Sri Lanka’s 16 Domestic Clubs have opposed former captain and current Consultant Coach Mahela Jayawardene’s proposal of not registering Overseas players for the upcoming 3-Day Tournament, Cricket Age exclusively learns.
Cricket Age had Exclusively published on June 23 that Mahela has adviced Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to not register overseas players for the 3-day tournament.
Now, by overwhelmingly opposing this bizarre proposal by Mahela, 16 out of Sri Lanka’s 26 Domestic Clubs have jointly written to SLC president Shammi Silva requesting him to not implement it.
The letter, which is in Cricket Age possession, reads:
“We have been reliably made to understand that SLC is contemplating to disallow the participation of 2 foreign players (3 players permitted for registration) In respect of the 3-day league tournament now rescheduled for September this year.
As you are perhaps aware the league tournament was originally scheduled to be played in June 2022 concurrently with the one dayers and subsequently changed Initially to August and thereafter to September. The SLC Rules/Guidelines circulated to the clubs stipulated the registration of 3 players of which 2 will be permitted to play in any single game in all formats of the SLC tournaments conducted during this year. This was the same as the pattern followed during previous years as per Tournament Rules & Regulations passed at an Extra Ordinary General Meeting of SLC as embodied in the Domestic Cricket Hand Book 2018 and going forward.
When SLC communicated their guidelines for the tournaments, the clubs arranged for the registration of 3 overseas players In accordance with the schedule of tournament matches given to us In June. This Included logistics such as airfare and accommodation etc at great expense to the clubs and our agreement with the overseas players to participate in the respective tournament formats.
The contemplated changes nullifies such agreement with the overseas players and also the clubs planning In terms of their tournament registration and players besides beings ultra vires to the tournament Rules & Regulations of SLC. May we also add that our players were registered with prior written permission obtained through Sri Lanka Cricket and the Ministry of Sports with no objection letters from their home club/associations.
We need to pertinently add that the inclusion of overseas players enhances the competitiveness of the tournament beside adding team strength to the clubs. With the participation of 26 clubs, there are as many as possibly a near 300 local club players having exposure and the few overseas players contracted by some of the clubs will not In anyway deprive or prejudice the local players In any manner whatsoever. Besides, it is practiced in other test playing countries such as England, Australia etc to permit and encourage the participation of overseas players to bring out quality and competitiveness In their respective tournaments. Interaction and engaging with foreign players both at provincial level will also be very helpful to our local cricketers as a part of their learning experience and knowledge.
We the under noted clubs therefore oppose any such move or contemplated change to disallow overseas players to participate in the 3 day league games.
We have undergone Inconvenience this time around, due to adhoc changes brought about at different times by the Tournament Committee whilst committing to substantial expenditure In terms of getting down such overseas players.
It is therefore our view that the league tournament this year should be conducted as per SLC tournament Rules & Regulations as in the past and thank you.”
The letter has been signed by the presidents/secretaries of the below mentioned 16 clubs:
Chilaw Marians CC
Sebastian C & AC
Bloomfield C & AC
Nugegoda S & WC
It is noteworthy that due to the Pandemic and few other issues, Sri Lanka has already not conducted it’s traditional 3-day First Class tournament since last two years! Even this year it’s not certain but SLC claims that it will be played in September-October.
“Out of nowhere, Mahela suddenly conveyed the message to SLC CEO Ashley De Silva about his decision to not register overseas players for the 3-day tournament” a source close to the development had told Cricket Age on June 23.
Interestingly, Sri Lanka’s domestic season 2022-23 kicked off with just recently concluded Major Club T20 tournament and is being followed by 50 Overs Major Club Tournament, which kicked off on June 27. For these two tournaments, overseas players were initially allowed!
Another shocking fact is that even SLC’s tournament committee chairman, it’s members, domestic cricket vice president and his staff, Incharge or any other concerned authority were not aware of this sudden development, when Cricket Age exclusively broke the news on June 23!