While Sri Lanka Cricket is in government-imposed limbo, the national selection committee under has lobbied the government to appoint Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Aravinda de Silva and Roshan Mahanama as cricket consultants for SLC.
Jayawardene, though, has already announced he is uninterested, citing the ineffectiveness of previous official committees he has been a part of. The others have not yet responded to the request.*
The selectors’ request was deftly timed; generally, Sangakkara and Jayawardene are kept at arm’s length by the board – the pair constantly critical of the self-interest they believe is rampant in Sri Lanka’s cricket administration. But with the board is temporarily defunct, and with the government now essentially running cricket in the country, the selectors have seen an opening to get them involved in officially shaping the nation’s cricket. Mahanama and de Silva, who also have at times had a strained relationship with SLC’s elected officials, have in the past voiced ideas on how cricket in Sri Lanka might be improved as well.
In addition to getting those four on board as general consultants, the selectors have also requested that Muttiah Muralitharan be brought on board as a spin-bowling consultant.
Jayawardene’s objection to being part of a consulting committee was down to negative experiences. He tweeted:
With all due respect to the selectors & the sports minister i have spent 1 year in the cricket committee & 6 months in a special advisory committee & no recomendations were implimented. I dont have any trust in the system. If any one wants to buy time please dont use us! https://t.co/tRXyLJ65n3
— Mahela Jayawardena (@MahelaJay) June 14, 2018
Previously, Jayawardene had also devised a provincial domestic cricket structure focused on long-term growth, only for that plan to be scrapped when the board headed by Thilanga Sumathipala was voted in.
Moreover, there is a question as to whether there is enough time for these proposed consultants to make any tangible impact. Board elections may be held sometime over the next few months, after which – depending on who is voted in – the likes of Jayawardene, Sangakkara and Mahanama may be unwelcome once more. The “special advisory committee” Jayawardene referred to, had submitted official reports to the sports ministry with recommendations on how SLC must be restructured. Little, however, has come of that work.
Sports minister Faiszer Mustapha, who was officially informed of the selectors’ requests on Wednesday, initially appeared amenable to the idea of appointing these players in the roles the selectors have suggested. He also said that he would like to see the SLC constitution changed, but had not offered anything concrete on how it should change, or when.
*The story was updated with Jayawardene’s response.