Some of the most promising young cricketers from various domestic clubs in Sri Lanka are set to play for the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) in the upcoming SLC tournaments, Cricket Age exclusively learns.
In July, former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene was appointed as the chairman of the SSC cricket committee. However, the high profile appointment couldn’t bring any change in SSC fortunes, as Dimuth Karunaratne led side were knocked out before Super 8 in the domestic cricket tournament and were forced to play in plate division. In plate also, the team has performed poorly so far.
After an unforgettable season, it seems that the grand old club has focused on poaching players from the other clubs.
According to sources, Ashen Bandara and Dilum Sadeera of Saracens and Kavindu Nadeeshan of Colombo Cricket Club (CCC) have already been taken by the SSC.
Ashen Bandara, a sensational middle-order batsman, is considered as one of the brightest batting prodigy in domestic circuit. Dilum – a left-arm spinner – and Kavindu – a right-arm leg spinner – were two main spinners for Sri Lanka in the U19 World Cup, which was played earlier this year.
“We groomed him (Ashen Bandara) for three years, giving him lodging and kept backing him without dropping from a single match. We had high hopes for him. Sad to see, he was trapped in SSC tactics” an insider at Saracens told Cricket Age.
“When Kavindu told us about his decision to leave the club, we didn’t force him to stay” an insider at CCC told Cricket Age.
In addition, the SSC is in talk with Saracens Kasun Rajitha, Chilaw Marians Asitha Fernando and Lasith Croospule as well. A lanky Right-arm medium-fast, Rajitha has already represented Sri Lanka in all three formats. Asitha Fernando has been groomed for National duites since last few years, while Croospule has become a run machine in domestic cricket.
On September 1 itself, Cricket Age had published that SSC has been accused of poaching rival clubs players by using unethical methods.
The sensational allegation was made by Chilaw Marians secretary Godfrey Dabrera, who is also the manager of international venues and stadiums at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).
“We wish to bring to your kind attention that we have reliable information that two of our players have been approached by current/former SSC players/third parties.
There is an understanding between first-class clubs that we will not try to poach players from each other Club’s by unethical methods. If a club really needs a certain player, then this request should come through official communication between club officials/management.
Therefore, we kindly request you to look into this matter and take necessary action” Godfrey, in his letter to SSC secretary Vasantha Wijesekera, dated August 31, has written.
When inquired further on the matter, Cricket Age learned that present SSC head Coach Thilana Kandambi and fast bowler Dhammika Prasad, who both played for Sri Lanka, have constantly been approaching other clubs players, using various kind of unethical tactics. Cricket Age understand that in last few weeks, apart from Chilaw Marians players, both Kandambi and Dhammika Prasad have also contacted other rival clubs cricketers in their bid to approach them to play for the SSC.
However, later it learnt that Kandambi and Dhammika Prasad are just pawn, as a former international player from the SSC, along with a current member of the national team, is the mastermind behind these unethical methods.
“The cricketers were told that they would be considered for the higher level selection, only if they accept the offer. The players, mostly emerging talents, are frightened by these tactics” a top official from Chilaw Marians told Cricket Age.
It has also learnt that Pasindu Sooriyabandara, an U19 batsman who played couple of matches for SSC in recent times, has already joined Moors cricket club, fearing he won’t get chances after new arrivals at the club.
Mahela Jayawardene, meanwhile, was recently appointed as the chairman of the National Sports Council. On the next day of the appointment, Mahela left for UAE, where he will be for next three months in his bid to Help Indian Premier League franchise Mumbai Indians winning it’s 3rd title, as head coach!