Sri Lanka urged by columnist not to win World Cup

February 12, 2011 (AFP) – While the media of every country usually backs its team, a Sri Lankan newspaper columnist has urged the national squad not to win the World Cup — for the greater good of the nation. “Call me a traitor, a quisling… anything. I don’t want Sri Lanka to be the champions of cricket World Cup 2011,” the sports writer of the privately run The Island daily said.

“Want to hang me, come catch me,” Russell Palipane wrote Saturday.

“Just imagine what will take place if Sri Lanka emerges champs. D. S. de Silva (President of Sri Lanka Cricket) and his cronies will say it was because of their organisation skills.”

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) was recently described as “one of the most corrupt organisations in the country” by former sports minister C. B. Ratnayake. SLC is also the country’s richest sports governing body.

The Island newspaper, which usually supports the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse, also raised fears that ruling-party politicians will exploit a cup victory to bolster their own image.

The scathing report comes despite a government appeal to the local media not to hurt the morale of the national squad ahead of the World Cup, of which Sri Lank