Warning of cricketers’ playboy lifestyles fell on deaf (ears) Years – By CALLISTUS DAVY

Warning of cricketers’ playboy lifestyles fell on deaf (ears) Years – By CALLISTUS DAVY

Warning of cricketers’ playboy lifestyles fell on deaf (ears) Years - By CALLISTUS DAVY

Dhanushka Gunathilaka

Source : sundayobserver

The case of disgraced Sri Lanka cricketer Dhanushka Gunathilaka did not happen overnight. It was some kind of a time bomb waiting to explode and warnings by the media over the conduct of present day players when compared to the gentlemen of the past was merely brushed off by an administrative system, or no system, that festered over the past 20 years.

Ignorance or arrogance on the part of some so-called democratically elected administrators was the name of the game in governing the affairs of Sri Lankan cricket and journalists who have been in the business come hell or high water for 30 or 40 years and who have declined to subscribe to degradation were either seen as their enemy or the friend of their enemy.

It had to take a World Cup in one of the most prestigious cricket playing locations that has one of the most law abiding systems in the world to expose everything that the Sri Lankan media has been nudging for years. It came to light in a matter of hours and the fact that Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe had to bite the bullet and tender an apology to the Australian government, its people and the International Cricket Council (ICC) only acknowledged that what happened was extremely serious with damaging consequences to the country’s image.

It was not the first time that Gunathilaka had indulged in off-field frolics or escapades that now puts him in a situation where the country frowns on him and his keepers. Questions are being raised and fingers pointed against administrators for even overturning a recommended two-year ban for a serious case of misconduct on a tour of England last year that made Gunathilaka a free man after six months.

No less a person than that of former champion cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga was able to say it forcefully when he remarked in the aftermath of Gunathilaka’s sex scandal that the lifting of the ban in six months “gave the player enough to think that he can get away doing anything he wants”

What Ranatunga said only reinforced the declaration that Gunathilaka is a creation of a system at Sri Lanka Cricket sustained over the years. What the scandalized Gunathilaka did was expose a kind of system that everyone outside the walls of Sri Lanka Cricket wants changed that never seems to be happening. That SLC issues a statement saying it now wants to “take stern action” against Gunathilaka if found guilty only shows to what extend administrators had lapsed and turned a blind eye until bad behaviour among players was allowed to fester to draw the attention of the world’s media.

The conduct of some cricket officials has been well documented by both the print and electronic media over the past two decades. The power of money and political clout made them live 10 feet above the ground not in touch with ground realities. The media is a convenient scapegoat to be used for a particular purpose and then damned when things go wrong,

Gunathilaka was a player representing Sri Lanka at a World Cup carrying the expectations of a nation of 22 million people who are not the private property of any individual. That he paid scant respect to the National Lion flag and the ambassadorial image of the team only spoke of the level to which the administration of cricket in the country had fallen into over a 20 year period.

Gunathilaka was a player or some might say no player who merely took advantage of the leniency of a weak cricket administrative system. An administration that can also have its own personal interests and wait for some luck to happen on the field of play to justify its purpose which has been the scenario over the past 20 years but never before the way it is now in the wake of the most disgraceful tour undertaken by a team that was once hailed as the pride of a nation.

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