Former Sri Lanka player Russel Arnold is these days busy doing Indian Premier League (IPL) commendatory for the Star Sports Tamil Channel. As the IPL 2020 is currently being broadcasted and streamed LIVE in almost 120 countries world-wide, Arnold has been included in Tamil commentary panel, mainly to target South Indian audience.
However, while Sri Lanka cricket fans have no issues with Arnold’s commentary assignment, it’s his new-found, over the top love and unnecessary praising for the Indian players, which has angered many.
It is noteworthy that unnecessarily singing the praises for Indian players, just to get lucrative IPL assignments, has become a new-norm for majority of retired cricketers around the world. And as their sole intention is to make money from the cash-rich cricket extravaganza, they never criticizes Indian players or comments negative about the league. They just sings praise songs, not only while doing on-air commentary, but on social platforms also.
Arnold, who played 44 tests, 180 ODIs and 1 T20Is for Sri Lanka and then migrated to Australia, is facing Sri Lanka cricket fans wrath for the same reasons. These days his twitter account is all about Indian players. In Sri Lanka, now he praises only recently appointed Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa (not difficult to guess, why).
Arnold’s ‘selective praising’ is another hot topic on social platforms these days. In 2018, Arnold was appointed Sri Lanka Premier League (SLPL) director for three years. Cricket Age has the access of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) ExCo minute, that reads that Arnold was appointed for a whopping salary of $ 10,000 per month.
It was gifted to Arnold by then SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala (who has now been kicked out from the cricket, due to his involvement in match fixing) with vested interests! Cricket Age understands that even though that particular SLPL edition never took place, Arnold happily flee to Australia, taking approximately $ 40, 000 as salary for four months.
Now, Sri Lanka cricket fans are disappointed that once a SLPL director, Arnold is busy praising Indian players, while SLC is once again gearing up for its own T20 league – this time renamed as Lanka Premier League (LPL). SLC vice president Ravin Wickramaratne is the tournament director this time around, and the player auction will take place on October 1. As per SLC, more than 250 top overseas cricketers names will be in the auction, for the 5 franchise to buy, before the mega event kick start in November. As per a post shared by commentator Roshan Abeysinghe on social media, Bollywood superstars Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, business tycoon Ness Wadia and other leading Indian businessmen have shown their interest in buying LPL teams,
Sri Lanka cricket fans are angry that, Arnold, who used to be a flag bearer of Sri Lanka cricket on social platforms a year ago, has now become a devotee of Indian cricketers. Arnold, who used to congratulate Sri Lanka players on all their achievements on and off the field a year ago, Now congratulates Indian ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin!
Over the years, the unimaginable money, which involves in IPL, has exposed many overseas cricketers for switching their loyalty! It seems that die hard fans of Sri Lanka cricket have also seen the other side of Arnold!