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May 20, 2023
Shammi Silva and his team unanimously re-elected for record third term despite political pressure and brickbats 

Sri Lanka Cricket



By Srian Obeyesekere
Shammi Silva and his team were unanimously re-elected uncontested for a record third term to man Sri Lanka Cricket in an overwhelming show of faith by the country’s cricket clubs that matter in the face of diverse political pressure and brickbats hurled at a magnanimous sports loving administration that has nevertheless generously come forward to keeping alive various financially shaky other sports in the country through massive donations so that they could participate in major international events including the Sri Lankan Olympic contingent to the last Olympics costing over Rs.5 million.
Soon after being re-elected, addressing a packed media at Colombo’s Jaic Hilton, on the heels of SLC Hony General Secretary, Mohan de Silva announcing that thanks to the International Cricket Council they had been able to present their grievances in coming to an amicable settlement with the sport’s minister, President Shammi Silva emphasised in no uncertain terms that his executive committee was determined to get back the missed opportunity of Sri Lanka hosting the ICC World Cup alone which he regretted went a begging because it got squashed by some where the whole thing revolved around having five to six international grounds. “We have earmarked to upgrade the Diyagama ground to international capacity and expect to obtain the blessings of President Ranil Wivkramasinghe too who is also keen to develop another fully fledged cricket ground,” announced a beaming SLC President who made the point that his administration had been instrumental in optimising Sri Lanka Cricket’s current revenue to 45 millions dollars from what was once in financial doldrums unable to pay cricketers and staff wages which led to running affairs on borrowed ICC loans. “Our aim is to raise this amount to between 75 to 100 million dollars in time to come so that Sri Lanka Cricket will be financially well secure whoever comes in the future,” he quipped. In the same breath an ebulient SLC President did not fail to warn that those who were trying their best to man the cricket board were none other than those who hsd fleeced it in the past when he said, “Most who ate trying to come here are trying to do so to take this money. They have past bad records.”
He reiterated that ‘cricket is the most valuable thing in our country, but if anybody is putting obstacles it is a problem. The path should be clear of obstacles if the game was to go forward.”
At the outset, SLC Hony Secretary, Mohan de Silva while thanking the local media for their continued support in enabling to propagate the game of cricket especially during challenging anxious times, announced that there had been only one change from the  previous office bearers with Lasantha Wivkramasinghe, who was the treasurer, stepping down from the post due to personal reasons in opting to be assistant treasurer while Godaliyadda had been elected the treasurer.
Fielding questions from the media, Shammi Silva said that one reason our cricketers could not perform to expectations overseas was because the wickets were doctored. “But we in Sri Lanka don’t do that. We play fairly and squarely.”
On SLC funding other sports in easing the burden off the Sports Ministry whose onus it is to do so, the SLC President said, “We will be donating 25 million for the netball team and for racing and athletics. We have a marketing budget for other sports entities including schools that don’t have toilet facilities.”
As to the thorny issue that had impeded the smooth progress of SLC administrative activities that led to the world governing authority the ICC sending one of it’s top officials to investigate the matter, the SLC President, responding to questions, said that the ICC was always on the ball knowing what is happening here by way of political pressure.
The re-elected office bearers also included Vice Presidents Ravin Wickramaratne and Jayantha Dharmadasa and Assistant Secretary Chrishantha Kapuwatte.

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