The shocking disrespect towards Malinga continues

By Gavin Van Hoff | June 22, 2017

Lasith Malinga faced an inquiry today for comments he made in a recent interview. © Island Cricket

Sri Lanka's sports minister recently chose to respond to what most would consider a sensible comment from Lasith Malinga with ridicule and insult. Sri Lanka are struggling to beat teams like Scotland and Bangladesh these days, so how wise is it to antagonise the nation's top cricketers?

Sri Lanka needs its best talent on the park, at a time the team is languishing close to the bottom of the ODI table. Pretending that players with international cricket experience are superfluous is foolish.

Sri Lanka not only needs its experienced pros to get them out of this mess, they also need to respect their opinions. They may fail to qualify for the next ODI World Cup if they remain at the bottom of the ODI rankings. The situation is dire and the minister doesn't seem to realise this.

It all began with Malinga trying to explain to the media, upon Sri Lanka's arrival after the Champions Trophy, that many events contribute to a loss (not simply the actions of one player) in a team sport like cricket, where 11 players take part in a contest lasting eight hours.

Malinga is right. Many would consider it irrational to blame one fielder, when the batsmen had failed miserably before them in the Champions Trophy group match against Pakistan. The bowlers did bring them back into the contest, but, like Malinga attempted to explain, one dropped catch was not the sole reason for that defeat — the lack of a better total from their batsmen is more to blame.

This was enough for Dayasiri Jayasekara, the minister of sports, to make a totally uncalled for public comment berating Malinga and other players. He told a gathering of reporters the players' big bellies got in the way of taking catches and made other ridiculously immature and unprofessional statements directed at Malinga and later also at Angelo Mathews.

The lack of respect for arguably Sri Lanka's greatest-ever fast bowler from sections of the Sri Lankan media, the SLC president and now Jayasekara should upset cricket fans.

Malinga has proven time and again, with his many feats on the field and with his words, that he possesses rare skill and high intelligence. Many however fail to recognise this. He is a thought leader and a great thinker. Malinga's ideas and opinions deserve a lot more appreciation.

The sports minister's conduct is reactionary and authoritarian. He has blamed fitness, fielding and the players' commitment to their nation by claiming they are fit enough to play in the IPL but not for Sri Lanka, and thus questioning even their integrity. You can no longer take the minister's criticism seriously.

And all of this is over Malinga refusing to blame one player who dropped a catch off Malinga's own bowling.

Malinga did not react like how a juvenile would to a dropped catch off his bowling, when he could easily have allowed his emotions to get in the way. Malinga showcased class, the minister has been crass.

The minister's shameful conduct has not come to a stop. He has ordered an inquiry to look into Malinga's comments. The cricket-loving public should strongly condemn this behaviour by the minister.

© Island Cricket


Fernando66's picture

Well said!!!

N.M.M's picture
Member since:
8 May 2016
Last activity:
11 weeks 4 hours

I think malinga is correct and the sports minister is getting almost as embarrassing as Donald trump. BUT, I think it's fair to say that we lost because of a drop catch... Its obvious... The total was below par, yes, but it was enough and we would've won... Still, malinga's attitude is 100% correct..

Anonymous's picture

Malinga cannot talk, we all saw how unfit he was and how difficult he found himself to bowl 10 overs. Added to that he went for runs in the whole tournament. Currently SLC is ranked 8th in the world, but they talk as if they are the #1 side in the world. Compared to India, SA, AUS and PA Sri Lankan fitness is below schoolboys level. If this team performance goes on we would even be beaten by Ireland and Afghanistan. Everything from player discipline, fitness, personal ettiket, are factors that need to be addressed. The guys in the teams has no class like Aravinda, Arjuna, Sanga and Mahela and the current bunch of jokers need to be spoken in the manner the minister did, these guys cannot be mollycoddled.

Anonymous's picture

What about seekkuge's dropped catch? Did not that matter? Seekkuge has no belly and is slim but still dropped a catch. We lost because total was not enough.

Nimal R's picture

Dayasiri Jayasekera is just an immature politician who used to insult all leaders like MR, then Ranil and then Maithripala Sirisena. He not a man with any principles but a man who can only talk but not work as similar to many others in the Yahapalana government.

Jason's picture
Member since:
9 February 2014
Last activity:
27 weeks 14 hours

What Dayasiri said is right because fitness is utmost important in modern day sports, but as the minister he should have taken action rather than criticizing the players in public as mahela rightly said. As the sports minister he should also take the responsibility at the teams loss as he is also in control of the things

joseph's picture

please mr minister do not bad common on our cricket we know our players. loose or win we have to get.

Last Man Out's picture
Member since:
7 November 2010
Last activity:
2 weeks 4 days

The minister should not have publicly criticized the players but the point he tried to make was valid.Sri Lanka does have a problem with fitness and fielding and players tend to brush off criticism citing various reasons.I for one am happy that people are finally talking about this.We've been going downhill since 2013.

In modern professional sport keeping your fitness is a basic requirement(what would happen if wayne rooney showed upto training with a pot belly) pity that sri lankan players need to be asked to keep a high level of fitness like children .

As for malinga i tend to agree with everything he says clearly he's got a great cricketing brain.The problem is the way he speaks, it's very confrontational and that clearly rubs people the wrong way.And cricket isn't a complex game you don't need to play at the highest level to understand it. Even fans can tell you what's required to win so malinga needs to chill with the patronizing speeches .

And fitness is not the only problem SL has. team selection and having the right combinations,players knowing their roles,having a proper game plan and executing set plans ,the psychology of players,A proper heirachy of support staff are all problems that needs to addressed .

Sadly all facets SL cricket right now is not at a professional level. so there might be cosmetic changes trying to fool the public . The underlying problems will keep coming up even though administers and players are trying their best to hide them.

Anonymous's picture

The Minister simply responded to the stupid comment made by Malinga about not blaming the fielder for dropping a catch because that was not the cause of the defeat against Pakistan.

Suren1998's picture
Member since:
18 February 2015
Last activity:
1 day 11 hours

Even though the total was not high enough, there should be extra effort put in in bowling and fielding in order to compensate the low total. Unfortunately this didn't happen either.

Post new comment

All anonymous comments are moderated.
  • Avoid abusive remarks and personal attacks.
  • Avoid posting unrelated links.
  • Avoid vulgar or obscene language.
Already a member? Log-in now. Not a member? Sign up for a new account.
This step helps us prevent automated submissions from spammers.