Sports

Dharmadasa’s arrival turns SLC into a‘Malay pickle’

• Ongoing SLC drama may lead to further pandemonium

By Revatha S. Silva

The resignation of former Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Vice President Kangadaran Mathivanan with exactly a week to go for the parliamentary election in Sri Lanka created quite the shock. This was further doubled when SLC President Shammi Silva sought to replace Mathivanan with Mathivanan’s close ally and Silva’s rival candidate for Presidency at the previous SLC election, Jayantha Dharmadasa, within hours after that resignation on Wednesday, 29 July.

This has led to a situation where chaos and pandemonium have superseded stability and calmness at Maitland Place which may result in high-level governmental intervention in the local cricket administration after the election on 5 August, an informed source told The Morning Sports yesterday (2).

Blunder by both Dharmadasa and Silva

“Dharmadasa’s sudden entry has provided more problems than solutions for SLC and Shammi Silva’s administration. The Dharmadasa camp and the Silva camp (formerly the Thilanga Sumathipala camp) are traditional rivals. Dharmadasa will have to work in a hostile environment when he assumes duties after the election,” the above source said.

“It is a rash move on the part of President Silva as well. An unnecessary tit for tat. Already, the board employees are laughing at what is happening inside their own walls. Silva will have more enemies within, rather than from outside, because of his uninformed decision,” he explained.

Pathetic move

Mathivanan, who was part of the many SLC executive committees since 2005, resigned after holding office for over 15 months since his election in February last year.

Mathivanan was the only member to be elected from the Dharmadasa-led camp in that election. He won while Dharmadasa, Arjuna Ranatunga, and Nishantha Ranatunga, who also represented his team, lost comprehensively at the February 2019 SLC Annual General Meeting.

Therefore for the past 15 months, Mathivanan was working in an envious atmosphere altogether. Dharmadasa, Mathivanan’s Presidential candidate last year, coming in to fill Mathivanan’s vacancy at SLC is hilarious and also pathetic, many whom we talked to over the situation commented.

Wilcassim and Algama run to SLC

Meanwhile Dharmadasa’s long-time confidantes Shibley Wilcassim and Priyantha Algama entered the SLC office last week to prepare their boss’s room to the utter dismay of SLC staffers.

On the developments, Cricket Age website had the following to report yesterday (2): “Last (Wednesday, 29 July) night, Mr. Shibley was there instructing the workers. Only SLC Head of Administration Aruna de Silva was there last night, who offered meals for them (both Wilcassim and Algama) by the board. The workers resumed work today (Thursday) morning again,” an insider at SLC told Cricket Age.

“It is also learnt that along with Dharamadasa’s cabin, there are two extra cabins that are also being made, most likely for Shibley and Algama. Shibley, a long-time associate of Dharmadasa, runs The Cricket Shop in Colpetty, Colombo and sells cricket goods. Algama runs few small businesses,” the report added.

Our source revealed that this reaction from Dharmadasa’s men can create repugnance among SLC staffers and all its stakeholders.

Conflict between VPs

Offering Jayantha Dharmadasa responsibilities of international cricket has also annoyed other officials, particularly the other Vice President of SLC who previously handled international cricket, Ravin Wickremaratne.

“Cricket Age had published on 31 July itself that Dharmadasa has been given the responsibility of overseeing international cricket at SLC, while another Vice President, Ravin Wickremaratne, will continue to look after domestic cricket affairs,” the report explained.

Now Wickremaratne is left with only the responsibilities of domestic cricket, reportedly, to the dismay of the veteran official.

Yet there is no apparent international cricket in the remainder of the year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and Dharmadasa, who is also the incumbent National Film Corporation (NFC) Chairman, might not have much work to do at SLC.

Possibility of an interim committee

“It is hunger for posts and prestige. I can’t figure out any other reason for Dharmadasa to grab this post in this kind of situation,” our source further explained.

“This kind of unnecessary pandemonium will prompt the probable Gotabaya Rajapaksa Government to soon look into cricket affairs and clear the mess. Therefore, an appointment of an interim committee cannot be ruled out,” he predicted.