Mendis to represent all CEOs
By Lal Gunesekera
Executive Officer (CEO) of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC),
Duleep Mendis, has been honoured by the International
Cricket Council (ICC) to represent all CEOs of the 10
Test playing countries at a high powered ICC Cricket
Committee meeting on May 11 and 12 in London, England.
is a big honour for Mendis, who is the most senior CEO
among the Test playing countries, and the only person to
have held the positions of player, captain, manager
selector, coach. CEO and acting Chairman of the Interim
Committee (IC) of SLC (although it was for only seven
days) when S.B. Dissanayake was the Minister of Sports.
the topics to be discussed by the ICC Cricket Committee
in London is playing conditions, rules, referees,
umpires, venues, changes to the Twenty - 20 system
(whether it is to be increased to 25 overs) etc.
were moves earlier to replace Mendis as CEO by certain
interested parties, but in the end his services were
retained though Ajith Jayasekera was appointed as
Additional CEO by the D.S. de Silva led administration.
meeting will be chaired by Clive Lloyd, and also
includes Ian Bishop and Mark Taylor (past players),
Kumar Sangakkara and Tim May (representatives of current
players), Mickey Arthur (full member team coach), Simon
Taufel (Umpires), Ranjan Madugalle (Referees), Keith
Bradshan (MCC), David Kendix (statistician), Ravi
Shastri (Media), Steve Tikolo (Associate Represetative)
and Duleep Mendis (representative Full Members).
Fielding too is important
discussed planning an innings when batting on the last
ocassion. Today let us discuss another aspect which is
equally important. Fielding. This department of the game
is least taken seriously by young players. Can you
imagine a bowler doing his best to find a sloppy fielder
give a run which could have been prevented or a catch
dropped? Imagine a batsman making a run and the
opportunity is there for a run out and the fielder
botches it? Ok so now you have got my drift. Every
player has to field. You may not get to bat or bowl in a
match but you will have to field. Often its for two
innings. Now lets analyse how one can be a good fielder.
Agility is required
Agility, sharpening of reflexes and attacking the ball
are what is required. Lets start by discussing the close
in fielding positions and what is required to excel in
these areas. Remember that only nine fielders are
available to position as the wicket keeper and bowler
would have to be discounted.
rules state that only two fielders can be placed behind
the popping crease on the legside. Many a time there
would be at least five fielders stopping one run. This
would mean five fielders would be wthin thirty metres or
so from the bat, take the slip fielder away and you will
have four. They could be at cover, extra cover, mid off
or a short mid off on the off side. Aid on , short mid
wicket, a forward or backward short leg would be options
on the leg side.
fielders will have to be quick on their feet and also
have safe pairs of hands. Lets discuss how to sharpen
these skills. Practice fielding like you would be
stopping a single or taking an important catch each
time. Get someone to hit the ball direct at you or a
metre or two away from you at different speeds and
heights for catching practice. Get another to hit the
ball along the ground, first to the left and then to the
right at varying speeds for pick up and throw to the
wicket like in a match.
Throwing the ball
Imagine that you are stopping a single with each pick up
and throw. Alternate between throwing at the wicket
keepers end and to the non strikers end. Make sure that
you have your weight on the right foot for scoop and
throw at the point of release if you are throwing from a
low position to release the ball quickly.That is if you
are a right handed thrower. You could pick up and get
upright if time is available and throw with the weight
on the left foot too.
slips will also have to practice in a simulated match
atmosphere. Arrange three slips and the wicket keeper,
get a batsman to glide or cut the ball on the offside
with someone throwing the ball at him. The slips would
have to watch the outside edge of the bat and follow the
ball all the way to the hands.
try to grab at the ball but let it settle within cupped
palms, The first slip should watch the ball from the
hand of the bowler but in this case the thrower as the
angle of deflection would be minimal. He would do so
just like the wicket keeper. keep the eyes on the ball
and move with bent knees in the direction of the ball
and do not dive or fling yourself unnecessarily.
Keeping your balance in the slips is the most important
thing. Practice these moves as often as you can and you
will be one of the most important members of the team.
Take my advice. You could even play in a team simply as
a good fielder.
Why? You can stop twenty five runs from the opponents or
even take a catch or two and a run out, that would make
a difference. More than all enjoy fielding. Its also a
special art. I emphasise the need to hone these skills
in my academy and doesn't Coca Cola International agree.
More next week.
Lankan tennis achieves 10-year dream,
but can the IC cope with new demands
Life in Group 2 will be a lot harder
odds-defying Asian Nations rugby triumph by Sri Lanka's
second-stringers over Thailand, and the nasty
controversies leading up to that win, took much of the
recent New Year holiday headlines, an outstanding
achievement by Sri Lanka's national tennis team went
unheralded, if not unnoticed. Not all of the print and
electronic media last Sunday reported the realisation of
a ten-year dream: the elevation of
to the ranks of Group Two in next year's Davis Cup
competition. It is no mean achievement, and by any
reckoning ought to have been accorded greater prominence
- the absence of which is due as much to tennis' lesser
standing in sport's popularity list (by which the media
sifts the day's important from the less-important) as
the inefficiency of the SLTA's public relations
department, if there's one at all.
Success after a decade
decade is a long wait, and its ending surely would've
evoked sighs of relief and shrieks of delight among the
tennis fraternity here, especially after the expensive
preparations - and promises - of the three previous
years went unfulfilled. Before we try to answer why a
far-less expensive preparation this year earned success,
let's dwell on last week's achievement so that its
significance can be better appreciated. First let's
trace the success trail of Godamanna, Rajapakse and Co.
Sri Lanka was in Group B of the eight-nation
competition, along with Iran, Saudi Arabia and host
Syria. To qualify for the semifinals, Sri Lanka needed
to finish first/second in their group. They topped it,
with a handsome all-win record: beating Iran, 2/1; Saudi
Arabia, 3/0; Syria, 3/0.
brought the competition to its knockout stage, with the
four semifinalists - Pacific Oceania and Lebanon (from
Group A) and Sri Lanka and Syria (Group B) in the race
for the two promotion slots. This meant that our
promotion hopes rode on the outcome of our semifinal
match v. Lebanon, one of two countries demoted from
Group Two last year; the other, Pacific Oceania, a
collection of the best players from different islands in
the Pacific ocean.
rugby equivalent of our semifinal match-up would be a
confrontation with Arabian Gulf/ or Kazakhstan in the
Asian Nations first division, had one of the two lost
their place in the premier division. Not that overcoming
either is impossible but nothing short of a perfect
performance would've been required to accomplish it. Sri
Lanka's tennis team produced a perfect-10, whitewashing
Lebanon, 3/0. Pacific Oceania, however, was quite
another proposition. Without denying their superiority,
the knowledge that we had already secured promotion, and
perhaps the consequent dimming of the fires of ambition,
contributed to our 0/3 loss to the Pacific islanders in
the final. But this defeat is not without advantage: a
forewarning was given of the more challenging time
awaiting us next year in Group 2 - and the need to plan
ahead and make greater investments in the preparation
for sterner competition.
Model for next year
sort of planning and expensive investments put into the
preparations over the previous three years might've been
suggested as a model for next year, except that it
failed. In theory, though, there wasn't much wrong in
the program of preparations, 2006-08, including as it
does the recruitment of a professional coach from
overseas, training stints in the hired coach's academy
in Bangkok (where Godamanna had based himself in 2006 to
pursue a professional career) as well as its six-month
span. It seemingly was the best preparation afforded to
any of our Davis Cup teams ever, costing the SLTA about
Rs.2M each of the three years.
Undeniably, the program did make Godamanna, our no.1
singles, a better-equipped combatant, but it must not be
forgotten that he made his own investments in pursuing
ambitions of a career in professional tennis- and Sri
Lanka tennis just happened to be a fortunate beneficiary
of his decision, not the investor. Even with such help
forthcoming, the question to ask is why the preparations
of the three previous years, costing roughly Rs.6M,
failed; whereas the 2009 preparation, including just six
days training in ATF's Regional Academy in Bangkok,
costing in all roughly half-million rupees, succeeded.
disparity in the costs is huge and does arouse suspicion
about the quality of preparations of the three previous
years. Any harsh conclusions on the quality of the
training offered at the academy of Dominic Utzinger, the
Bangkok-based Swiss coach, would be unfair. His c.v.
includes the coaching of Roger Federer in his younger
days. That evidence of his quality apart, the Utzinger-presided
campaigns didn't fail by much either. In 2007 we
actually finished joint-first, together with
and Lebanon. But in a count back of the sets won by each
in the entire tournament, Sri Lanka fell one short of
Lebanon, the second qualifier. The failures in 2006 and
08 weren't by much either, finishing among the top four
on each occasion.
wasn't as if promotion was missed by a mile in 2006-08,
but what ever the margin of difference, it meant another
year spent in Group Three, which, as at 2008, had totted
up to nine years. Another significant difference in the
2006-08 and the 2009 preparations was the numbers that
made up the respective team managements: manager (Vasantha
Wijesekera), coach (Utzinger) and captain (de Silva) -
as opposed to Asiri Iddamalgoda doing all three jobs
this time around. So, it is justifiable to ask if the
2006-08 failures were a case of "too many cooks spoil
the soup''? Equally, it is justifiable to believe that a
one-man management meant fewer complications to
performing the task at hand- which hadn't been the case
previously. In 2007, the decision to persist with an
unfit Renouk Wijemanne (expensively flown out from the
US) for the second singles for all but one of the five
encounters proved costly: We fell one set short of
promotion. Suggestions to pull out Wijemanne on day 1
and field instead Rajapakse were rebuffed by the
management. Then, last year's hopes were scuttled even
before the team emplaned by the infamous dispute over
selection of the fourth player- a dispute that was taken
before the Sport Minister and very nearly to courts.
With the ugly exchanges involving selectors, SLTA
officials and the contending players made public, the
confidence of the squad was surely no where near high.
They lost the opening match to Malaysia, and from then
on it was pretty much a lost cause.
were no such controversies to blight this year's
campaign - and it showed on court. Godamanna, as in all
of his previous Davis Cup appearances, proved our Mr.
Reliable. Bar in the final, he won all of his other
eight matches: four singles and four doubles. By any
measure, it was a display of remarkable consistency, no
doubt acquired from his three-year pursuance of a
professional career, which, sadly, was abandoned early
this year. This isn't the first time that Godamanna has
contributed generously to Sri Lanka's Davis Cup cause.
If previously his efforts were for a losing cause, it is
because one man alone can't bring promotion. Duets do.
And this time around, he found an able partner:
Rajapakse, who won three of his four pre-final
encounters and partnered Godamanna in all of the four
Rajapakse's seven wins might be one less than his
teammate's tally, but the former gave more in terms of
sweat and toil. All four of his pre-final matches went
the full distance, one going into a tie-breaker.
Godamanna, on the hand, won three of his four pre-final
matches in straight sets.
wise men of tennis have long thought of Rajapakse as
suitable only for the doubles, suspecting his fitness -
a theory he shot dead last week. Of course, as one who
runs his family's optical business; his commitment can't
be ideal. Even so, the 28-year-old has long been a Davis
Cup representative, but he hasn't previously managed to
cast the sort of dominance he did last week. Perhaps, in
the past his role in the team wasn't spelled out in
definitive terms- whether as a specialist doubles who
may be called on to fill in as second singles player
should the need arise, or as permanent singles and
doubles player, as Godamanna is.
year, though, his role and responsibilities were made
clear - play Godamanna II, if you like - and so set
about determinedly to play the part. "Previously we had
routinely lost the second singles and attempted to win
the encounter through success in the doubles. We didn't
want to be in that sort of pressure situations. So, this
time Harshana and I decided, come what may, to go for a
winning 2/0 lead by winning both singles - and succeeded
in three of the (the first) four matches,'' said
Rajapakse. "I think knowing my precise role in the squad
aided my performance. That hadn't been the case in the
past few years." - And was the apparent reason why we
fell short of promotion in the past few years.
Cause for celebration
that as it may, the realization of a 10-year ambition is
cause for celebration - more so as Sri Lanka tennis has
had precious little to be cheery about since 2006/7 when
an interim administration was foisted on it by Sport
Minister, Gamini Lokuge - just so that his political
friend Janaka Bogollagama may sit on the sport's high
course, the IC officials weren't going to miss out on
being at hand to welcome home the triumphant squad,
Tuesday. And indeed they were there at the airport,
garlands and all. It was a nice gesture, and might've
been taken for a genuine expression of their
appreciation- if only they had been around to bid the
players farewell, too.
this is not the time to be talking of the bungling of
the Bogollagama administration. Suffice to say tennis
went broke long before global recession hit the world,
as sponsors withdrew by droves since the IC came into
being. If anything, with the recession beginning to
bite, times will only get harder for tennis - which
raises the question of IC's solvency and the ability to
fund the far more expensive life in Group Two. But then,
being a Sport Ministry creation, it is morally bound to
come up with money, which, given the IC's dire financial
strait, the ministry obviously hasn't helped out as yet.
No tennis program is quite so deserving of investment as
the bid to remain in Group Two until such time promotion
to Group 1 becomes a realistic proposition. That is what
progress is all about.
Two countries include Kuwait, Hong Kong, the Philippines
and Pacific Oceania - nations we've played with during
our nine years in Group Three, but could never beat.
"That we haven't beaten some of the Group Two countries
(when they were in Grp.3) tells us the sort of
opposition we face next year. It is going to be tough,''
says Rajapakse. So, unless we prepare accordingly, you
have to believe in miracles to think that our Group Two
status is going to last any longer than a year. This
much is certain next year around this time: the farewell
to the team leaving to defend, for the first time in 11
years, the country's Group Two status won't lack the
presence of IC officials. The enthusiasm shown for their
arrival, however, might be quite another story.
George Steuarts Travels' Twenty 20 bonanza
By Nirmala Kannangara
Steuarts Travel International Ltd a subsidiary of George
Steuarts and Company Ltd the oldest company in the
country gives cricket enthusiasts a never to be missed
chance for a firsthand experience of the ICC World
Twenty 20 in England in June.
being the exclusive travel agent in Sri Lanka for the
ICC Cricket World Cups 2007, 2003, 1999 and the Wills
Cricket World Cup tournament 1996 where Sri Lanka
emerged World Champions, George Steuarts (GS) Travels
has once again become the official travel agent for the
popular ICC World Twenty 20 cricket matches to be played
in England from June 1- 21.
According to Senior Director, GS Travels Lucky Fernando,
five packages have been introduced for the cricket fans
while the accommodation during their stay would be in
picturesque star class hotels and inns closest to the
Frontier Racing dominates Foxhill
Land Rover Defender entered by Frontier Racing won the
event for Diesel Jeeps and Trucks and was placed Second
against Petrol and Diesel 4WD's in the Trucks and Jeeps
Open category at the Foxhill Super Cross on April 18.
Frontier Racing Land Rover 90 won the Diesel Jeep and
Truck race with ease. Its straight line speed was proved
from the start of the race, when the Defender surged
ahead of its competition. This straight line lead was
enhanced in every corner. In the corners, the Defender
showed much more poise, and very much higher levels of
grip. In the Open Event for Petrol and Diesel Trucks and
Jeeps, the Defender was leading the race until the
penultimate lap. The Frontier Racing Defender was driven
by Sheran Fernando, CEO, Frontier Automotive.
Land Rover Defender was specially designed and built by
Mr. Anuruddha Yapa, (Director) and his dedicated team at
Frontier Automotive. The starting point of the vehicle
was a 25 year old Land Rover 90. The 90 had a TD5
engine, specially tuned by Chandima Gooneratne and
Dissanayaka of Frontier, in technical collaboration with
Twisted Performance of the UK. The vehicle body and
suspension was designed by Mr. Yapa.
the Defender stamping its class in the field of circuit
racing, this makes it the most versatile vehicle in the
world. The Defender is widely used in the most arduous
areas of the North and East, by the Military. NGO's the
world over depend on the Defender, when they need
extreme levels of performance. Wild life enthusiasts and
photographers the world over use Defenders when they go
exploring. The Defender has been at the forefront of off
road racing. And now, the Defender has commenced the
domination of circuit racing.
second car entered by Frontier Racing was a Citroen Saxo.
This car was entered in the class Group H cars. The Saxo,
came second in race one, and won race two. The Citroen
performed very creditably in a class dominated by more
powerful Honda Civic's. The suspension and the engine
management system of the Citroen was designed by the
team at Frontier Racing, under the supervision of
Citroen Sport, who develop the Citroen cars that
dominate the World Rally Championship. Technician
Kanishka, who is responsible for the maintenance and
development of the Citroen has been trained by Citroen,
and Citroen Sport.
"Official" team photograph after team returns
By Lal Gunasekera
Normally an official team photograph of any national
side is taken before the team leaves overseas. But this
was not the case where the Sri Lankan rugby side was
official team photograph was taken at Nittawela on March
30 where the original side was practicing for the
Five-Nations Division I Rugby Championship which was
the controversy erupted over the captaincy. Dilaka
Wijesekera who was nominated by the Rohan Abeykoon led
selectors was replaced by Pavirhra Fernando on an
objection raised by his powerful father, Hemasiri
Fernando, Chief of the national Olympic Committee (NOIC).Former
IGP Indra de Silva of the National Selection Committee
of the National Sport Council installed Pavithra
Fernnado as captain.
of the original players selected from Kandy Sports Club
and CH & FC objected to Fernando's appointment and
refused to tour including national coach, George Simpkin,
a New Zealander.
However, a new set of selectors was picked and they
chose a host of CR & FC players instead. Even the CR &
FC coach Carrington was picked to accompany the side to
were the results?
lost to Chinese Taipei 24-36, but beat
51-17 to remain in Division I.
official photograph was taken last Monday (April 20) at
the Sports Ministry with even Sports Minister Gamini
Lokuge in attendance, for the first time in the history
of the SLRFU.
phortograph was taken on the initiative of Pavithra
Fernando, but CEO of the IC for SLRFU. Lasitha Gunaratne,
who went to Dubai as Manager, and the Secretary cum
Treasurer of the IC, Kiran Atapattu, refused point blank
to sit for this photograph.
Please Leave !
Western Province RFU were to conduct the schools
tournament this year and had called for a meeting at
Havelocks on Monday (April 20), to discuss various
issues.The SLRFU IC's CEO Lasitha Gunaratne, had been
present with the SLRFU's Administrative Manager, Seneaka
Colombage. However, Colombage, was asked to leave by a
senior official of the WPRFU Rizly Illyaz, as he was not
invited, Gunaratne was asked to bring a letter.
schools tournament is now to be conducted by the IC of
the SLRFU on a request made by President Mahinda
Fifteen players who pulled out from the national side to
tour Dubai has sent a statutory notice under section 461
of the Civil Procedure through their attorneys to Sports
Minister Lokuge. A second letter has been sent
challenging the appointment of a three-member
disciplinary committee to conduct an inquiry against the
Royal survive scare to win
College survived a fierce second half rally from their
traditional rivals S. Thomas' College to register a
thrilling 37 points to 33 points victory in their 47th
annual inter school rugby encounter worked off at Mount
also retained the Michael Gunaratne Trophy for the
fourth successive year while collecting their points
from three goals, two tries and two penalties. The
Thomians who were trailing 7-31 at half time came back
strongly in the second half and responded with three
goals, one penalty goal and one try.
also increased their overall tally to 25 victories and
came closer of recording the highest total in the series
which still stands as 39-3.
Wesley triumph 28 - 5
College produced a fine second half rally to beat
Thurstan College by 28 points to 5 points in their inter
school rugby encounter worked off at Longden Place
Wesleyites who led 10-5 at half time cut loose in the
Lanka Bell Wayamba' shines in Inter Provincial cricket
Lanka Bell Wayamba Provincial cricket team put on a
superb performance in the inaugural inter provincial
tournament 2008/09 organised by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).
The tournament is conducted by SLC in order to improve
the standard of domestic cricket whereby the crme of
the countries top cricketers are selected to represent 5
tournaments were held in the inaugural season namely a
one-day tournament, two Twenty 20 tournaments and a four
day first class tournament. The Wayamba team had the
distinction of qualifying for the finals of all 4
tournaments. The provincial season kicked off with the
one day tournament where the Wayamba team was declared
joint champions with the Kandurata Provincial team when
the final was interrupted by rain. This tournament was
followed by the first Twenty 20 tournament where the
Wayamba team clinched victory by defeating the Ruhuna
Provincial team in the final. The next tournament
conducted was the 4 day first class tournament where the
Wayamba team emerged runners up to the Basnahira - North
team. The final tournament of the season was the second
Twenty 20 tournament where the Wayamba team retained the
title defeating the Basnahira - South team in the final.
Lanka Bell Wayamba team consisted of National players in
the caliber of former national skipper Mahela
Jayawardene, Jehan Mubarak, Micheal Vandort, Farveez
Maharoof, spinning sensation Ajantha Mendis as well as
seasoned campaigners such as Jeewantha Kulatunga, Lanka
de Silva, Rangana Herath, Chanaka Welagedara and up and
coming youngsters such as Isuru Udana, Shalika
Karunanayaka, Kaushalya Lokuarachchi and Mahela Udawatta.
Wayamba Team is sponsored by Lanka Bell Limited, which
is the country's only truly Sri Lankan Telecommunication
company and has been in the forefront of sports
development in the country.
Anura Rohana, Mithun Perera share the lead in Nepal
By Lal Gunasekera
Anura Rohana fired a round of seven - under 65 to shoot
to the top of the Surya Nepal Masters at the Gokarna
Forest Resort. He had an one - over 73 in the first -
joined fellow Sri Lankan, the 22-year-old amateur,
Mithun Perera (68, 70) to Share the lead at six-under
shots behind the two Sri Lankans were Harinder Gupta on
141 (69, 72) followed by Shamin Jhan (71, 71) Nabin
Mondal (72, 70) and Ashok Kumar (69, 73) who were all on
Rohana's putting was the feature of his play and is
hoping to win the title on this occasion. Perera on the
other hand, managed two Birdies in the Second - round,
but kept his card free on any bogeys.
Hilton Colombo sponsors Ladies Golf
Colombo with the support of the new General Manager and
Marketing & Communication Manager Gigi De Silva have
agreed to continue the sponsorship of the LGU
medal/Hilton Grand Prix once again
tournament will have 16 matches over the period of 12
months, out of which the best 12 scores will be
counted. The final best 10 placings are given to the
best ten scores.
Eser Marketing by 102 runs
into bat first, Eser Marketing scored 199 for the loss
of 9 wickets in 30 overs in the "F group" first round
match of the Mercantile Limited over cricket tournament,
against Loadstar played at the BRC grounds on April
Chathuranga and Dimuth Hettiarachchi top scored with 45
and 41 respectively, followed by Sameera Fernando with
Loadstar S.A.S.J. Pathinayaka and T.A.R.Pradeep bagged 2
wickets a piece for 26 and 14 respectively.
reply Loadstar managed to put only 97 on the scoreboard
with S.K.Dissanayak and N.R.Rajapakse scoring 21 and 17.
Sameera Fernando, Ishara Chathuranga and Dinusha
Madhushanka bagged 2 wickets a piece for 18, 19 and 24
runs respectively, giving Eser Marketing a brilliant 102
CIMA joins hands with SLTA
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, the
world's leading and largest professional body of
Management Accountants moved away form their traditional
activity to join hands with the Sri Lanka Tennis
Association and sponsor the junior tennis teams taking
part in the Junior Davis cup , Junior Fed cup and World
Junior Girls and Boys competition held in Yangon,
Speaking at the handing over of the sponsorship package
Bradley Emerson - Regional Director South Asia and the
Middle East said "CIMA over the past four decades in Sri
Lanka has been fulfilling aspirations of˙our youth.˙
Being associated with the junior tennis team to the
Davis and FED cup˙is yet another opportunity for CIMA to
be part of dreams and aspirations of young Sri Lankans
and we are extremely privileged to be associated with
the SLTA in this endeavour. Undoubtedly a lot of effort
has gone into grooming this young outfit and CIMA wishes
the youngsters a successful tournament.