Who will investigate ICC’s wrongdoing and lapses?
Mr. Imran Khwaja, the Deputy Chair of the International Cricket Council (ICC), is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka today (May 9) on a 2-day fact-finding mission on political interference in cricket administration.
It would be prudent for Mr. Khawaja and his team to also inquire into why ICC has been unwilling to give due recognition to a Sri Lankan for inventing the Decision Review System (DRS) which is internationally used in Cricket and several other types of sports. The person in question is lawyer Senaka Weeraratna who conceived the concept of ‘Player Referral’ in 1997. Yet, even after 26 years after his groundbreaking invention, he is pleading for justice and appealing for ICC recognition as it is his concept of ‘Player Referral’ which is the lynchpin of the Decision Review System.
The critical question that is emerging is ‘Is it the colour of his skin that is denying him being given due recognition by the premier cricketing body?’
Does ICC have an alternate contender claiming authorship alongside Senaka Weeraratna? As far as we know, so far, no one has come forward. The concept of DRS did not drop from the sky. It had to be invented. If Senaka Weeraratna has all the evidence to support his claim of authorship, why is ICC reluctant to give him a fair hearing? Does this not constitute a breach of natural justice? A form of corruption within the ICC system as well.
Has the ICC thought of Third-Party Arbitration or Mediation to resolve this contentious matter? Already in cricket circles all over the world, the failure of the ICC to address this issue fairly and objectively has brought shame and disrepute to the good name of the ICC.
Given that ICC has come to investigate corruption in Sri Lanka, who will investigate ICC’s wrongdoing and lapses?
There is no mechanism within the Global Cricket Order to subject the supreme controller of Cricket to any form of investigation or probe. It can get away scot-free laughing all the way to the Bank despite mounting evidence of ICC falling short of adhering to the gold standard. The cricket world is badly in need of a ‘Cricket Ombudsman’. An Institution that will entertain grievances from players, institutions, and even cricket lovers. The ICC is a cricket monopoly with its own agenda of rule in a fiefdom. It hands out perks to officials of affiliated bodies and buys their silence. Cricket commentators and journalists work in fear. They have no freedom of expression. The moment they step out of line they are fired. ICC functions like an unfriendly corporate entity unaccountable to none.
The countries presently demanding accountability for human rights violations were the world’s worst violators of human rights during over 500 years of colonial rule & include a plethora of crimes under the neocolonial rule as well. All these crimes have not been investigated nor accounted for. It is unfair to chair justice while committing injustice. This is an unpalatable truth.
It is not a secret anymore that having the wrong skin colour can impede one’s advancement in white-dominated institutions, especially in sports like ‘King’ cricket. The use of people with ‘ sepoy’ mindsets from the Indian sub-continent as emissaries of the ICC may not necessarily straighten out deep-seated grievances of victimization. The growing demands for Accountability and Reparations from former colonies is a case in point. The former British colonies in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean Islands have a shared past and are united in their determination to achieve Justice in the form of an Apology, Reparations, and Repatriation of stolen artifacts.
The visiting ICC officials in Sri Lanka cannot erase the past. They must not hesitate to make a statement to the Sri Lankan cricket-loving public and the Government of Sri Lanka as to why the ICC has failed to conduct a proper hearing with respect to Senaka Weeraratna’s genuine claim to authorship of the DRS. The ICC is brushing aside the claimant without even a nod of acknowledgment or a sincere pat on his back. If the claimant had come from say, (Apartheid) South Africa, New Zealand, England or Australia would the treatment be the same? I think not.
Senaka Weeraratna is the unsung hero of the DRS now used globally. It is time he was given due recognition & felicitated.
Let racial discrimination not continue in ICC-administered cricket any longer than it has. The world needs a fairer system of international cricket administration that resonates with the true spirit of cricket.
Shenali D Waduge