By Helasingha Bandara
(December 23, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) In countries where there is law, constructive dismissal is illegal and can be contested at a court of law or an industrial tribunal. Even if a person resigns a post he/she can still sue the employers on constructive dismissal if he/she believes that the resignation was unavoidable under undue pressure, harassment, discrimination or subtle construction of it. In this light, let us see whether Sangakkara is constructing Sanath Jayasuriya’s dismissal.
This discourse, which is based on an article that appeared on www.indianexpress.com on 21 Dec 09, is not meant to insist that Sri Lanka keeps playing Sanath for ever. There will be a time, maybe not far ahead, when Sanath has to hang his boots. Yet someone has to show Sangakkara and those others in his calibre that the public are no fools to be deceived by hypocritical and insincere comments like the following .
“Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara admitted on Sunday that dropping out-of-form Sanath Jayasuriya was a tough call but added that he had to take the decision keeping the right combination in mind.
“Sometimes you’ve got to accept it whether it’s fair or unfair,” Sangakkara said, ahead of the third one-dayer. “As a captain, whether it’s a senior player or a new player (you are dropping), it doesn’t matter. It’s the team combination that matters. The captain can be direct, or can be subtle. At the end of the day, how you take it shows your character.”
This is nothing but empty garbage if he can’t prove the point. The point should be that, irrespective of the past achievements, it is fair to select the team on merits they have gained on this tour.
Sanath was called in to play in the two Twenty20 games and five ODIs. He played three games before he was dropped. He scored 26 in 20 deliveries in the first Twenty20 followed by taking 2 wickets for 19 runs. His victims were Dhoni (in-form skipper) out for 9 and YK Pathan (the hard hitter) out for 0. His two wickets for 19 turned the game and SL won it. At the second Twenty20 Sanath scored 31 in 21 deliveries. The person who turned the first game in Sri Lanka’s favour with the ball was not given the ball at all. Adding insult to injury, he was sent far down the batting order in the first ODI. Needless to say he failed in that match and indeed his failure can certainly be attributed to the mental torture emanated from being aware of the plot that Sangakkara was hatching and the unfair treatment that Jayasuriya received. Who would dismiss the idea that Sanath’s failure at the third game was constructed?
A simple comparison of Sanath and Mahela, another stalwart of SL cricket, further disgraces Sanga’s comment. Mahela scored 9, 12, and 3 respectively in the three games averaging 8 whereas Sanath averaged 20.67 even after being disadvantaged by the captain’s decision to send him down the order. Why was Mahela not treated in the same manner? Indeed, Mahela was brought into the comparison not with the intension of devaluing his contribution to Sri Lanka cricket, but there is no other current player worth comparing with Sanath.
The media recently reported that Sanath rejected a request by Namal Rajapaksha to take part in Mahinda Rajapaksha’s election campaign and Sanath was subsequently threatened by Namal of his cricketing career. If this item of news is true, I wonder whether Sangakkara has got a word in his ear by the infamous family. Sangakkara’s comments have inescapable characteristics of a disgraceful politician other than a quality sportsman. If he is responding to political pressure and bringing the game into disrepute, I would like to remind him of Marvan Atapattu, who had no hesitation to call a Muppet a Muppet.
“It’s always a tough decision when it comes to dropping guys like Sanath who is a legend. But then one has to think about the country and look forward. It’s the right combination that matters, and that is most important.”
This comment cannot be defined in any other way other than buttering. Sanath is a legend, and there are no two ways about it. His incomparable achievements are in black and white and the world of cricket acknowledges that it was the Sanath and Kalu combination that changed the one-day game altogether. He became a legend not only with the bat and ball but also with his gentlemanly manners and dignified character. Sangakkara has a long way to go to become a legend. It will be an uphill task if he believes that he can achieve that by masquerading.
By Helasingha Bandara