The cutting edge dimension far reaching plan driven by Sri Lanka Cricket’s far sighted President, Thilanga Sumathipala to steer the sport in Sri Lanka under a hitherto never seen concept to drive domestic cricket at all levels in the length and breadth of the country is by all accounts path breaking for the cricket crazy island nation whose over 20 million people delight in.
It would effectively be path breaking for the future of Sri Lanka cricket given the fact that the game had been negated in the past due to the lack of an adequate network and finances to address cricket and set in smooth motion from the grassroots level of the domestic periphery undermining national performance; mainly in the longer version of 5-day cricket. Thus, the vision that was spelled out by Sumathipala the other day would in effect be the realization of a long felt goal that the cricket loving president had for years been keen to implement but is now within his ambit to go ahead with having come back to administer the county’s cricket by an overwhelming election victory at the last board AGM. The solid plan, as Sumathipala termed it at the recent media confab, will give a necessary face-lift to domestic cricket from the core base of the 2016 Premier League Tournament getting underway on November 25 on the back of a major financial covering of Rs.264 million. What adds momentum to the highly ambitious plan around the financial muscle to it is that Sri Lanka Cricket has addressed all key areas from contracting the prime 85 players to represent the country. Besides, the all round result oriented drive aimed at finds its accelerating muscle through a well streamlined financial pumping of Rs.264 million to conduct the Premier Tournament.
That the financial umbrella giving financial fruition to the local gamut expands by way of bowling machines for the premier clubs and Rs.11 million and Rs. 9 million each respectively for the Tier A & B clubs is noteworthy. It would give the 24 clubs that much of expenditure range while the bowling machines facility is vast in terms of driving the latent talent of prospective national bowlers from the domestic set up. The SLC President has been deadbeat on his mission in respect of the clubs in stating that “We have identified our clubs as the place that we promote, sustain and develop cricket in our country, and we will invest as much as possible in this area. For Sri Lanka to make an indelible mark on the world arena we need to focus on strengthening and developing our domestic Cricket, this will provide us with a world class pool of players to select from. Our focus is on the quality of cricket and not just the quantity.”
The Sumathipala vision for Sri Lanka cricket is indeed all about great expectations for the nation which has become a force in world cricket, but has been found lacking in certain areas to expand its game to meeting the demands of modern cricket. In Test cricket, the new domestic concept has the trimmings of coming of age. The desired financial security and modern infrastructure now set in place would give the clubs the necessary financial muscle to developing while raise playing standards. This would in turn be a maximised feeding curve to the national grid that would in turn see player talent developed to meeting the challenges of opposition on the big international stage.
By Srian Obeyesekere