The much talked about Lanka Premier League (LPL) has garnered worldwide attention and coverage in its first week itself. Andre Russell and Shahid Afridi, among the greatest players of T20 cricket, have, particularly, shown their brutal power hitting in the first few matches, which has increased the excitement for the reminder of the tournament.
However, while the first few matches recorded more than 100 million viewership around the globe and made an immediate impression, some of the high profile people in the country are using various tactics to defame the LPL.
UNP’s Member of Parliament from Kurunegala Thusara Indunil is among those, who tried to paint a negative image of LPL, that too in the parliament!
According to insiders, Thushara, during the allotted Sports Ministry budget session in the parliament last week, made some baseless allegations against LPL, stating, while reading a news paper, that IPG – official right holders – has not paid security amount to SLC as yet. In addition, he launched a scathing attack against LPL director and SLC vice president Ravin Wickramarathne as well, digging done and dusted ‘Panadura-Kalutara match fixing’ saga.
The timing of Thushara’s negative remarks, indeed, was well planned! At a time, when SLC is trying to establish its own T20 league, such negativity is bound to harm the brand value of the ongoing tournament. At a time, when entire cricket fraternity is praising LPL, in its own country, the Opposition party UNP is carrying a campaign, with sinful attempts to put the tournament in trouble.
The SLC has also expressed disappointment and anger over Thushara’s Ill timed allegations.
“First of all, Now the IPG has deposited guarantee money. Secondry, if Mr. Thushara has that much accurate information about the LPL and Mr. Wickramarathne, he should have held a press conference and prove his claims. Instead, he is slinging mud inside the parliament and defaming the LPL, which is bound to bring millions of dollars in the country, in this difficult time. It’s very unfortunate” a top SLC official told Cricket Age.
Notably, former legendary players like Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have also backed LPL, citing that it will bring smile on millions of cricket fans, in this difficult time of global pandemic. Thushara’s comment, however, undermines SLC mountainous effort in staging the tournament, despite various obstacles.
“Obviously, he is talking on the behalf of someone else, because his cricket knowledge is very limited. His statement is against national cause. He has stooped so low, that he can’t see even, that Sport event like LPL will inspire the citizens of the country to overcome against the various challenges, this Covid-19 has thrown at them” the top official added.
Interestingly, former Sports Minister Harin Fernando, best in Sri Lanka history, also from the UNP at that time, was himself in favor of the LPL and recently also congratulated present Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa and SLC.
“We challenge Mr. Thushara to held a press conference and prove his allegations. And if not, we will be taking legal action against him” the top SLC official concluded.