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


Anonymous's picture

I think both are right but what said were not in the right environment. Malinga should not have defended thisara so publicly when whole country was seething in pain due to the loss.

What ever the batsmen failure before it did not matter because it came to the crucial point of 160 for 7 wickets and had thisara held his catch,we would have won it.

And what the minister said about pot bellies, frequent injuries and physio to the ground even before 50 runs, the fans were pointing out themselves. Though his contention was right Malinga should know better to talk diplomatically which comes with maturity only.

Minister is wrong to talk so publicly but they are politicians but on what he said, the public is with him.

Achira1999's picture
Member since:
20 June 2017
Last activity:
30 weeks 4 days

This cannot happen . We will loose to Zimbabwe also, if things go on like this . The way malinga spoke was not the exact way. But what he said is correct,100% correct. But the words were a bit too harsh . And the minister also can't scold the players like that. He is also wrong . Anyway these things should stop immediately and allow the cricketers to play with freedom . SL need to beat Zimbabwe 5-0 , to go into the India series with a good mentality.

KumarD's picture

Watch this video guys:

Champaka used to be Malinga's captain in Galle. He says Malinga has amazing brain and he uses Malinga's advice now!!!

Stormy's picture
Member since:
15 January 2011
Last activity:
5 hours 51 min

Most of us are missing the elephant in the room. This is not about Malinga or the Minister. These two are reacting (one rather childishly) to what is a desperate situation on SL cricket - the inability to produce players to compete at the international level. This has been a long time coming and many of us have pointed it out for years. But all the honorable man and his cronies did was loot and loot and did very little to develop the game.

If the honorable man really wants to make a difference (1) get out the way and hand over the game to professionals (2) change the constitution to get rid of the 147 seat voting system (3) overhaul the first class system to be more competitive.

Sitting around having fresh air shots and current players or making bold statements simply does not address of fix the problem.

Inside Edge's picture
Member since:
25 June 2017
Last activity:
26 weeks 4 days

Wonder if our minister Dayasiri watched cricket in the 90's...SL were the best fielding side going around and still had players like arjuna aravinda gurusingha ...I kknow eras have changed but the minister is talking about bellies being a reason for dropped catches ;)

Inside Edge's picture
Member since:
25 June 2017
Last activity:
26 weeks 4 days

The fielding and fitness standards of our current team are absolutely horrible ...its clear as day ...but there is no point in blaming the team for that if SLC and the sports minister dont invest properly in uplifting standards ...there is no point in conducting fitness programmes and high altitude training just two weeks or so before a big tournament and expecting our players to turn tables ...these investments should have been made right after the 2015 WC...The way I see it all of this is a huge joke

Cricket Fans From Ratmalana's picture

People are really being fooled by this politician who is hiding behind the word "fitness". We all agree fitness and catches are important. Leave those words aside now and note how the minister has handled the loss to Pakistan and you can't cover up for his damaging conduct. Heard he has delayed approving the squad for Zim series? Where is this all headed? Down the pallam!

D Pujitha's picture

So minister is saying fitness is the reason catches were dropped. And people are rushing to defend this foolish logic? Malinga later pointed out that even the fittest players drop catches. In Sri Lanka we have people who worship politicians without thinking.

Anonymous's picture

According to Malinga's logic, the dropped catch did not contribute to the loss and catches being dropped is not a cause for any defeat in the game of cricket! He should keep his big mouth shut in the first place.

Anonymous's picture

Ever since the Sri Lanka world cup victory way back in 1996. The bad apples of Sri Lankan politics have interfered in Sri Lanka's most popular sport. Despite this sl cricketers in the last 21 years have played admirably and have not let their many fans down despite politicians in Sri Lanka who have never played first class cricket and corrupt officials undermining them for their own gain.

Lasith Malinga is a smart good guy who is well aware of this. Sri Lanka should get proper cricket people to run the sport in Sri lanka and not politicians and others.

Lasith Malinga another victim of Sri Lanka's corrupt politics which has infiltrated now Sri Lankan cricket.

12 months out of action for arguably Sri Lanka's best and most experienced bowler is a bit of a blow to Sri Lanka cricket right now. Lasith Malinga is invaluable right now to a Sri Lankan team in transition and passing the baton from the previous generation to the next one.

I wish Lasith Malinga the best in the next 12 months and he has a good 12 months off rest He should go on a good will tour and visit Sri Lankan communities around the world in the next 12 months in particular US, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, UK, New Zealand and Australia. Who would be all to glad to welcome one of their favourite Sri Lankan heros who was badly treated by those like the sports minister in Sri Lanka.

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