an accountant be a surgeon?
first ever three Test series offered to Sri Lanka by England had
drawn disgraceful comments from the British media.
rising high at Lords, the Lankans crumbled as soft cookies on
English soil destroying the prestigious image they enjoyed after
nine consecutive victories in the Test arenas.
a person who had wielded the willow in a small measure in Sri
Lanka and jolly well knowing the glorious uncertainties of this
gentlemen’s game it will be extremely sinful if I try to rumble
an outfit who had been heroes in the recent past.
or losing in any game in sports is a natural factor. But what
draws the attention of the genuine fans of cricket, is the reason
as to why the Asian Test champions, Sri Lanka is battered and
bruised on European soil.
there is no unity in any family its obvious that it will crash,
Sanath Jayasuriya and his boys are suffering here as a result of a
silly bunch of administrators that our government had appointed to
rule a game that has earned big money and fame to a nation that is
struggling to survive.
a selector does not know the difference of a leg or off break or
the square cut and a cover drive, he should receive a jail
sentence for being a con man.
just cannot accept the reason as to why an efficient manger of the
calibre of the former Thomian opener, Ajith Jayasekera losing his
position to a 72 year old Chandra Schafter who yet is struggling
to manage a team that has earned respect in the international Test
and the one day arena Sri Lanka has admitted the fact that they
just cannot win matches without the services of their ace spinner
a fifty percent fit, best off spinner in the world has failed to
give the anticipated results for Sri Lanka in the npower Test
Lankan skipper, Sanath Jayasuriya’s good luck chum who had been
helping him to achieve nine successive triumphs in the Test arena
seems to have deserted him.
Jayasuriya, the flamboyant batsman from Sri Lanka had proved to
the cricketing world that he is more than capable of dictating
terms to any venomous paceman. The current bad patch he is
experiencing must not deteriorate his confidence. A grand knock by
him occupying the number one slot in the batting order, in the
Natwest one day series surely could restore the lost prestige that
the Lankans had suffered in the npower Test series on English
is now left to Sanath, the captain of Sri Lanka to guide his
battered and bruised outfit and prove that the Lankans 1996 world
cup triumph is no flash in the pan. The Lankans are clashing with
England and India in the one day series. India romped home victors
against West Indies in West Indies in the recently concluded
seaming English wickets, the batsmen who are fluent one front foot
unfortunately, the majority of the Lankan batsmen are solid on the
back foot, thus their failure to match up to the English willow
fielders had been the result of Lanka’s sorry show in the Test
conditions in England, the selectors on tour must be capable
enough to pick the best out of the available Lankan cricketers in
England I don’t want to go into details, but the Lankan camp at
present are faced with many a problem.
an accountant be a surgeon? Obviously not.
let us hope that for a successful operation in the one-day series
let the specialised surgeons handle the guli and let the
accountant bank the cash if Sri Lanka emerge victors in the
NatWest one day series.
curtain raiser of the Natwest one day series between Sri Lanka and
England, played at Trent Bridge, again proved the factor that the
Lankans cannot hold a candle to the Britishers on any soil.
a sports journalist specialized in cricket, I know why Sri Lanka
is suffering humiliation on English soil.
is an accepted fact that the Lankans possess ample talent in this
gentlemen’s game to clout any nation who boasts to have fathered
a small nation who had proved that they can rule the one day game
by pocketing the 1996 Wills World Cup suffers today, as a result
of silly beggars who even had not held a bat in life.
am not referring to the BCCSL selection committee, but the interim
committee who is instrumental in destroying that golden image that
the Lankans had tattooed after gaining ICC status. Let an
efficient outfit handle a job that is vital for Sri Lanka in the
sports field. Dhel, kadala, bathala, mayokka many be a
palatable breakfast but not in cricket.
will be back in Sri Lanka,
sooner than the scheduled date. Reason, its extremely doubtful
whether the former World Cup champions are capable of entering the
final of the Natwest one day tournament.
this not be another wasted chance at discovering fresh options for
the future. What ever be the fortunes of Jayasuriya’s men in the
on-going one-day tri-nation, the catastrophic consequences of the
Test series against England have raised worrying concerns about
the future. Life without or with half-fit Muralitheran was, as the
recent series proved, a long foot-slog in a desert with no oasis.
Vaas, Zoysa and co., disappointing in conditions they really ought
to have thrived, aren’t match-winners. As well, Aravinda de
Silva and Hashan Tillekeratne showed their playing days are near
rise and fall of teams are inevitable, but there’s unusual
anxiety accompanying Sri Lanka’s descent. Things may not quite
be like the end-of-the-world scenario Arjuna Ranatunga imagines as
he despairs over the lack of suitable successors. The truth,
however, is the team is essentially young. Though de Silva and
Tillekeratne are on the far side time, the other seniors —
Jayasuriya, Atapattu, Muralitheran and Vaas — are yet some years
away from retirement contemplation. Jayasuriya, 34 years, is the
eldest of the seniors. He has a good three playing-years more and
the others, a lot more.
there’s time enough to re-build, but re-building doesn’t mean
merely filling in the holes left by the retirees — probably the
easiest part of the selectors’ job. The more important part is
to build a reservoir of replacements potentially as accomplished
and committed as the regulars. The presence of such a pack,
provided they are given the opportunities to snap at the heels of
the established, creates a competitive environment for selections.
With the demanding schedule modern cricketers have to keep, the
risk of injuries is a continuing one — all the more reason for
having reliable replacements waiting in the wings. As well, there
is the not too insignificant matter of replacing players
hopelessly out of form — something selectors have been reluctant
to do because the replacements themselves didn’t inspire faith
they would succeed. Which is why the likes of Dilshan, Gunewardena,
Nawaz, Chandana, de Saram, Bandaratilleke, Herath have, like
summer storms, come and gone from the national side.
this situation it is easy to ask why things can’t be like what
it is in Australia, whose grassroots enthusiasm is no different to
that of Sri Lanka. But the similarities end there.
Administratively, we run a distant second, thanks to politics, but
the most glaring discrepancy is in the respective domestic
competitions. Australia is blessed with a vastly rich
picking-ground because of its extremely competitive premier
inter-state tournament. It is one heck of struggle to graduate
from club to state level while the crossing to the national side
is doubly more difficult. Suffice it to say that our premier
domestic competition is only at a club level. And the inequalities
of strength among the 16 competing clubs are so pronounced that
the actual fray for honours has been confined to among only half
dozen clubs, mostly from Colombo. But I digress.
bottom line is that our premier domestic competition is a dinosaur
as far as service rendered to national cricket is concerned. It
contributes little to prepare Test cricketers of the future.
Against this backdrop, special emphasis was given to
activating the talents of the fringe players via the Sri Lanka A
team. Three A series were undertaken this year — against the
national Kenyan side, and the second elevens of Pakistan and
India. The likes of Dilshan, Gunewardena, Chananda and co. came to
the fore in these series, but no one new of exceptional promise.
This is not to question the wisdom of exposing the fringe players
to second eleven international competitions; time and more A
series will no doubt bring better results. But the A series of
this year (rain rendered the Indian one meaningless) will be of
little help to tackle the problem of a lack of worthy replacements
in the short term.
quite some fringe players have already won their Test caps
doesn’t make things easier. Dilshan, Gunawardena, Chandana,
Vandort and co. ambitions are about establishing permanency in the
national side, realization of which can come from only playing in
a Test match. That chance is a rarity, except of course if the
opposition is feeble enough to offer the luxury of experimenting
with those in waiting. Bangladesh are the only such
the one-off Test against Bangladesh earlier this year the then
selectors fielded the established line up with the exception of
Michael Vandort. The likes of Jayasuriya, Atapattu, Jayewardene,
Sangakkara, Muralitheran and Vaas proved much too strong, Sri
Lanka winning with much to spare. It reduced Test cricket to a bit
of a joke with more than one Sri Lanka batsmen retiring after
completing centuries. On reflection, greater profit would’ve
accrued had more of the fringe players been given a turn. Not that
any likely outstanding contributions would’ve brought them
permanency. But they would’ve been given a chance to advance
their cause from a Test level — far better than doing the same
from level A. The counter argument would be, had it been a team
laden with fringe players, victory would’ve been less certain
and the historic nine-win streak might not have been.
the new selectors see the two-Test series against Bangladesh
beyond the sole intention of winning it?
Of course, no one would want our team to be defeated by
Test cricket’s newest addition. But do we have to put out all
our best men in quest of success? If we do, that would be like
choosing a blunderbuss to kill a flea, given the disparity of
strengths between the two barely six months ago. There are reasons
however, why the new selectors would resist inclusion of the
fringe players — none more compelling than the need to rid the
hangover of English series. Self-belief, so high before the
English tour, is at floor level. Not that a 2-0 success over
Bangladesh will be an all-curing tonic, but at least the expected
would’ve been delivered. So, there will be the temptation to
include the established line-up, adding to the frustrations of
those in waiting.
an attitude isn’t going to help the future. In the short term,
two replacements for de Silva and Tillekeratne have to be found,
if not for immediate service then certainly as of next year. As
well, the long neglected question of a spin partner for
Muralitheran has to be addressed with the seriousness it demands.
The continuing usage of the ace as the solitary workhorse will
only lead to a depreciation of his future value, something the
country cannot afford. Adding a few more to the bank of medium
pace bowlers would be useful as well.
a Test match label attached, it compels the selectors to pick a
team that wouldn’t give it an impression of a ‘seconds’ —
not quite the ethical thing to do. But neither is it obligatory to
put out the best eleven. A balance titling slightly more on the
fringe players would be beneficial. Compulsory inclusions from the
list of established batsmen would be skipper Jayasuriya and
Sangakkara, both looking to rediscover their form after failures
in the series against England. Assuming the selectors opt for the
customary six batsmen, one in-form player (Jayewardene, Atapattu
or Arnold) could be included, leaving three spots for those on the
fringe. If this is the formula for the two Tests, then, if need
be, six freshers would have the chance to register their names for
future permanency. It would be helpful too if the likes of
uncapped batsmen like Mubarak and Daniel are handed Test caps so
that the right signals will be sent out to the young
and Daniel were key players in the Sri Lanka under 19 team that
finished no.2 in the 2000 Junior World Cup. But whatever happened
to the others, like spinner Lokuaratchchy and allrounder Kaushalya
Weeraratne, who played in a few one-day internationals, was
injured and then not even thought of.
For someone who coached D S de Silva (never the sort to
hand out easy praise) described as the coming Lance Klusner of Sri
Lanka cricket, the all rounder’s consignment to the wilderness
is sad — and hints of flaws in our coaching/development schemes.
Lokuaratchchy was thought of as the most promising young prospect
to partner Muralitheran — two years ago that is. Last year,
playing for the Board President’s eleven against Nasser
Hussein’s England at Moratuwa, the leg spinner from St Peter’s
claimed four wickets and won a place in the squad for the first
Test in Galle. Thilan Samaraweera, an off spinner, was preferred
for the playing eleven — and given just seven overs in the
entire match. Samaraweera is now a virtually established Test
player, though not as partner to Muralitheran. Ironically,
Samaraweera is the seventh batsman as a precaution against the
failure of the top order. Lokuaratchchy, like Weeraratne,
meanwhile resides in the forgotten world — not good enough even
to play against Kenya.
two years ago our juniors were second best in the world, it is
rather mysterious why a rich supply of emerging players is not
surfacing at the national level. The clues to this mystery are
likely to be found not so much in the paucity of talent as an
administration that is so be-devilled by politics and politicians
that matters concerning cricket have become secondary. Sadly, the
fine cricketing around here are treated with much the same respect
as pearls are by swine.
Board sponsors Busan ruggerites
Tea Board have confirmed the sponsorship deal with the Sri Lanka
Rugby Football Union to look after the interests of the national
rugby team at the 14th Asian Games to be held from 29 September to
15 October 2002 in Busan, Korea.
sporting gesture initiated at the instance of the Minister of
Plantations, Lakshman Kiriella has thus brought in rupees one
million five hundred thousand (Rs. 1,500,000/-) for a union
running on a tight budget, to release itself of its burden of
finding the finances to feature a national side at the biggest
sporting event in the region.
secretary of the S.L.R.F.U. Group, Capt Nalin. De Silva commenting
on the obtainment of this sponsorship was a grateful man and
thanked the Tea Board for making a contribution of this nature and
showing interest in being involved with rugby football in this
Silva speaking to the Sunday Leader sports desk expressed
the mode of expending these monies in building up a squad for the
preparational work before leaving for the games is vital and the
squad has to be put through a residential camp. Then comes the
aspects of nourishment, medicine, insurance etc, all of which
costs would have to be essentially borne by the union if not for
this commitment by the Ceylon Tea Board which falls under the
purview of the ministry of plantations. No doubt that the sponsors
would also benefit by the promotional work involved in an event of
this magnitude.” De Silva also said that only accommodation and
meals would be met by the Games organisers. This sponsorship will
cover up most of the expenses and is a real booster for us (the
union) and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the
Ceylon Tea Board for their contribution on behalf of the Sri Lanka
Rugby Football Union, concluded the secretary.
Lanka will be finding two teams, namely a “Fifteen-A-Side” and
a “Seven-A-Side” team each at the Asian Games. The squad will
comprise 26 players and four officials. This sponsorship means
that the jerseys worn by the national players during the games
will carry the Tea Board logo on the left hand sleeve.
De Alwis, Director Ceylon Tea Board commented that this
involvement with the national rugby team for the Asian Games was a
manoeuvre which has succeeded purely due to the efforts of
Minister Kiriella (whose good deeds during his reign as the top
man in the sports ministry needs no explanation), an ardent
follower of the game of rugby football. He further said that they
were planning to negotiate a similar agreement for the Rugby Asiad
scheduled to take place in the first week of November this year.
news undoubtedly is an encouraging factor for the game of rugby
football in this country, which still attracts tremendous
spectator interest despite declining standards of performances and