Forget about the national team’s controversies of fractions within players, changing and chopping of coaches and biased, politically influenced selection, now even Sri Lanka junior cricket is also going in the same direction.
After the Asia Cup, while India were crowned with the coveted trophy, Sri Lanka team found itself in the center of yet another controversy!
As Cricket Age published yesterday (September 20) how three U19 players were found drunk in their hotel room after team’s semifinal clash against India was washed out at P. Sara Stadium, Colombo on September 12.
However, when Cricket Age inquired about the matter, it emerged that more than players, it was the fault of team management – manager Farveez Maharoof, school cricket representative Viraj De Silva and Liaison officer Rohana Chandrakantha – for the embarrassing incident.
Especially, the conduct of Farveez Maharoof, team’s manager, was the most questionable during the tournament.
In last few months, he has become one of the most high profile and influential former player in Sri Lanka, largely due to his high level connections at SLC. Maharoof already drawing two salaries from SLC, as he is also in the U19 selection committee. Apart from this, he also does commentary without any hurdle with the blessings of his guardians.
During the Asia Cup as well, Maharoof conduct as Team manager was questionable! Midway through the tournament, for an entire day, he left the team for the inauguration of his new venture, a pre school in Dehiwala, Colombo. Former Sri Lanka players Muttiah Muralitharan, Rangana Herath, Ajantha Mendis, Aravinda De Silva all were present for the inauguration of his pre-school.
Most Shockingly, as it has always been a case with SLC, the top administrators were clueless about Maharoof’s absence for an entire day, that too midway through a global tournament!
It has learnt that until few months back, Sri Lanka U19 team had blessed with a dynamic, no nonsense and strict manager Nalinda Illangakoon, who is a retired army officer. During his tenure, team never faced this sort of embarrassment.
However, right after the change of the administration at SLC, Illangakoon was shown the doors and appointed Maharoof, only for the non cricketing reasons.
Now, after the shameful incident, SLC is likely to slap a punishment on the players. All three players have been removed from Bangladesh touring squad and will be given a warning. That’s a logical move by SLC, instead of going too harsh on players, as they are the future of Sri Lanka Cricket!
However, Maharoof deserves a suspension as team manager as well as junior selector. SLC must hold an inquiry against Maharoof for this serious breach of contract and must keep him away from the game until the outcome of the inquiry.
Then again, it’s very unlikely to be happened. Reason, the Supreme Authority of Sri Lanka Cricket Thilanga Sumathipala, who is still running the show from Punchi Borella after successfully plotting a fallout drama with Shammi Silva, will never allow any action against Maharoof, who’s father is a close associate of former SLC President!