BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE
This action begs the question relating to all things being dealt with on a “level playing field” when the field itself has been slanted towards the chosen few.
My gripe has got substantial backing from knowdgeable cricket pundits who are in agreeance that the ICC has no authority to discriminate against any nation on the grounds that they qualify as the guardians of the sport purely on the amount of financial backing they provide.
“What they are currently doing is the very source of corruption and manipulation they are attempting to stamp out through the bookies and betting and is hypocritical in every sense”, says a cricket fan. Member countries voted in favour of the proposal in fear of repercussions from the top three if the vote went against them, many say.
Getting back to Sri Lanka’s chances, their travelling involved is not the only concern. It is the climatic difference between New Zealand and Australia that would affect the players, and the signs are becoming quite evident as two of them have already sustained injuries that can be easily identified as a result of their bodies attempting to cope with the difference of acclimatising to New Zealand and then having to negotiate the warmer Melbourne conditions.
Member countries need to have a good hard look at the ICC and its activities and challenge the unfair agendas that are presented if the game is to generate and maintain interest by the cricket loving public.
On form, Australia, New Zealand, defending champion India and South Africa loom as hot favourites to take out this edition. But my hunch says; beware of the wounded Lions from Sri Lanka who are currently flying under the radar. They are re-fuelling and ready to launch despite the odds stacked against them. No one stands up and rebounds like the Lankans do when they are challenged.
Sri Lanka flew back to New Zealand on Friday grumbling about their World Cup travel following a hectic dash across the Tasman sea for just one game even as some other teams enjoyed a relaxed schedule.
Angelo Mathews’ men played their first two matches in New Zealand and then flew across to Australia to complete a 92-run drubbing of Bangladesh at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Thursday.
A few hours later they were back on the plane heading for Wellington where England await them for a crucial Pool A at the Westpac stadium on Sunday.
Sri Lanka will then return to Australia for their last two league matches against Australia in Sydney on March 8 and against Scotland in Hobart three days later.
"It would have been nice to have finished New Zealand before coming to Australia," team manager Michael de Zoysa said. "It certainly is inconvenient and tiring for the boys."
Zoysa said with Friday spent in travelling, the team is likely to rest on Saturday which leaves them little time for serious training ahead of the England game.
The match against Eoin Morgan’s side will be Sri Lanka’s third in eight days, having played Afghanistan last Sunday and Bangladesh on Thursday.
In contrast, defending champions India are enjoying a relaxed itinerary.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s men played their first two matches a week apart, clashing with Pakistan in Adelaide on February 15 before taking on South Africa at the MCG on February 22.
Since then India have been based in Perth where they are staying for 12 days for two games against the United Arab Emirates and the West Indies, before flying to New Zealand on March 7 for their last two Pool B matches.
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