After much fuss, uncertainty and drama, the One Day domestic tournament of Sri Lanka is currently underway. However, by giving a miss to the domestic tournament, Chief Selector Asantha De Mel and his fellow selector Vinothen John are on the overseas joyrides currently, with the senior and U19 teams respectively.
In his first tenure itself, Asantha De Mel, as chief selector, was an epic failure, largely due to his biased selection policies and a habit of promoting his favorites, his bosses favorites and politically influenced players, like Angelo Perera, Ramith Rambukwella, Lahiru Thirimane.
However, as De Mel himself is a firm believer of political influence and uses this tool perfectly to get things done in his favour, there was no hurdle at all for him to secure second term as Chief Selector in his mission to destroy Sri Lanka Cricket further.
Moreover, since last few months, Asantha De Mel is not only the chief selector, but has also become team’s manager now (he is also the unofficial spokesperson of the national team)!
Not only Asantha, the Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) is nowadays sending all three national selectors as managers, with senior, emerging and U19 squads!
Asantha De Mel is currently in Pakistan with the senior team, while Vinothen John is roaming in West Indies with U19 team. Chaminda Mendis, third member of the selection committee, has also just returned from Nepal.
The first question that comes in the mind in this scenario, is that who picks the new upcoming talents then, from these hastily arranged domestic tournaments? In the ongoing One Day tournament itself so far, young batting prodigies like Kamindu Mendis, Lasith Croospule and Charith Asalanka have emerged as standout performers with blistering knocks.
All these players are future prospects for Sri Lanka and are certain to play for the national team in coming years. However, when they need attention from the selection committee, the selectors are roaming around the globe as managers!
Insiders in Sri Lanka Cricket, however, revealed that Asantha De Mel led selection committee was never interested in domestic tournament, one of the main reason why they failed miserably in their first tenure.
“Asantha De Mel, particularly, has never witnessed a domestic match. This selection committee has no time for the domestic tournament. Instead, once the tournaments finishes, they just collects statistics and depends on the data base for future selections. Forget about going for outstation domestic matches, they never bothers to watch even Colombo matches. That’s the reality of Asantha De Mel led selection panel” an insider of Sri Lanka Cricket told Cricket Age.
In any other cricket playing nation, the cricket boards makes it sure that the selection committee remains unreachable from the players. In India, for example, the long standing policy of the BCCI is that the selection committee members attends all the domestic matches one by one, along with state coordinators. In another policy of BCCI, selectors are not allowed to get involved with players in any other capacity. In last two years itself, plenty of players, including national discarded Ambati Rayudu, have openly said that it’s very hard to reach to selectors and get their opinion on the selection policy.
In Sri Lanka, SLC has allowed Asantha De Mel led selection committee to mingle with the players and reach in their rooms even, by appointing them managers on tours! As managers, Asantha and CO travels, stays and involves in all other activities with the players.
Experts are on the opinion that this is a self-distructive move by SLC to appoint selectors as team managers. In the U19 setup itself, Sri Lanka Cricket has witnessed how one of the junior selector Farveez Maharoof, coincidentally also a politically appointed like Asantha De Mel, has continuely been destroying U19 players, by importing whisky bottles and leather jackets through them!
Asantha De Mel is already notorious for biased selections. Inclusion of useless Dinesh Chandimal by discarding Kusal Perera (Who played test cricket’s greatest innings just few months ago) in the playing eleven for ongoing Two match test series in Pakistan proves that Asantha De Mel has learned nothing from his past mistakes. Keeping ever failure and completely useless Lahiru Thirimane in the national setup despite a lone century in one decade long career also gives the true picture of Asantha De Mel’s selection knowledge (he himself would have scored more hundreds than Thirimane after so many gifted test matches). It also proves that as on tour selector and manager, Asantha De Mel is harming the team, more than contributing.
In past, Sri Lanka had blessed with some of the most reputed and respected people as team managers, most notably Anura Tennakoon, Ranjith Fernando, Michael De Zoysa, Charith Senanayake etc.
Now, in order to oblige people like Asantha De Mel, who can help in getting political blessings to run the board, SLC has completely twisted the tradition, by leaving the domestic players stranded, without the attention of the selection committee!