Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga lashed out at cricket authorities for failing to protect the interests of the game and giving preferential treatment to certain boards.
The 1996 World Cup-winning captain questioned the decision to award the India versus Pakistan Asia Cup Super Four fixture a reserve day without making a similar provision for any other game at that stage of the tournament.
“If you look at the Asia Cup, they change the rules for just one game. Where are the ACC and ICC in this? I won’t be surprised if halfway into the World Cup they make exceptions for the India versus Pakistan game. ICC will keep their mouth shut,” he said.
“The ICC acts in a very unprofessional way. They are the ones who should look at cricket and protect cricket. Cricket should be controlled by the ICC and not by a country or an individual,” he added.
It was announced on September 10 that the Super Four match between India and Pakistan in Colombo would have a reserve day after the preliminary-round match between the two teams had been washed out a week earlier in Pallekele.
Ranatunga also said that the ICC should intervene in such a scenario and have the power to take action against the boards who agree to such an unfair arrangement.
“When they tried to change the rules and SLC (Sri Lanka Cricket) and BCB (Bangladesh Cricket Board) allowed them to do whatever they wanted, they should have been thrown out. The players are suffering,” he said.
The 59-year-old also questioned the wisdom behind holding the Asia Cup in Colombo at a time when it usually rains in this part of the island country.
“Why are they playing in Colombo when you have places like Hambantota? It doesn’t rain there. The ground there was built to play cricket in the rainy season. But you come to Colombo to play the Asia Cup. So, what is the ACC doing?” Ranatunga asked.
Talking about the evolving cricketing landscape, with T20 franchise leagues popping up everywhere and Test cricket taking a backseat, Ranatunga said he was ‘scared’ about how authorities were handling the situation.
“I feel very scared. I think the way authorities are handling cricket is not right. Test cricket is ultimate. You won’t survive if you don’t have proper technique. I am a great believer of Test and ODIs but T20s are the need of the day, you can’t avoid it. People prefer T20. It’s like junk food. It is about quick money, quick entertainment, no quality.
“The authorities have to address this in a very practical way, without ruining Test and 50-over cricket. Even if you look at life, you need time to recover. If you fail, you need time to come back again. You take 50-over or Test cricket, they are like your own life. You get beaten, dropped, but you still have time to come back. In T20, it is very difficult. My major concern is whether in the next 10 years we will have technically correct players,” he explained.
The former captain said the players should also feel like giving back to the country that has made them what they are when forced to decide whether to play for a franchise or the national side.
“The players get franchise deals because they play for the country. The amount of money countries spend to bring cricketers to this level is huge. Wanindu Hasaranga has been playing junior cricket, so it is free education, free sports from age six and onwards. After school level, the clubs take over and the board spends money. The cricketers should also realise that you need to give something back to the country. For me, playing for the country is the ultimate,” Ranatunga opined.
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