B.H. Perera and Duleep Mendis
By Lal Gunesekera
was an uninvited guest who made an ass of himself at
last Wednesday's (March 18) media briefing of the newly
appointed Interim Committee (IC) for Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC)
at its headquarters at Maitland Place.
non other than the infamous B.H. Perera, the
Administrative Manager at SLC. He interrupted the media
briefing towards the tail end, and the newly appointed
Chairman of the IC, D.S. de Silva, and Secretary
Nishantha Ranatunga, had their hands full to stop BH's
tirade against the media who had exposed many of his
Perera made his presence felt to the annoyance of the
entire IC, until he was "taken away" by another SLC
employee, from where he was holding forth at the
instigation of a former Media Manager at SLC, who was
seen hovering around.
unto himself, "BH", is a well known character who
switches allegiance to whoever occupies the "hot seat"
at SLC from the time of Thilanga Sumathipala, Jayantha
Dharmadasa, Arjuna Ranatunga (a former pupil of BH at
Ananda College) and even S. Liyanagama. It was 'BH' who
used to "call the shots" at SLC, and remember, he has
over two charge sheets in his personal file.
the years, no action has been taken against this
controversial figure, who is well known as "Podi Sir".
He was transferred to Maggona on a decision taken by the
newly appointed IC, but later managed to get his
transfer moved to the Premadasa Stadium after
intervention by a former IC Chairman.
Sunday Leader learns that "Podi Sir" has been suspended
after the latest episode on Wednesday and an inquiry is
to be conducted soon.
interesting to see what transpires about this notorious
doesn't deny involvement
Meanwhile, the newly appointed Chairman of the IC, D.S.
de Silva did not deny the fact that he is now married
into the family of a leading book maker. His wife is
E.W. Balasuriya's daughter and they have a son, who are
living in England.
also did not deny the fact that he managed/was employed
at the Sporting Times in Kollupitiya, which he gave up
when he started coaching Bloomfield.
said: "I do not have any other connections to the Gaming
industry. The people "at the top" will have to decide
whether, My appointment is legal or not.
According to the Sports Law Regulation 14 (1) (F), as
well as the ICC Code of Ethics 7 (7.1) and 7 (7.2),
"DS", Appointment as Chairman of the IC by Minister of
Sports and Public Recreation, Gamini Lokuge, is highly
Abeynaike, a member of the IC, said that he will stop
his weekly column in a Sunday newspaper, but will
continue with his TV commentaries.
Whether this falls in line with Regulation 14 (1) (d) is
the authorities concerned must also study the
Constitution of SLC Regulation 31 (b) and come to a
conclusion on the eligibility of Abeynaike.
also disclosed that President Rajapakse's son, Namal,
has found "some sponsors" and was confident that the
Hambantota International Cricket Stadium will be
completed before the 2011 World Cup to host one
further said that the cricketers and their families will
have to be protected from terrorism and that the
security of the players is a top priority before they
undertake any tour. He said: "Security clearance for
the players will also have to be obtained for the Indian
Premier League (IPL) Twenty - 20 tournament to be held
from April 10 to May 24".
said that the IC will make all decisions and no
'outside' interference will be tolerated.
Questions arise over the appointments of Nishantha
Ranatunga and Pramodya Wickremasinghe too. The former is
also the CEO of the Sri Lanka Cricketers Association (SLCA),
while the latter is its president. Is this not a
conflict of interest?
ICC had shown their concern if Duleep Mendis is removed
as the CEO of SLC. He has held this post since 2004. He
said that he does not know about these moves and that
his contract ends in December.
Sunday Leader learns that Air Commodore (RTD) Ajith
Jayasekera will replace Mendis as the CEO.
played in 24 Tests for Sri Lanka and 79 ODI's between
1982 and 1988, and it was under his captaincy that Sri
Lanka won its first Test victory.
techniques long favoured by purists still hold true but
change has taken place in the modern game of cricket. It
has done so in batting , bowling and fielding The game
is increasingly favoured towards the batting department
and those who turn up through the turnstiles, pay to
watch batting of high quality. This is true of the
longer version of the game and now important in the 50
overs version as well. A true craftsman will not only
make runs but will also entertain. To do so his
repertoire should be vast and should also be suited to
adapt to the conditions of the wicket. Sounds simple? No
its not. It is at this point that a thinking bowler
comes into thwart the most well laid plans by a batsman.
have seen the likes of Shane Warne, Mc Grath and our own
Murali in recent times. Let me explain the usefulness of
front foot play today. Front foot play by batsmen is the
standard movement when the ball is pitched up by the
bowler from a good length to a fuller one. This is often
an instinctive movement and is a safe position to reach
or strike the ball. A sideways position it helps the
striker to kill spin and also negotiate swing or sideway
movement off the pitch from a quicker bowler. This
position allows the batsman to make plenty of runs by
stroking it in a straighter line and also has the added
advantage of addressing the full face of the blade to
the ball which is a very forgiving approach.
craftsmen use the front foot play with an angled face of
the bat to glide and stroke the ball to vacant positions
in the field to keep the score board ticking. Even a
front foot push or prod is a profitable option. Students
of the game and younger players should concentrate on
the positioning of the front foot when using this
method. The front foot position has a direct
relationship to the pace of the ball, the bounce off the
wicket and when negotiating spin, the allowance for
good advice for juniors to get the front foot as near as
possible to the pitch of the ball whilst in the nets.
This hold true when starting an innings in the middle
till the batsman gets a measure of the pace and bounce
off the wicket. Practice long at the nets and this will
become second nature. Practice meaningfully by asking
the bowlers to pitch the ball to a fuller length and you
will feel the difference. Once you master this mode of
play an important part of your game is done. Of course
you will watch top internationals who would adopt a
majority of their strokes off the front foot and some
off the back foot. They are called front foot players or
essentially back foot players as the case may be.
is no hard and fast rule but players have to work out at
the nets to feel the comfort of the mode of play which
is best suited to each individual. Enjoy your practices
and be a thinking player at the nets. Not only will you
enjoy it but trust me, you will profit by it.
Don't fool with irb, hold agm soon
rugby administration encountered more than a few patches
of turbulence last year, but few would've guessed that
its troubles would elicit any reaction from the IRB, the
world body. Sri Lanka, after all, is no great shakes in
world rugby, and our problems aren't the sorts that are
likely to attract attention of officials at
headquarters, let alone cause anguish. The island is
only a dot on IRB map.
as one can remember, the only times when the IRB showed
a touch more than cursory interest in Sri Lanka rugby
was in the four years, since 2004, that it accorded
Satellite status to the Singer/Srilankan Airlines
International Sevens. Top IRB official, Mark Egan,
attended the inaugural Satellite tournament, and
thereafter, an official of lesser importance represented
the world body at each of the events.
week, though, two IRB officials flew into Colombo - and
for all the wrong reasons. The visit by Gerard
Gallagher, IRB Regional Development Manager for Asia,
and David Carigy, the Dublin-based Member Services
Manager of IRB, was termed as a "fact-finding mission'',
which, dare I say, is a polite way of saying: "your
rugby is in the s.. and unless you get out of it, sorry,
we might have to strike your country out of our list.''
That point, sugarcoated of course, was made known to all
those the IRB duo met: Sport Minister, to current
administrators, chief of the previous regime and heads
of Provincial unions.
IC not recognised
Dublin was the decision last month of Sport Minister, Gamini
Lokuge, to appoint an interim committee for rugby,
which, by the bye, is what he does spontaneously each
time the case of a troubled sport is brought before him.
It has to be said that these appointed committees have
turned out to be anything but interim. Cricket has had
an interim committee administration for so long that it
has come to be accepted as permanent, no matter that the
definition of interim is quite the opposite meaning.
minister's intention was to give his rugby IC the
longevity of cricket, then, he had a rude surprise
awaiting him from the IRB officials. The visiting duo
made it clear that the world body for rugby recognises
only democratically-elected national unions - not
committees of his fancy to run Sri Lanka rugby.
Secretary, I understand, had attempted to argue the
legitimacy of the appointed committee by pointing out
that our cricket too has long been administered by an
interim committee and the ICC accepts it as the national
body. Indeed, the government appoints cricket
administrators not just here, but in Pakistan,
Bangladesh and Zimbabwe as well. The rejoinder: The IRB
works by a different set of laws, one of which specifies
that it is mandatory for all its member-country unions
to have elected representatives. This is to say, Sri
Lanka RFU, as presently constituted, stands ostracised
from the international family of rugby.
Two months notice
there's not going to be an immediate blackballing of Sri
Lanka rugby. The Sunday Leader understands that our
rugby is on two months grace, and unless Sri Lanka can
show a democratically-elected rugby union by May, its
affiliation to the IRB would cease. The cost of
banishment from the world rugby community is
incalculable, nay, pretty much the death knell of the
century-old game here.
one thing, grass root (read: provincial) development
will come to grief because the annual IRB grant of about
Rs.14M would not be forthcoming. That sort of financial
loss is colossal - and irreplaceable now, given that the
global economic downturn has drastically shrunk the
sponsorship pie. The visiting IRB officials were also
told that the payment of salaries to the 50-odd
provincial development officers was stopped since
January by the interim committee.
says that the salaries are being withheld only until
such time a new constitution defines the status of
provincial unions, some of which presently, the IC
claims, holds more votes that they deserve. What ever
the politics of that issue is, the fact is provincial
development has been at a standstill since January
because salaried-officials won't work for free. Critics
of the IC, however, claim the unpaid salaries, amounting
to over Rs.400, 000 per month, are being used for other
purposes. All of which, you'll agree, only go to support
IRB's insistence on democratically elected unions to
administer the game.
cost to development is lesser of the blows that IRB
non-recognition would deal on
rugby. The more serious consequence will be that the
country, without IRB recognition, will become illegible
to participate in IRB tournaments, which is to say, all
international rugby. As well, any IRB-member country
will be forbidden from playing in Sri Lanka-hosted
events - and that will mean the end of the Singer/Srilankan
International Sevens, the popular annual that celebrated
its tenth birthday last year. The bottom line is that
Sri Lanka rugby will be cast to the wilderness, and, at
best, be reduced to a domestic pastime, as it was during
colonial times. It is doubtful if the game, under the
dictates of professionalism for two decades, will
survive in what would become an environment of
AGM before May
sense, so, would ask the interim committee to clear the
decks for an AGM before May so that an elected committee
can take office - and prevent the danger of losing our
IRB recognition. But you can't be certain that
politicians will not jump in to challenge the IRB. It is
easy to interpret IRB's insistence that its
member-countries be democratically elected bodies as
"interference in our internal affairs'' and
"disregarding our sovereignty''. The issue here really
is meat and drink to politicians. They've taken on
bigger opponents - the UN and the World body, no less -
at the slightest hint of perceived "interference''. So,
they might well see the IRB as an upstart that ought to
be put in its place.
politicians latch on to the issue, it will likely be
because one from the rugby fraternity has presented the
case to politicians - out of vested interest. The
politics surrounding the tussle for office in rugby is
not a secret - especially exposed out in the open when
the DIG Lewke regime defied a time-honoured tradition to
grab power. The tradition of accepting the outgoing
committee's nominated officials as the successors to
office helped in no small measure preserve unity. So
when in 2006 that noble practice went out of the window,
a crisis like this was always going to be sprung on the
did, and one suspects with designs to foist an interim
committee, remembering that president DIG Lewke and his
likely successor, Asanga Seneviratne, were at each
other's throats. So when DIG Lewke and SSP Duke Hamid,
the President and Secretary respectively, quit in quick
succession last January and CEO Dilroy Fernando having
had resigned earlier, it meant that the union had no
official vested with the power to summon the AGM in
early-March, when the 2009 office bearers were to be
elected. Minister Lokuge reportedly admits he had no
alternative but to appoint an IC so that the AGM can "be
held soon as possible''.
that it was taken to mean that the two-man interim
committee's task was to be no more than lay the ground
for the AGM. But that doesn't seem to be the case. The
IC wants to rewrite the constitution, a task that's
unlikely to fit into the "soon as possible'' timeframe.
To justify a new constitution, the IC secretary has been
dishing out all sorts of dirt on the DIG Lewke regime.
Admittedly, the last regime was anything but squeaky
clean. But then much of controversies that erupted
during the DIG Lewke regime were not so much due to a
flawed constitution as the questionable decisions taken
is all water under the bridge. Now the more important
challenge is to take decisions that wouldn't endanger
our IRB membership. Thankfully, in IC chairman Dr Maiya
Gunasekera we have one who is aware of the values of
preserving IRB links, being one who had dealings with
the world body during his two-year term as president of
the SLRFU in the mid-90s. He was also a forward of
national repute in his playing days in the 70s and had
played in countless internationals. One with such a fine
pedigree, you'd expect him to not barter away the future
of our rugby for reasons of self-interest.
work to give rugby another constitution is not without
good reason, but if the job is going to go beyond May
and cost the country IRB recognition, then he's on a
Foreigners permitted for local club rugby sides again
By Lal Gunasekara
foreigners ( a forward and a three-quarter) can play for
a club in the forthcoming Caltex ‘A’ division League
Rugby Championship scheduled to start in May.
Secretary cun Treasurer of the Interim Committee (IC)
for Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU), Kiran
Atapattu, told The Sunday Leader that this
decision was reached unanimously on Friday night at a
meeting between the IC and the Committee of Management
which included ex-players in the caliber of Ajith
Abeyratne, Group Caption (rtd) Nalin de silva, Hisham
Abdeen, Priyantha Ekanayake, Imthi Marirar, Rohan
Abeykoon and Lasitha Gunaratne.
influx of foreign players in local clubs started in 1986
when the SLRFU was headed by Y.C. Chang. The first such
player was Apisai Nagata from Fiji who turned out for
CH&FC, and later for Kandy Sports Club and did duty as a
Various other foreigners from Fiji, Western Samoa, Papua
New Guinea, England and New Zealand, have been turning
out for Sri Lankan club sides, including even the
Police, Army and Air Force up to 2004.
is a residential qualification if one of these
foreigners are to represent Sri Lanka, they have to be
in the country for a period of three years.
Even thee mighty All- Blacks of New Zealand have four
Fijians playing for them, two Fijians for England and
two New Zealanders for Australia
Two superb centuries help Basnahira North
magnificent centuries from Angelo Mathews (152) and
Muthumudalige Pushpakumara (103) helped Basnahira North
take a good first innings lead of 166 runs over Wayamba
Province on the second day of the SLT Inter Provincial
cricket tournament final continued at the R. Premadasa
Stadium on Friday.
223 and 39 for no loss (M. Udawatte 20 n.o)
Basnahira North: 389 (I. Daniel 31, A. Mathews 152, M.
Pushpakumara 103, D. Dharshanapriya 22, T. Perera 2 for
68, I. Udana 2 for 54, R. Herath 2 for 83, J. Mubarak 2
President's College win by an innings
spinner Madhuka Liyanapathirana came closer of claiming
all ten wickets in an innings as President's College
routed Ananda Sastralaya MV outright by an innings and
74 runs in their inter school under 19 cricket
tournament match concluded at Baddegana on Friday.
President's College: 272
Sastralaya MV: 143 and 55 (M. Liyanapathirana 9 for 19)
Trans asia open tennis
again by popular demand Trans Asia Hotel together with
the collaboration of the Sri Lanka Tennis Association
sparks off the Open Ranking Tennis Championship on
March 21, on the hotel's clay courts.
Co-sponsored and supported by Hedges Residencies,
Mobitel Telecom and Third Generation Sports (Pvt)
Limited, agents for HEAD, the tournament has already
attracted 345 entries a record in the history of this
tournament which is being held for the tenth year. A
press conference was held on March 18 to announce the
tournament where the sponsors endorsed the encouragement
the hotel was extending to up and coming players.
Speaking at the conference was Mr.Suriya Bibile from
Third Generation Sports, Mr.Suren J Amerasekera, CEO of
Mobitel Telecom, and Mr.Rohith Dissanayake from Hedges
Residencies while Mr.Mirza Fajudeen Director Sales of
Trans Asia represented the hotel. Last year, the
tournament enjoyed 260 entries. Spectators can expect to
watch some thrilling matches as National Players and
Davis Cup Players are all participating in this
tournament will culminate with the final matches being
played on the April 3, followed by a prize giving and
cocktails at the hotel premises.
Tournament Director is N.S.Jayashantha from the Trans
Asia Hotel's Power Drome, while the match referee is
Mr.Avantha Suranimala from the Sri Lanka Tennis
the open events bumper cash prizes are up for grabs for
the winner and Runner up together with a trophy, while
the Junior Event players will receive Trophies, gifts
Is he eligible ?
eligibility of an official of a racquet sport to seek
election of President of its governing body at the
forthcoming annual general meeting, is highly unethical
official was a senior officer in one of the armed
services, who even served as military attache in the
country's High Commission in a South Asian nation
serving for 17 years, this officer, was found guilty of
an offence on inquiry, and was decommissioned in the
individual also served as an official in another racquet
governing body a few years back.
is also an inquiry pending against this official on
complaints that he managed a junior team across the
Saints Twenty 20
inaugural Saints Schools Twenty -20 cricket tournament
will be worked off on March 28 from
10 a.m. at the Premadasa Stadiun.
four Teams taking part are St-Benedict's, St. Anthony's
St. Joseph's and St. Peter's with the winners to receive
Rs 50,000 and runners-up Rs 25,000, besides other awards
to the Man of the Match in the two seml-finals, Best
Batsmen in the final, Best Bowler in the Match,and in
the final and the Most Valuable Player of the
final is scheduled for 6pm and Roger Wijesuriya will be
EU's SLRFU rep. "sold a dummy"?
By Lal Gunesekera
Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) representative in
the European Union (EU), Elmo Rajasooriya, is a
member of two famous rugby playing clubs in the United
Kingdom namely Harlequins and London Welsh, Rajasooriya,
had sent a consignment of rugby equipment consisting
boots, jersey, stockings, shorts etc to the SLRFU in
September last year to be distributed to schools in
rural areas, for development purposes.
rugby kits are discarded by players in Wales and
Yorkshire areas and I requested them to donate these
items for this worthy cause in Sri Lanka. Two large
boxes were shipped out to Colombo last September. I know
they were cleared by the SLRFU. The former Executive
Director of the SLRFU, Dilroy Fernando, confirmed
receipt of these goods and that he was making
arrangements to distribute them" said Rajasooriya.
told The Sunday Leader that he was unaware of what
happened to the goods shipped as it was customary that
donors are thanked for their contributions. He said: "I
have not been able to carry out this function, as I
don't know what has happened to this particular
Rajasooriya, who has been the SLRFU representative in
the UK since 1987, and then the EU, has sent three or
four consignments to Sri Lanka over the last three years
depending on what the SLRFU requests from him. He used
to clean the boots etc and sea freight them to the SLRFU.
Rajasooriya has visited most of the EU countries
regularly and presented them with ties, plaques etc. at
his own cost, so that these countries will know that Sri
Lanka is a Rugby playing nation.
Rajasooriya continues to be a member of the Gymkhana
Club, Havelock and Kandy Sports Clubs. He is in Sri
Lanka at the moment and is scheduled to return to
London at the end of the month.
Iswan Omar writes...
What I, as representative of the Central Province RFU
brought to the notice of the two IRB Officials when they
met the Provincial Union heads, was that individual
clubs will find it difficult to obtain funds from
sponsors, due to uncertainty of the Rugby programmes for
Inter - Club Rugby Sevens is an SLRFU event. The Kandy
Sports Club (KSC) agreed to host the tournament at
Nittawela on the 7th &' 8th February 2009. At no point
in time did we agree to fund the event. The
understanding was that the SLRFU as in the past will
provide us with the necessary finances to conduct the
event. No sooner was the event concluded, KSC was able
to prepare a Statement of Expenses (for Rs.136,492)
attach all documents in support thereof, and transmit it
to the interim Committee - together with a cheque for
RS.13508 (representing the unutilised funds). This was
the proficient and transparent way in which KSC handled
real 'shame' here is the effort being made by the
controlling body (SLRFU) to have a constituent club
provide it with bridging finance to meet its ( the
Singer Srilankan Airlines Sevens - 2008. The Audited
Statement of Accounts duly certified by SJMS Associates
- Chartered Accountants has been forwarded to the
following on February 5.
Sponsors: Singer (Sri Lanka )PLC and SriLankan Airlines
Mr.Asanga Seneviratne Chairman Organizing Committee.
(representing the SLRFU- and appointed by the SLRFU
Council in July 2008 with whom we were instructed to
Mrs.Beth Coalter - Tournament Operational Manager - IRB
Mr.Jarred Gallagher - Regional Manager IRB (Asia)
: CPRFU - It is correct a sum of Rs. 250.000/- was
released to the CPRFU for 2008 to conduct Rugby
Development programs and pay Allowances to the 'B'
Division club. These have been properly constituted and
: 20 Clubs - It is correct that KSC is the only "A"
Division Rugby Club, but there are a further 19 "B"
Division Rugby Club registered with the SLRFU/CPRFU for
2008 together with the relevant documents duly accepted
by the SLRFU.
Saman, damith lose in india
ABA's campaign to inject young blood into the national
team got off to a disappointing start when both its
young representatives were eliminated in the first round
of the seven-nation M K Misra International meet held
last week in Chandigarh, India.
weight Damith Wijeratne, 21, was out-pointed, 1/11, by
the eventual gold medalist, a representative of the
Indian Railway Authority. But feather weight Saman Silva
subjected his opponent, also an Indian, to some distress
before conceding defeat, 6/10. The 22-year-old Sri
Lankan southpaw, the vanquisher of the Russian world
junior champion last November, began impressively by
taking a 5/0 lead early in the first round, which,
however, closed all-square at 5/5.
then on, the Indian was the more assertive, leading 8/6
in the second round before eventually running out a 10/6
young duo was making their debut in an overseas
international meet, which coincided with the worldwide
introduction of nine-minute bouts. As of 2009, AIBA
ruled that a bout is to last nine minutes and be of
three-round duration, replacing the old four rounds of
two minutes each. The implication of the change means
the total interval-time available to boxers is less: the
three minutes rest of the old four-rounder is now down
to two minutes.
"There's no denying that Damith and Saman lost to
superior opponents. But I think the new duration of
three rounds of three minutes each wasn't of help
either, especially to Saman. In the first round he
scored five points, in the second just one and none at
all in the third. Accustomed to two-minute rounds
followed by a one-minute interval, clearly, Saman's
fitness level was inadequate to cope with rounds of
longer duration,'' said Lt. Col. (Retd.) Hemantha
Weerasinghe, ABA Secretary. "Saman admits that he felt
stiff and weary before the final round, and, had he been
physically better conditioned, he might've been able to
wipe out the two-point deficit (at the end of rd. 2) and
gone on to perhaps win in the last round.''
ABA is shortly to summon a meeting of all coaches to
discuss the methods of training required to adapt to the
new duration of bouts. "Obviously, the boxers' approach
has to be different, and fitness levels have to improve
- aspects which we haven't given the serious thought
they deserve,'' said Weerasinghe.
Basnahira North emerge
North lifted the SLT Inter Provincial cricket tournament
with a convincingten wicket outright victory over
Wayamba Province with more than a day to spare inthe
final concluded at the R. Premadasa Stadium yesterday.
223 and 181 (M. van Dort 50, M. Udawatte 28, K.
Lokuarachchi 20, J. Mubarak
20, J. Kulatunga 37, N. Kulasekera 2 for 39, M
Pushpakumara 4 for 49)
Basnahira North: 389 and 16 for no loss
Royal win Mustang Trophy
Rajapaksa captured four wickets and Kusal Perera
hammered a splendid halfcentury as Royal College
defeated their traditional rivals S. Thomas’ College
MountLavinia by five wickets in their annual inter
school limited overs cricket encounterworked off at the
SSC grounds in Maitland Place yesterday.
S. Thomas’: 158 for 9 in 50 overs (S.
Peris 31, B. Rajapaksa 4 for 33)
Royal: 159 for 5 in 33. 3 overs (K. Perera 55, B.
Rajapaksa 28, S. Hettiarachchi 32,F. Saleem 3 for 32)