Domestic cricket in chaos | Daily News

Domestic cricket in chaos

Domestic cricket in Sri Lanka has been thrown into chaos with Sri Lanka Cricket unable to get their much vaunted and spendthrift Major limited-over tournament off the ground when Negombo Cricket Club obtained a stay order last Friday to suspend the tournament because of their ‘unfair’ exclusion from it.

The much hyped Major limited overs tournament was launched in a glitzy ceremony at R Premadasa Stadium last week with estimated costs running to over Rs. 5 million according to reliable sources.

Dunstan Goluhewa, president of Negombo CC relating the events that led to them obtaining an interim injunction against SLC going ahead with the tournament told the ‘Daily News’: “We played the 2015/16 Sara trophy final against Sebastianites in August and lost it by 52 runs. Subsequently it was brought to our notice that Sebastianites had played six higher division players in their team and we lodged a protest regarding that.

“The interim committee under Sidath Wettimuny which was running SLC at the time inquired into our protest and found that Sebastianites were guilty of the offence and afterwards awarded us the Sara trophy which brought us promotion to play in Tier B of the Premier tournament for 2016/17. This was confirmed to us by letter by SLC. Prior to the start of the 2016/17 season we were called up for the fixtures meeting for the Premier Tier ‘B’ 3-day Emerging tournament and subsequently issued match fixture schedules for the Major limited 50-over and Major T20 tournaments. We were also presented with a cheque for Rs 1.6 million for expenses during the season by SLC. We were due to play our first match in the Premier Tier B but the first weekend of matches was washed out by bad weather.

“In the meantime Sebastianites had filed a court case against SLC asking to be reinstalled as Sara trophy champions of 2015/16. The court requested SLC to intervene and settle the issue. The SLC tournament committee requested us to replay the final after one year and six months (which was a joke) to which we refused. The SLC subsequently withdrew us from participating in the 2016/17 Premier Tier B tournament.

“The Premier Tier B tournament went ahead without us. We filed action in the Colombo District Court against the decision to deprive us of playing and sought an order to make the Premier Tier B tournament null and void. The case is due to be taken up on March 3. Subsequently we were also kept out of the two Major tournaments (limited over and T20) which the SLC is due to conduct this month. We obtained a stay order from the Colombo District Court on our unfair exclusion from these tournaments and SLC have been informed by the court to show sufficient reasons for keeping us out and given time till February 23 to file their answers. The action of the SLC has deprived our club and players whom we recruited because of our promotion from showcasing their talent and gaining national recognition.”

SLC CEO Ashley de Silva confirmed that they had been informed by court that there is an interim injunction brought against SLC conducting the major one-day tournament and that the matches scheduled for Saturday did not take place.

“We are waiting for a written confirmation on the interim injunction to make an official statement,” said De Silva.

The SLC are already under a cloud with a case of match-fixing in the Premier Tier B league tournament between Panadura SC and Kalutara PCC being investigated by a three-member panel. The allegation brought against the two clubs by Sri Lanka Ports Authority CC (SLPA) is that the match was “fixed” to allow Panadura SC to emerge victorious and become champions of Premier Tier B which would automatically grant them promotion to Tier A the following season and also bigger funds from SLC. It was more of a win-win situation where in return Kalutara PCC were also given the opportunity to avoid relegation to a lower division. According to sources, on a rain-hit final day both Panadura and Kalutara teams had lost 24 wickets and had recorded a run rate of over 10 runs per over.

It has been revealed that in 20 minutes, 13 overs have been bowled allowing Panadura to chase a target of 165 within a mere 13.4 overs scoring at a run rate of 12.21 per over. SLPA who were also in the running to win the Tier B title but failed, allege that due to the tactics adopted by the two teams they have been deprived of the honour and promotion.

The scores of that first-class match: Kalutara PCC 390 in 103 overs and 197 in 22.5 overs; Panadura SC 423 in 68.3 overs and 167-7 in 13.4 overs. The match officials were: Jayantha de Silva and Gamini Dissanayake (umpires) and SM Faumi (match referee).

SLC vice president K. Mathivanan who is also the Head of Domestic Cricket assured that the culprits will be brought to book and that justice will be done. “The ICC’s Anti-Corruption officer Lakshman de Silva is leading the prosecution. We don’t want to rush it and allow room for either party’s to go to courts and make a mockery out of this whole thing. The report once it is ready will be presented to the ExCo for a final decision,” said a determined Mathivanan who wants to see proper justice done in the name of cricket.

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