Inside Story

Clubs complain to SLC over Sinhalese Sports Club’s ‘unethical players poaching’

Written by N Krishnamurthy

Some of the domestic cricket clubs have complained to the Sri  Lanka Cricket (SLC) over Sinhalese Sports Club’s unethical players poaching, Cricket Age reliably learns. the clubs have raised the questions over SSC various tactics to lure the players and have accused that the grand old club has using some extra money for poaching, which it received through one of the sponsorship deal.

“Yes, we have received several complains about the unethical players poaching by the SSC. The clubs, in particular, have pointed out that it will destroy the domestic season, as in this sort of scenario, every cricketer will be looking to join SSC, if he wants to play for the country” a top SLC official told Cricket Age.

In September, Cricket Age, in a series of stories, had exposed how SSC has been involved in unethical practices of poaching players from other clubs, in order to regain the lost glory in domestic cricket! 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 performed poorly. After an unforgettable season, it seems that the grand old club has focused on poaching players from the other clubs.

In the latest development, it has learned that Avishka Fernando, who has already established himself as Sri Lanka’s most preferred opener in shorter formats while representing prestigious Colts Cricket Club, has also moved to SSC.

Cricket Age understands that SSC under performing head coach Thilina Kandamby, who appeared in 39 ODIs and 5 T20Is for Sri Lanka, played a pivotal role in poaching Avishka Fernando.

It has learned that Kandamby is doing these unethical practices of poaching players, in order to save his job at SSC! A Club with unmatched, incredible domestic record, has completely collapsed under Kandamby watch, with two under performing seasons.

Cricket Age understands that SSC, on the suggestions of a former Sri Lanka player who is now associated with the club, is working on a master plan to make a ‘Super Squad‘.

“It’s the most unfortunate. The SSC has had a rich history of picking players straight from the schools or junior level (like Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Danushka Gunathilike) and nurtured them as world beaters. Eventually, all they became World class players. Sadly, now the club is not believing in scouting new talent and nurturing them. Instead, the management has opted for safe option of poaching top players from other clubs. In this scenario, you don’t need a coach. You just need a good manager. And it seems Kandamby is performing that role with perfection” the SSC insider added.

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.

About the author

N Krishnamurthy