Exposed: Why Domestic players Migration to Australia for club cricket is ‘Useless’ for Sri Lanka Cricket?

Written by N Krishnamurthy

Herald Sun’s explosive revelations on Sri Lanka born Sammy Kandage’s fraudulent act in helping unknown domestic players from his motherland to Australia for playing club cricket has shocked the cricket fraternity of both the countries.

Following Herald Sun revelations, Cricket Age has also published many inside truth of Sri Lanka domestic cricketers migration to Australia saga, exposing the ugly side of the game!

In last few days, Cricket Age has exposed how Sri Lanka domestic players are involved in doctoring and creating fake First-class profiles, with the support of teamd managers, scorers.

In the latest investigation, it has emerged that the migration of domestic players to Australia for playing the club cricket is not doing any ‘good’ for Sri Lanka cricket!

And, there are obvious reasons. In Australia, there are two tiers –

1. District Cricket, with good standard

2. Club Cricket – Recreation cricket, with very low standard

It has emerged that almost 99% Sri Lanka domestic players, who have migrated to Australia in last one decade, ended up playing club cricket. Obviously, with it’s dismal quality, it doesn’t offer anything significant to Sri Lanka cricket!

“The local cricket in Australia is of very poor standard. It’s good for retired players, not for emerging players. If Sri Lanka domestic clubs plans to send players expecting for development, they have to play district. Then only, Sri Lanka cricket will be benefited with this” a former Sri Lanka National Team Coach, who lives in Australia now, told Cricket Age.

As of now, it’s not happening. Cricket Age understand that out of all the players who went to Melbourne in last few years to play cricket, only Suraj Randiv managed to play district cricket. All others play substandard club cricket!

Then the big question arises. If the players knows that it won’t help their game, why they migrates to Australia. Answer is very simple – they don’t go there to play cricket. They goes their to earn money, and uses cricket as a tool for entering in Australia!

“It’s sad, but true. Actually almost 99% of these players main earning while in Australia is not playing cricket. Majority of clubs play only on Saturday. So, even for two matches, they takes an entire month. So, players have to give only four days to cricket in a month. In remaining days, most of the players don’t even go for training” the former Sri Lanka coach added.

Instead, these players focuses on earning, through cash in hand jobs.

“They all do cleaning and construction jobs. That’s where, agents like Sammy Kandage becomes the ‘Messiah’ for these players” the former Sri Lanka coach added further.

It is noteworthy that, Australia’s Herald Sun, in an explosive revelation last week, had published how the the frauds have been committed in establishing fake first class profiles, in order to play club cricket in Australia. The Cricket Australia only gives its support to visa applications, via a letter, after seeing proof of players’ superior cricket skills. Players must first show statistical evidence via international cricket database to prove they have played first class cricket in their country, as an indication that they can play, coach or instruct at the Australian national level.

When Cricket Age investigated the fake First-class profile scam in Sri Lanka, it encountered with several shocking revelations. In one such case, a player named Chathura Samantha from the Air Force Sports Club had, in 2018, plotted a fraudulent first-class debut for himself, in his bid to play club cricket in Australia.

It was an classic case of cheating and manipulation, with a collective effort!

As per the Cricket Age inquiry, the said First-class match was played between Air Force Sports Club and Kurunagala YCC on 19-21 January at Katunayake, during the Tier B Premier League Tournament.

As per the Chathura Samantha’s player database on Google, he played in the said match and took 6 wickets in the second innings.

However, when Cricket Age inquired with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) about Chathura Samantha, it emerged that he never played in the said match! While, another player was playing in the match, with the help of Team manager, scorer and some players, Chathura Samantha masterfully plotted to register the match as his first class debut!

By doing so, he achieved, what he wanted – a First Class cricketer status, which gives him the opportunity to play or coach in other countries, like Australia! As it was already planned, later he moved to Australia with the help of Sammy Kandage and settled in Melbourne!

It was further revealed that the fraudulent act of Chathura Samantha was notified to the SLC and the board had set up an inquiry as well.

“Yes. Cricket Age investigation is correct. The board had inquired the said fraudulent act in 2018 itself. On the basis of the findings, we had suspended the match scorer even – named Buddhika karunanayake” a top SLC official replied to Cricket Age email.

Herald Sun had exposed that Sammy Kandage, a Sri Lanka born players agent, who lives in Melbourne now, has come under heavy scanner for obtaining Sports visa’s by unethical methods for first class cricketers from his motherland to provide them a chance to play club cricket in states like Victoria. Kandage, along with one of his colleague, has been accused for demanding thousands of dollars from the players to help in securing visas by allegedly doctoring their career profiles, so they can gain entry to Australia.

A whistle blower claimed that statistics “mysteriously disappeared” from some Sri Lankan players’ profiles about three months, after they had obtained their visas.

“Player statistics are sometimes falsified in profiles “at the Sri Lankan end”, to show that they have a history of playing first class cricket in their home country, in order to get Cricket Australia’s tick of approval” the 23 year-old, from Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, added.

About the author

N Krishnamurthy