Sri Lanka cricket in recovery of sorts, but at what price?
BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE
Chandika Hathurusinghe and Dinesh Chandimal confer after ball tampering charges.
Sri Lanka beat the odds, survived the cheating allegations against Skipper Dinesh Chandimal and courageously squared the Test series against the West Indies but at a cost.
A country admired for their outstanding sportsmanship on the field over the years previous, they now share a tarnished reputation with some of the other countries who have come unstuck with their innovative methods at gaining unfair advantage over the opposition through cheating.
Oddly enough their current series against touring South Africa led by Faf Du Plessis sees two countries whose Skippers have brought the game into disrepute pitted against each other although the Lankans are waiting with bated breath hoping for Chandimal to get off with a reprimand for what seemed a blatant act of cheating at St. Lucia in the West Indies. And this seems highly unlikely judging by the glaring evidence provided.
Under the direction of new coach Chandika Hathurusinghe, the Lankans appear to be rebuilding at a slow but positive rate. But the incidents in the Caribbean has not been encouraging if desperate measures are found to be the direction given to the team by their mentors to win matches.
A proper inquiry and stiff disciplinary action against Chandimal is envisaged by the governing body of the sport in the Island if they aim to set a good example to the future generation who need to be drilled that there is pride associated with donning the national cap.
What also needs to be established is how much the coaching staff and management knew about Chandimal’s actions and if any of them also had a hand in it.
Sri Lanka much like some of the top nations have built their game around exemplary sportsmanship within the framework of the rules unlike the Aussies who play it hard and sometimes get carried away with their intimidatory tactics.
Following Australia’s fall from grace in South Africa, where Skipper Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were sprung for ball tampering and quite rightly dealt with harshly by Cricket Australia to stamp out the embarrassing menace threatening the game, it was reprehensible that Chandimal even contemplated such a foolish course knowing full well the repercussions that go with it if found guilty.
Now they face the dilemma of fronting up to a strong South Africa without a captain , head coach and manager, all found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute through their actions of threatening to walk out of a match in dissent of the umpires decision to charge them with ball tampering.
Only Hathurusinghe’s astute guidance before the ban can save them from being embarrassed at home by the Proteas.