Is “Eershiyawa” (Jealousy) blocking Senaka Weeraratna and Sri Lanka from gaining credit for the invention of DRS?
Posted on March 23rd, 2022

Shenali Waduge

On 25 March 1997, the prestigious Australian” national newspaper published a letter to the editor from Senaka Weeraratna entitled Third Umpire should perform the role of Appeal Judge”.  It spelled out the concept of ‘Player Referral’ which is now universally known as the UDRS or DRS (Decision Review System). It’s now exactly 25 years since that groundbreaking idea was first aired in public and the ICC administered cricket world making the best use of it, without even conveying a simple ‘Thank you’ acknowledgment to the inventor of the idea.  

Senaka Weeraratna continues to struggle to achieve the recognition he richly deserves for authorship of a concept that allows players to challenge the ruling of an on-field umpire, which is now used in all forms of sports, not only cricket.

While we may speculate on racism by the world cricket body ICC to stall and deny the rightful place Senaka Weeraratna deserves on account of him not being white, it does not make up for the shoddy treatment that mainstream cricket institutions in Sri Lanka that have been established to promote cricket and win accolades for Sri Lanka internationally, maintaining a deafening silence in respect to his justifiable claims.

We can only put it down to ‘Eershiyawa’ (Jealousy) & envy on the part of Sri Lankans to not take up the cause of a fellow Sri Lankan whose brainchild deserves the merit for authoring the umpire referral system. International bodies with a colonial mindset have a tendency to rob ideas of non-whites and register them as patents securing the intellectual property for themselves leaving no returns for the traditional owner of the intellectual property.  The ICC should not leave any room for anyone to accuse the ICC of stealing the ‘Player Referral’ idea from a Sri Lankan.  

From the Sri Lanka Cricket Board, all of the former Sri Lankan cricket captains and top players, to even successive Sports Ministers & other officials who are well aware of Senaka Weeraratna’s single-handed quest to achieve justice, so far not one has come forward with a view to extending their support.  While they all have plenty of time to make a profit, campaign for their personal glorifications none has thought it fit to rally a campaign to demand that the world cricketing body declare UDRS as the Weeraratna Referral System.  He is the only one claiming authorship worldwide with supporting publications and evidence.

Senaka Weeraratna has approached the local cricketing body countless times and made numerous appeals while numerous others have written on his behalf but to no avail. Jealousy has taken precedence over the sound judgment of both local cricket administrators and the cricket establishment comprising world – famous Sri Lankan cricketers.  They have no genuine excuses for their lapses.

Every Sri Lankan and even well-wishers of Sri Lanka must view Senaka Weeraratna’s brainchild ‘ Player Referral’ which evolved into DRS, as another cap to Sri Lanka’s international achievements. DRS is the most talked – about aspect of cricket today.  

Our country, Sri Lanka, can never aspire to prosper when our own do not wish to help another achieve due credit and recognition for creativity.  ‘Eershiyawa’ (Jealousy) unfortunately has become the bane of the decision – makers of this country.  

 Shenali Waduge

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