Sajith Fernando’s migration to USA unfolds another chapter of Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC), where it has increasingly become impossible for any honest and straight forward person to stay in the toxic environment.
In August 2017, when Graeme Labrooy led selection committee replaced legendary Sanath Jayasuriya panel, they promised to give a transparent and performance basis selection process. Graeme Labrooy committee further promised that they won’t be biased and won’t choose ‘favourites’, which was the biggest cause of Jayasuriya’s removal.
In next few months, it had become clear that those were just hollow promises, which is a common disease of subcontinental politicians. Graeme Labrooy turned out a complete manipulater, incompetent and a thoroughly ‘yes man’ for his godfathers!
However, one of the selector of his committee remained firm on his stance. He was Sajith Fernando! The former domestic Legend of Sri Lanka cricket, who could not play for the national team largely due to internal politics.
After becoming a selector, once he said “I scored over 10000 runs in domestic cricket, even then couldn’t play for Sri Lanka. So, I knows the pain of a player, when he doesn’t get chance after performing. I have suffered from that pain in my life, but it’s promise I won’t do injustice to any player as a selector.”
Perhaps, that time itself, he had become a misfit in Labrooy’s committee. Labrooy as a selector has nothing more than a ‘rubber stamp’ and that’s his only quality, why he has been reappointed.
A loyal of a former SLC President and a former Sports Minister, Labrooy has become a ‘yes man’ for everyone at the SLC, who wanted to bring their ‘favourites’ into the national team!
Labrooy was fulfilling their agendas! However, still there was a hurdle. Sajith was not ready to pick players on ‘influence.’ He fought for every player, who performed well in domestic cricket. He fought with Labrooy. At that particular time, Then SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala brought another Messiah Chandika Hathurusingha. Moreover, he gave Hathurusingha all the powers.
Hathurusingha has his own way to coach the team. He wants all the decision making powers in his hands. As a chief selector, Labrooy happily gave all his powers to Hathurusingha and became a ‘Skype selector.’ But, Sajith refused it.
As a result, When SLC appointed new selection committee in May 2018, Labrooy managed to save his post. Sajith couldn’t! He was thrown out of the national team setup.
Though, Sajith didn’t take it personally. He didn’t held grudge for anyone, even though he knows very well who conspired against him – by circulating many lies about him.
Even after his removal from the selection committee, he was hopeful. He was hopeful that, the SLC will recognize his multitasking qualities in one or other way. Mind you, he was not only a straight forward selector, he was also one of the most successful coach in Sri Lanka domestic cricket history – for Nondescript Cricket Club. But, SLC has had a long time problem, that it never recognize honest persons. SLC scares with any person who is transparent! SLC Top brass prefers ‘yes men’ only. They needs people’s, who can fulfill their hidden agendas. Sajith was none of these!
That’s why, he is migrating to USA. Six months after his removal is a selector, he has realized that he can’t fit into toxic and conspirational environment of SLC.
Though, he can migrate happily. It’s not his loss, that he couldn’t fit into Sri Lanka cricket. It’s the fault of SLC that they couldn’t utilize another asset. Moving out of Sri Lanka is not Sajith’s loss. It’s the loss of Sri Lanka cricket. Last week, SLC removed Anti Corruption head Ayush Weerakoody. Then they forced national team manager Charith Senanayake to resign. Now, Hathurusingha is planning to oust national team fielding coach Manoj Abeywikrama. And now, Sajith Fernando is migrating to USA. Now, there are only people’s like Labrooy and Tillakaratne’s at SLC!