With all the talk of the Muppets and jokers one wonders what kind of pressure a Sri Lankan selector is under when he signs up for the job. How do his interviews go? Is there a vigorous training these guys under go or is it just on the job training where mistakes are acceptable?
Basically how does a selector (or one who wants to be one-although we are not sure why you’d want to) go about their job.
So to help our budding selector wanna-beâ€™s we have come up with the essential hand book for a Sri Lankan selector.
1.Before applying for the job, make sure you are someone with absolutely no cricket background. In the unfortunate event of you having some cricketing knowledge and know how-lie about it, or at the very worst make sure its at a very minimum.
If you are currently playing cricket-quit now if you want to pursue being a selector
2.It is essential that you know the political situation in Sri Lanka and especially important is knowledge on who is on whose payroll (Without this you are basically a batsmen with out a bat.).
3.Know your Player stats– No, not the runs or wickets he has taken- rather their family name i.e. who are their fathers (or mothers) and what sort of power do they have in Sri Lankan politics and how deep are their pockets.
Where was the player born- USA/UK take priority over anyone born in Sri Lanka.
4.Know your geography– Sri Lankan geography that is. Its well established fact that players from outside of Colombo are basically useless. So any players doing well in the outstations should not even get a look in until they move to Colombo and are capable of indulging in the much higher living expenses in the capital.
If you are not aware that clubs exist outside Colombo this will be seen favorably
5.Homesickness unwelcome– If you are the sort to get homesick do not consider applying. As a selector you will be required to travel extensively around the world. What you do once you reach the touring country is your business but the board will make sure you are given enough cash to go shopping and pick up that saree or two for the wife back home.
Sometimes you will be required to actually attend tour matches but these inconveniences are rare.
6.Know your enemy– Although as a cricket selector you might naturally expect to have a carefree life its not always rosy. There are many people who will question your every move and every player you drop. Usually these enemies or nemesis comes in 3 forms
- –The sports minister: He is the only one who has more power than a selector when picking a team. Dont be surprised if the good minister goes behind your back to bring back a player you have dropped. But thankfully these occasions are few and far between.
–Arjuna Ranatunga: Arjuna is a bit of a wild-card. There is absolutely no logic in the way this man behaves, which eventually means there is no knowing when he may or may not attack a selector using the media and his political influences. He will usually always doubt the system that you have set in place and will almost always doubt the player you pick. Be strong when this happens because Arjuna usually looses stamina due to his over grown belly
Disgruntled ex-Players: These guys are the real cry babies. When you drop them they will use the media to attack selectors and call them names. Disgruntled Ex-players and the sports ministers have a unique bond that can never be broken, so dont be caught off guard if they tag team you from the blind side.
E.g. include: Marvan Atappatu, Upul Chandana,Roshan Mahanama
7.Practice makes perfect: When you pick a certain player and he fails consistently over a period of time dont be disheartened. Keep picking him till he gets those once in a blue moon 50s regardless of other more consistent players.
Tip: One 50 is more than enough to secure a place of said player(s) for the next tours.
8.Talent Spotting: You will be required to know how to spot talent from the youngsters coming through the system. Pls do keep in mind that Pts 2, 3, 4 are essential when even considering a young player for selection. Failure to meet any of the said 3 pts means an automatic disqualification of the player.
Players who average 20s (Batting) and high 30s (bowling) are generally considered good international material. If a certain youngster is averaging better than this, an immediate compliance check of pts 2-4 is necessary.
Otherwise do not hesitate in picking a player with a lower average over a player who is considered good by the rest of the country.
Note: Pt 6 may (or may not) play a part in talent spotting. The enemies mentioned in pt 6 may try to distort your vision of who you think is a good player. Usually they will engage in media warfare using out-dated reasoning like comparing player averages/consistency and “form”.
9.Drop that Superstar: A time will come in your career when you need to drop a superstar player. Regardless of how much the team needs him or his record or his status and his importance to the team do not hesitate in dropping at least one superstar in your career.
Usually this decision will be reversed by the Sports minister (Refer pt 6).But that is of no concern as you will be guaranteed a “cult-following”, especially from the ever growing online Sri Lankan cricket community.
10.Chairmans word is Final: It is your responsibility to obey the instructions of the chairman or else your work permit will be terminated and no longer receive further wages.
Do exactly as the chairman orders.
Eg: If there is a fire in the SLC building and the chairman orders you not to leave the building, do not leave the building!
Usually the chairman will handle the media so PR expertise is not a pre-requisite. Also more often than not nobody will even know who you are unless someone from Pt 6 mentions your name in the media (usually Arjuna or Disgruntled player) or unless you carry out pt 9- in which case you will become The Superstar.
Special thanks to Thushal for his contributions