Sri Lanka’s 2021-22 domestic cricket season is set to kick-off with the Major Limited-Over Inter-Club tournament on 5 September and the Major League Inter-Club tournament from 10 September. Both tournaments will be run concurrently to each other and are due to be completed by the end of December.
All 26 clubs will play in the League tournament in two groups of 13 teams each at the end of which the leader of each group will qualify to play in a 4-day final.
Following the completion of the Major League Inter-Club the top performers in the tournament will be picked by the national selection committee to form five teams that will play in a Super League Tournament which will run from end of January to mid-April after which the 2021-22 domestic season will end. The Super League, according to the new Tournament Committee chairman Samantha Dodanwela, is something akin to the Provincial tournament that has had many fits and starts over the years.
“This is the start of a new calendar and it will be there for the next three years or so. It’s immaterial who comes into the administration, a structure has to be in place for years and years. People just come and go and they change it and it’s a mess for everyone,” said Dodanwela to a local publication. Dodanwela has undertaken the task of framing a domestic cricket calendar that could remain a permanent fixture for the future.
However, during a meeting which was held at Sports Ministry last week to discuss over the cricket structure in the country, former Sri Lanka captain and present ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle raised some valid question in front of everyone, including Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) president Shammi Silva and management committee members.
One of the most respected Cricket personality in the world, Madugalle was particularly disappointed with the fact that Aravinda de Silva and his close associates – Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Muttiah Muralitharan – are putting same proposal again and again.
“This domestic cricket overhauling proposal was tabled in 2016 also. Nothing happened after that. Now, after five years, we are seeing the same proposal again” an amused Madugalle asked 1996 World Cup winning legend.
According to Insiders, Aravinda tried to explain his logic.
“We listened you and your committee with patience. Now, kindly don’t interrupt and you listen. At a time, when Sri Lanka cricket needs an immediate plan to arrest the slide, you and your colleagues are again talking about next five years plan. We must have an immediate plan also” Madugalle further said.
According to Insiders, Madugalle also questioned the role of Sri Lanka cricket director Tom Moody.
“What’s the contribution of Mr. Moody? Being a foreigner, how can he fix Sri Lanka’s domestic cricket loopholes” he asked further.
He raised question against Sri Lanka’s Chief selector Pramodaya Wickramsinge and his fellow selectors, by calling them amateur.
“They have not played T20 cricket, but are selecting the squads for the same format. They appoints captain and vice captain and then removes both of them after just one series. This is a joke” he opined.
Notably, during the meeting, former players like Anura Tennekoon and Michael Tissera also backed Maduggale for his blatant and honest opinion.
Earlier today, Cricket Age had exclusively published that Sri Lanka Cricket fraternity has unanimously rejected this new domestic cricket structure, as they have termed it as a waste of golden opportunity. To know the opinion of stakeholders, Cricket Age spoke to more than 30 top prominent former players, administrators, officials, experts and coaches and everyone slammed the new domestic cricket structure.
Here are some noteworthy reactions:
Outstation Teams Will have to travel up and down
“Now everyone is wondering how to play red and white ball together with limited recovery. Outstation teams have to travel up and down and they won’t be able to play as expected. Players will have issue to swift and will be ended up playing negative cricket. Squad size is going to be little bigger and may have to play two different players.
Definitely players might get caught up with Covid. Ideally, they should play one format first and then play three different levels and play competitive games in each level. Thereafter selectors should pick the best possible players for national league so that they could identify the best for international stage” one former Sri Lanka Player, who is now one of the key decision maker in cricketing matters, told Cricket Age.
Absolute crap, it will be killing the cricketers
There is no focus on quality of first class cricket with 26 teams are playing together. In this pathetic scenario, even the players from streets can come and play first class. All segment B teams are getting an opportunity to play in one tournament with strong segment A clubs. Earlier, money allocation from board was vary to segment A and B clubs. But now, all the clubs will be getting same amount.
Also, they are playing too much of matches in a season. Each club will play a three day match in the weekend and fifty over match on Wednesdays. Then, they have to play provincial matches also. And then LPL. It will certainly be killing the cricketers” one of the top most expert of Sri Lanka Cricket told Cricket Age.
Rubbish and bad timing
4 days cricket a week for consecutive 4 months is way too much. It’s a pathetic proposal and makes no sense. 26 clubs is obviously not the way to move forward and it seems that now the so called flag bearers are getting used to of the system and dancing on the tunes of powerful cricket mafia, even though they had arrived with big talks of changing the system” one of the most respected coach, who left Sri Lanka cricket after a bitter sweet experience, told Cricket Age.
Total garbage plan, Highest authority is playing safe by putting DISINTERESTED legends in front
“This is a total garbage plan. The higher authority is playing a safe game putting these disinterested cricket legends in front, rather than changing the constitution of the cricket board” a top most former administrator at Maitland Place told Cricket Age.
No focus on quality of the cricket
This domestic cricket structure is a joke. The quality of the game will be downgraded to such low level, that even a 50 plus year old cricketer can play. This is a classic example of wasting money, time and energy, especially when these so called legends were shouting (and tweeting too) about constitutional changes before their arrival as flag bearers” another former top most administrator told Cricket Age.
Killing the first class standard, more average players will go up
This proposal will be ended up spoiling the game. There is no vision in implementing this crap proposal. Ideally, the right structure is 8 or 10 club teams in Tier A with 1st class status and maybe 10 in Tier B without 1st class status. Relegation/promotion among the 2 tiers. They can select the cream of players from Tier A and exceptional performers from Tier B and form 5 Provincial teams and play a tournament. Mushroom clubs can play in a lower level and maybe promoted to Tier B with good performance” a former legendary cricketer, who has been deliberately sidelined by one of the flag bearer in order to take revenge, told Cricket Age.
Majority of clubs are against this new domestic structure
Majority of cricket clubs, especially from segment A, have termed this new domestic cricket structure as pathetic and have expressed their displeasure to higher decision makers. These clubs feels that sharing equal tournament money with segment B club is an insult. More importantly, it will downgrade their cricket standard significantly by playing against Segment B teams” president of one of the premier cricket club told Cricket Age.
When Cricket Age further inquired, it learnt that this new domestic cricket structure is supervised by cricket advisory committee, which comprise of Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan and Aravinda De Silva. Sangakkara is presently associated with IPL team Rajasthan Royals as cricket director, while Murali is spin bowling coach of Sunrisers Hyderabad.