Sports Opinion

Mathivanan is ready to fight back

Kangadaran Mathivanan: Throwing down the gauntlet to present SLC administration, now under scrutiny of all quarters

During the past two weeks, The Morning Sports published views of Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) current President Shammi Silva and its Vice President Ravin Wickramaratne. Today we will meet Kangadaran Mathivanan, former Vice President of SLC, who will be leading SLC’s opposition camp in its next election, set for 20 May.

In the field of local cricket administration which is full of unyielding controversies, mud-slinging, allegations of corruption, and bureaucracy, Mathivanan is one individual whose integrity has not been challenged even by his worst detractors. Being in the cricket administration for almost two decades, he has seen it all and managed to keep a strong reputation for himself right throughout.

Only opposition member to win

The confidence the SLC affiliated clubs have had on Mathivanan was evident in abundance at last SLC election held in February 2019. Mathivanan became the only candidate from his camp, led by Jayantha Dharmadasa then, to be elected into the SLC ex-co.

In the 2019 election, Shammi Silva, backed by former SLC strongman Thilanga Sumathipala, received 83 out of a possible 142 votes while his rival Dharmadasa got only 56.

Quit SLC in June 2020

That time Mathivanan could return as Vice President becoming the only member of the Dharmadasa faction to be elected by the clubs. That time, notably, the World-Cup-winning Captain Arjuna Ranatunga too contested for one of the two Vice President posts but could savour only 72 votes. Ravin Wickramaratne of the Silva camp got 82 votes while Mathivanan took 80 to enter the SLC ex-co of 2019-21.

Over a year, he was the Vice President in what was an “enemy body” but following incessant reprisals, Mathivanan quit SLC in June last year. Astonishingly, soon after his resigning entered the leader of his faction Jayantha Dharmadasa to SLC to fill Matgivanan’s void

Q: Will the election be held as scheduled on 20th of May 2021?

A: I really don’t know that. I only know that there is a case filed in the Appeal Court by some eminent people requesting an overhaul of the SLC including changes to its Constitution. But I don’t know whether that case will have a bearing anyway on the election.

Q: Let’s say the Appeal Court is going to react to this petition. Then what would likely be the outcome?

A: Reportedly that petition (filed by 12 former SLC administrators and professionals last Monday in the Appeal Court of Sri Lanka) has been filed not only on the SLC’s Constitution. There are so many things that have been mentioned in that with regard to the changes that need to take place in our cricket administration.

Appointment of an interim committee after all this, with the intervention of the Minister of Sports (Namal Rajapaksa), cannot be entirely ruled out too.

Q: How is the preparation of your camp for the May election?

A: We are ready. We will be giving our nominations on the last day, 24th of this month. The seven nominees for the main posts are ready from our side to give nominations.

Nishantha Ranatunga will be our Secretary. Bandula Warnapura will be one candidate for the post of Vice President. All our candidates are former national or first-class cricketers.

Q: If you are elected, what measures will you take to change the situation of Sri Lanka’s cricket at the moment?

A: I can’t just say a few things. There will be so many things to do to reverse the disappointing trend right now. There will be so many areas we will need to cover. Having a transparent administration could be our priority. We will have our manifesto before giving nominations.

Q: If the Sports Minister takes up this petition issue seriously and appoint a separate body to run cricket, will you be part of it.

First of all, I don’t whether I could be called to be part of such a body or such body will ever be appointed.

But if the authorities are to appoint an interim committee to run the game at least for a short duration, they will have to look for independent and impartial persons.

Now being in the election campaign leading one camp, I may not be able to fulfil that “impartial” requirement.