Last week, when the top hierarchy of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) was facing the COPE Committee music over countless financial irregularities, the incompetent media unit of the board brought international shame for its own players, by converting newly launched 2-km fitness test into a public event.
32 of the players out of a 36 member provisional squad training for the Tour of West Indies, participated in the test, which was conducted at the Sugathadasa Stadium. The new test, a standard method of determining the ‘Fitness and Endurance’ levels of athletes, replaced the Yo-Yo method adopted by Sri Lanka Cricket. According to the new test, players were given a target of running the 2 Kilometer distance within a time frame of 8 minutes and 35 seconds. Four of the players failed to clear these tests, while some players barely managed to complete the run.
Though, the concept (which was directly copied from the BCCI) could be termed a good initiative to uplift the fitness standard of the players in long term, SLC media unit’s eagerness to convert it into a publicity stunt raised questions.
According to sources, even though the mainstream media was not allowed during the fitness test, SLC media unit (manager Prasanna Rodrigo and two assistants Sampath and Chamila Karawatta) secretly permitted some of their favorite individuals to enter into the stadium. Those individuals not only took inappropriate pictures of the players, when they were tired and laying on the ground, but filmed them as well and uploaded on YouTube.
As a result, entire country saw those photographs of their role models and made a mockery of the commitment of the players!
Some of the senior players told Cricket Age that it was disgusting to see their fitness test photos and videos on social media, when it should have been done secretly.
“It was not an Olympic race. It was a fitness test and there was absolutely no need to convert it into a public interest matter. It dented the image of the players big time and it’s an alarming sign” a senior player told Cricket Age.
Interestingly, two days prior to Sri Lanka players fitness test, Indian cricketers also went through the same tests. However, it was done without any publicity stunt, as not a single photograph was circulated or leaked to media.
“Both Chamila and Sampath were perchuted at Maitland Place directly from the Punchi Borella. So obviously, as they are the loyals of former board president Thilanga Sumathipala, they consider themselves above the law. Rodrigo is an incompetent media manager and it’s an open secret. However, it must be investigated that who instructed them to get cheap publicity from players fitness test” an insider at SLC told Cricket Age.