali agreed. He made his decision clear early, days before the final.

 

At the same time influential sections were complaining about the inclusion of Ajantha Mendis saying that he is still a serving officer of the army. He playing in the final would “hurt” the reconciliation process because Tamils around the world protested his inclusion in previous matches. For the sake of “reconciliation” he was left out!

 

This was how the two disastrous decisions were made. Murali was included despite his injuries while Mendis was not included because his involvement may not be acceptable to some Tamils as he is serving in the army. Angered by the stupid decision, a section of the team was furious but had to put these at the back of their minds and continue. Anything that showed disunity in the team at this stage would have been disastrous for the team’s prospects. Some argue that the captain had already given up a day before the final due to these political interferences.

 

Ultimately the substandard team that played in the final lost mainly due to weak bowling. Mendis was out and Murali was not up to his hundred percent. Early breakthroughs could not be used to build on. Another unfortunate event happened in Hatton after the match. Two groups of people belonging to two ethnic groups clashed over the final match resulting in damages to property. The disastrous outcome at the final caused by a foolish attempt at “reconciliation” ended with worse consequences.

 

The moral of the event is never appease any minority concerns at the expense of the nation. Let the nation have its best team play. If they are going to be from one ethnic group, so be it. Political nonsense should not enter the dressing room, field or the committees. Sri Lanka Cricket needs to be told what their priorities are. National reconciliation should not be a priority. Cricket should be their only priority. We don’t necessarily need a multiethnic team, we need a winning team. A Sinhala only team would have easily won the world cup. If anyone wants a multiethnic team, support the Canadian team!
 
Thank you.
Geoff Wickrema

22 Responses to “Reconciliation costed us the World Cup”

  1. Sarath W Says:

    It is a good article by Geoff. The expatriate community is baffled by the team selection for the final and now have some idea what happened. But Geoff got one thing wrong when he says Murali and Mathews were the only non Sinhalese in the team. Dilshan is a Muslim.

    What also puzzles me is how Kapugedera got into the team and why Randiv was selected instead of Herath. Can Geoff enlight me on that?

  2. Dham Says:

    Sarath,
    Obviously you are not a regular cricket fan. Dilshanś father is Muslim but mother mother is sinhala Buddhist. His first wife was buddhist too and he became a Buddhist. But is current wife is Catholic. Therefore he looks up to the sky.
    Suraj Mohamed Randiv is not Buddhist. But we should consider both these players as Sinhala players.

    Geoffś speculation is credible. Even without Mendis , Rangana Herath should have played instead of Murali.
    But one of the main mistakes was Kulasekara instead of a faster bowler.

    Another thing to not is , both Kulasekara and Randiv in the same team under MD Dhoni in IPL. Smells rat here.

  3. TERRENCE DE SILVA Says:

    Reconciliation costed us the World Cup – Posted on April 8th, 2011 – BY
    Geoff Wickrema – THANKS FOR YOUR ELUCIDATION ON THE S.L. CRICKET SELECTORS BOARD NIGHTMARE
    ON THE REVELATIONS OF MR. TREVOR BAYLISS ON THE INSIDER INFORMATION.

    FOR SOME REASON MY VERY POINTED COMMENTS BELOW FAILED MAKING PUBLICATION IN THE LANKAWEB ALTHOUGH IT WAS SUBSEQUENT TO A PUBLICATION MADE IN THE DAILY NEWS OF THE 7TH APRIL 2001
    BUT NOW AS A RESULT OF YOUR ARTICLE I CAN NOW SAY MY SURMISE WAS CORRECT:

    REFERENCE “CRICKET SELECTORS, VICE CAPTAIN QUIT” IN THE DAILY NEWS DATED 7TH APRIL 2011
    IN THE AFTERMATH OF SRI LANKA’S DEFEAT BY THE INDIANS AT THE ICC WORLD CUP.

    ALTHOUGH HYPED UP BY THE MEDIA & THE SPORTS MINISTRY AS RUNNERS UP TO THE CHAMPIONS
    THERE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN A GREATER DISAPPOINTMENT BY THE CAPTAIN OF
    THE TEAM KUMAR SANGAKKARA QUITTING IMMEDIATELY AS CAPTAIN & THE SPORTSMAN THEMSELVES:
    AND NOW WE HAVE TO OUR SURPRISE THE VICE CAPT. MAHELA JAYAWARDENA AND THE
    NATIONAL SELECTION COMMITTEE HEADED BY THE WORLD RENOWN CRICKETER ARVINDA DE SILVA
    HANDING IN THEIR RESIGNATIONS. ALTHOUGH SUBSEQUENTLY ARVINDA DE SILVA PROUNOUNCES
    THAT THE PRESIDENT GAVE THEM A FREE HAND IN THE SELECTION PROCESSS JUST BEGS THE QUESTION
    HOW THIS SITUATION EVER AROSE.

    SRI LANKAN SPORTSMEN & WOMEN THROUGHOUT THE YEARS HAVE BEEN CHARACTERISTIC
    OF THEIR HIGH MORAL QUALITIES AND CALIBRE. NEVER TO CALL IT QUITS WHENEVER THE CHIPS
    WERE DOWN, AND NEVER LOSING FACE EVEN IN TIMES OF DEFEAT.

    THEREFORE, FACED WITH THE CURRENT SITUATION SOMETHING SMELLS FISHY AND REEKS TO
    HIGH HEAVEN IN SRI LANKA’S CRICKETING CIRCLES, AND THE ACCUSING FINGER SEEMS TO BE
    POINTING AT THE FINAL SELECTION OF THE TEAM THAT FACED INDIA IN THE FINALS OF THE ICC
    WORLD CUP.

    EVIDENTLY THERE APPEARS NOW TO HAVE BEEN SOME INTERFERENCE WITH THE CAPTAIN, VICE CAPTAIN,
    AND SELECTORS DECISION; AND LIKE IT OR NOT IT IS VERY APPARENT THAT POLITICS SEEMS TO HAVE RAISED
    ITS UGLY HEAD IN THIS AREA OF SPORTS TOO, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT WAS ALMOST CERTAIN THAT THE SRI LANKAN CRICKET TEAM WAS ON THE VERGE OF WINNING THIS YEARS ICC WORLD CUP TROPHY.
    ADVERSELY, KEY PLAYERS WHO WERE IN TOP FORM WERE DROPPED AND OTHERS INCLUDED WHOSE
    PERFORMANCE & PHYSICAL FORM WERE QUESTIONABLE
    MUCH TO THE CHARGRIN OF THOSE CONCERNED.

    IT WAS A SAD DAY INDEED FOR SRI LANKA CRICKET – CRICKET AS IS OFT REPEATED IS A “GENTLEMENS GAME” & POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT IN A CRICKET TEAM SELECTION IS DEFINITELY NOT “CRICKET.” WHICH BEGS THE QUESTION: “BUT DO YOU NOW EVER FIND GENTLEMEN IN A POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT?.

  4. KingSasanka Says:

    Surely this is a great opportunity for someone to please his support base in the Middle East and take Cricket in Sri Lanka too under the controlling arm of the ever spreading dynasty.

  5. Dham Says:

    However, I do not buy into the idea that Murali played reluctantly. A player of his calibre surely has the capacity to reject any order and say no. It is his right.
    He instead wanted to have his party.
    How on this earth should tow off spinners should play.
    Muraliś record against India is slightly better than Australia only. In Australia he got hammered 100 runs in 10 overs.
    India he is much worse than Mendis and Herath.
    But I believ Murali played willingly. He betrayed this time.

  6. Samson Says:

    From what I heard, Namal Rajapaksha had selected the team for the final. I too heard that he wanted Murali to play and Mendis not to play. Kingsasanka, don’t worry the Muzammil piece of dirt will not make it. Suraj Dandeniya the UNP politician did well to ruin SLC. This government get all the dirty people in its house and mess up everything. Good for them. At least now they should learn the lesson.

  7. Dhnushka Says:

    So many conspiracy theories are coming up, this is another. Murali knew he was injured; he should not have played. If Sangakkara can’t fight and get the team he wants, he is not a Leader. Re Ajantha Mendis – Wickrama must prove the facts. I think these are Wickrma’s sheer imagination and fantasy. Overall the standard of the World Cup teams was very poor. Sri Lankan team came to the final by chance – home country advantage and the abandoned match with Australia. Sri Lanka could have won the final if not for the bad captainship of Sangakkara.

  8. geoff Says:

    There is another side to it.

    After 2 days of the world cup, Sanga was appointed the captain of Deccan Charges. He receives $700,000 from Indian Premier League for this season. I’m sure he has been promised many more years of million dollars by the Indians. Had he won the match against India would he get the same dollars from the IPL? If Sanga was a corporate executive, he will definitely be investigated for related party transactions.

    What has happened to the gentlemen’s game? It has gone to dollars.

  9. geoff Says:

    As someone wrote in Lankaweb, what’s all this fuss about the cricket world cup? It has already gone to money. There is little cricket in it. Money, money and money everywhere in cricket. Players are auctioned like horses. After that the horse runs according to the owner. So is Sanga still a gentleman?

    Politicians made it worse.

  10. jimmy Says:

    What nonsense it is ?? MURALI IS NOT A TAMIL DIlSHAN AND MATHEWS ARE NOT SINHALESE??

    DAM IT DAM IT DAMIT WHO IN TH F__K CARES THEIR RACE OLD FARTS??

    THEY ALL ARE SRILANKANS FIRST PEEK SAKE

  11. jimmy Says:

    correction:

    What nonsense it is ?? MURALI A TAMIL DIlSHAN AND MATHEWS ARE NOT BUDHIST SINHALESE??

    DAM IT DAM IT DAMIT WHO IN TH F__K CARES THEIR RACE OLD FARTS??

    THEY ALL ARE SRILANKANS FIRST PETE’S SAKE

  12. jimmy Says:

    Apologize if I hurt any one

    Peace
    We all are Srilankans First no more Tamils/Sinhalese/Muslims/Bergers / Malays

  13. De Costa Says:

    Jimmy,
    Don’t behave like kid.No need to say sorry. You were correct to condemn racism.
    You cannot get rid of ethnicity. Nothing wrong telling Murali is a Tamil. He is and he was a good Tamil.

    To all Sinhala Buddhist friends ,
    I can say thisto you . Jimmy too can read if you want. We are loosing this simple rule day by day.
    Buddha said particularly “kulesu ananugiddho” mening “not stcking to ones cast” in Karaniyametta Sutta.
    Not only this word but there are many prequalifications for people who want to be enlightened given at the begining of this Sutta. These prequlification, obviously required for all for sucess, even to win world cup.

    If the world cup team was selected on race, we do not obviously have that advantage of sharpness,keenness,enthusiasm alertness, etc etc. You are bund to lose.
    I agree it smells rat, when we consider,
    1. Sangakkara being a pioneer in IPL and a key individual in it.
    2. Kulasekara and Randiv in the same team as Dhoni, playing under him. Tatctically Dhony did not use these two player in the first match.
    3. Wat out for others in IPL too. Jayawardane not playing in IPL ? (not sure). Murali – will he play with injury ? Malinga, Kapu ?

    In my view IPL ( Indian Paga League) is devised to buy over foreign players. IPL should be banned in Sri lanka, if we are Sri lankans.

  14. jayasri Says:

    I refer to Geoff”s latest comment.Yes the article he refers to and titled:Our World Cup defeat…is it worth that big a cry? by Mario Perera, Kadawata lays down the rules of today’s international cricket.

  15. gishan Says:

    First of all all intelligent people should remember that there are no sinhalese or tamil or muslim people in Srilanka. But there are sinhalese language, tamil language, speaking people in srilanka. Although I am Sinhalese language speaking man, I can not say that I am a Sinhalese man. my all generation relations are Sinhalese language speaking Srilankans, But we can not say that we are Sinhalese people. All the people in this world are human lives. But Sinhala , Tamil, English, Black, white, Muslim, Cristians, Iran people , Iraq people, India people, Sri lanka people, America people, Russia people, tall people , short people are Choices. Any human life is greater than choices. For example, I am eating rice, so can I say that I am a rice man. no I am not a rice man. you may eat bread. then can you say that you are a bread man, no you are not a bread man. So first is human life and second is choices.

  16. LankaRavana Says:

    What is lacking in all spheres of Sri Lankan life is that there is no place for “Meritocracy”.
    Everything is determined on irrelevant other facts / conditions.
    Unless this issue is addressed, not only on forums likes this but in our everyday life, we are going to stay like this for the next 500 years.
    Jaywewa.

  17. SamGun Says:

    De Costa

    This is what Arjuna Ranatnga wanted to achieve (restrict players from IPL) but people thought that he was jealous of players marking money.
    Looks like Sanga didn’t get the best selection of players that he was hoping for…. But he should have done his best for the country by holding back the emotions, bad feelings against the officials. His facial expressions told me that he has already lost the match even before a ball has been bowled.
    See how well Malinga bowled for Mumbai today 5-13…. he didn’t have that motivation in the WP final over’s?
    Looks like playing for the country comes second….. Come on Lanka wakeup!!

  18. Nanda Says:

    Malinga always gives his 100%. Anyone can make mistakes. You have to forgive for mistakes. Malinga is loved even in Mumbai.
    But it is totally discouraging when you have a bowler like Kulasekara from the other end. Even he could feel he has to force himself to keep up his motivation. Remeber the sequence.
    Over 1 – Malinga strikes.
    Over 2 – Kulasekara provides batting warm up at 120+.
    Over 3 – Malinga bowling at 140+
    Over 4 – Kulasekara get hammered. Note Sanga keeping like for a spinner , near stumps.
    Over 5 – Malinga threatening batsman at 140+
    Over 6 – Perera replacing Kula.
    Over 7 – Malinga strikes again.
    Over 8 – Kula back again providing batting practice. (stupid move)
    Over 9 – Malinga replaced – pressure reduced further. ( double stupid move)
    Over 10 – Kula gets hammered again.

    This is the begining of losing the world cup.

  19. geoff Says:

    Jimmy,

    Your understanding of English is weak. These stupid views of some bigwigs I reproduced here are not mine. I don’t give anything if the entire Sri Lankan team was Tamil, Muslim or Sinhala. It does not matter at all. What matters is to have the best team of players who can legally represent the country. However, some stupid politicians don’t look at it that way. they go checking the ethnicity of players. God knows what they they will find! They blundered. Money minded players and the whole sport centred around money alone accelerated it. Use merit to decide who plays and who doesn’t play, not ethnicity, politics or money.

    Others,

    I don’t think banning players from playing in IPL is a good idea in today’s money centered world. That will make the best players play for IPL and not play for the country thereafter. We need some balance.

    Now Aravinda says the team lacked the “killer instinct”. Isn’t it too late to say it now? Bayliss says the same thing.

    Anyway I think we are wasting time. Most Sri Lankan team players are now busy playing the IPL. They have not a worry in their mind. We want to win more than they do. Only we lament over the win we lost. Sanga even said 350 would not have been enough for us to win. What a foolish thing to say? I don’t know how Indians would have scored 75 from 10 balls. But this is the attitude.

    Cricket fans love the game more than politicians, betting agents, IPL bosses and cricketers themselves. But they come last in the list.

  20. jimmy Says:

    Agree with you Geoff

  21. Nanda Says:

    Geoff,
    If the players love money more than country so be it.
    When you train young player and contract them you must bond them ofr a huge amount of money, so that they think twice. It is the country make them famous , not IPL. What is the point having them playing for the country if they do not give 100% ?
    Look at the Australian players. There is so much competition to get into the team and they dare not risk a match.
    However IPL is not the main issue. main issue is the Pandama. Even the captain get fed up with pandamas.

  22. ranjit Says:

    How much we argue counter argue we cannot do anything now.We completely lost the match in my view due to bad captaincy of Sanga. No captain will continue with a bad bowler who was thrashed all over the pitch by the opposition team like that. When Malinga,Murali and Dilshan had overs why Sanga continue with Kula.The answer is there.All these players and all the politicians love money. You know the Indians they are the world worst betting syndicate in the world.They are corrupt and dirty and they will buy anyone to be on top. If we won Sanga and the crowd wont be entertained in IPL Some idiot might even kill them because India is a cracy country with cracy people. Anyhow we hope we will have a better team without any political inteference when we face the next world cup. Also a bunch of die hard cricketers who loves their Motherland not money and power.

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