World Cup 2003 in South Africa - Gamini Senadhira Reports
a lavish ceremony, the curtain of the cricket World Cup 2003,
was raised in Newlands in South Africa yesterday, amidst a large
and a distinguished gathering. Fourteen nations will vie for
honours in this year's competition. The host, South Africa and
West Indies will step into the arena in Newlands, today, to open
the battle that will last up to March 23, the day of the grand
final in Johannesberg.
Lankan fans, surely must be waiting anxiously to see the dawn of
tomorrow, the day that their warriors step out for their first
battle in this super show.
the Lankan skipper, Sanath Jayasuriya be able to resurrect his clan
and infuse with new vim, vigour, and vitality to beat New Zealand at
Bloemfontein tommorow? As I have written in my last Sunday's article,
under the heading "Make the Corpse Walk," Jayasuriya is one
person who is more than capable of making the Sri Lankans the 'Born
again' heroes. Their chances of getting through to the next round the
'Super Six,' depends largely on tomorrow's result against New Zealand.
If they can outclass the Kiwis tomorrow, they are virtually through to
the 'Super Six.'
group A, the Lankans are billed to fight against New Zealand, West
Indies, Bangladesh, Kenya, Canada and South Africa in the first round.
Assuming that they have an easy passage with Bangladesh, Kenya and
Canada, a victory either with New Zealand, West Indies or South Africa
is a must, if they are to find a berth in the ' Super Six."
Zealand may have been easy meat for the Lankans a few months back. But
taking into account, their recent miserable performance in the South
African and the Australian soil, and comparing that with the brilliant
show by the Kiwis against India in the Test and the one day series
concluded last month, one obviously will find it difficult to put much
faith on the Lankans to be the favourites in tomorrow's game.
a flamboyant knock from the Lankan captain, certainly will tip the
scale in favour of Sri Lanka. Technically sound opener, Marvan
Atapattu and Aravinda de Silva too can be match winners for them in
case of Jayasuriya's failure to click with an exciting innings.
Sri Lanka win the toss and elect to take the first lease of the
wicket, of course depending on its condition, they must aim at a score
of over 250 runs. The poor touch shown by Mahela Jayawardena and
Russel Arnold in South Africa and Australia, without doubt, must be a
dark cloud hovering over the Lankan camp on the eve of their first
and Arnold too are classy willow wielders to watch, when in full
swing, especially Jayawardena, who possesses an array of fluent
strokes all round the wicket. It will be a big boon for the Lankans,
if Jayawardena finds his true touch.
Lankans' fielding too must return to their earlier standard, if they
are to come up with an impressive act. A vital catch dropped, surely
will spell disaster.
pace section, though mediocre on fast tracks with considerable bounce,
could reap a reasonable harvest, if they maintain a strict line and
length and also be extremely cautious and refrain from bowling too
many no balls and wides, especially, Dilhara Fernando. Barring Muttiah
Muralitharan, currently the best spinner in the world without
question, the Lankan bowling department will not be capable enough to
give any jitters to many a world's high calibre batsman that they will
be bowling at. It will be most advisable for the Lankan tour selectors
to opt for seven regular batsmen and play only three seamers and their
regular spinning wizard, Muralitharan. Skipper, Sanath Jayasuriya is
more than capable of giving Muralitharan ample support as the second
spinner. He had proved himself as an effective left arm spinner with
over 200 wickets to his credit in the 50 overs game.
must make it a point to bowl his 10 overs. Aravinda de Silva and
Russel Arnold can come in between to support the spin department, if
the pace trio is handled with scant respect. The Lankans definitely
will be able to dictate terms to any strong outfit if they put up a
New Zealand, the Lankans will find a tough opponent to deal with.
Kiwis lethal four pronged pace attack, comprising Shane Bond, Jacob
Oram, Daryl Tuffey and Chris Cairns, truly will be effective on hard
South African wickets. Their batting too has depth, with skipper
Stephen Fleming, Nathan Astle, Matthew Sinclair, Craig McMillan, Chris
Harris and hard hitting Chris Cairns to collect a bag full of runs.
former Sri Lanka captain, who too was the manager of the Lankan squad
that clinched the Wills World Cup in 1996, and the present consultant,
Duleep Mendis in a chat with The Sunday Leader in South Africa said,
that Sanath Jayasuriya and the rest are determined to come on top in
their first clash and prove their worth to the Lankan fans and
disprove their notion about them being Shylocks. Best of luck.
chief's job gets tougher
AGM of the SLRFU on Saturday week will decide in whose hands the reins
of rugby should be vested for 2003-04. The candidates for office have
yet to be unveiled, but this is certain: incumbent President Cdr.
Harsha Mayadunne's job is up for grabs.
two years under Cdr. Mayadunne's stewardship might not have been
memorably successful, but then it hasn't been during the terms of some
past regimes either. If there's an impression, however, that things
got worse over the past two years it is as much due to lacklustre
administration as the continuation of a decline that began in the mid
90s. Successive administrations have clearly failed to arrest the
slide. To be fair though, there's little any administration could have
done. After all, as demands of professionalism grow, resources
available to successive administrations have not increased. Many past
administrators have spent the best part of their time walking the
corporate world, cap in hand. The difficulties aren't going to be any
less for Cdr. Mayadunne's successor.
main tasks will remain the same, as it had been for Cdr. Mayadunne
when he assumed office in 2000 and Anton Benedict before him, in 1998.
If anything the task of regaining the game's past popularity is going
to be even more difficult. For close to a decade the public
indifference has grown; average attendance once counted between 5000
-8000; now the numbers are in 100s. What this means is, the habit of
going to a rugby match _ once an obsession _ is lost. Making rugby a
habit with the public again is tougher than it had been, say, a decade
ago with a lot more things competing for your leisure time.
is a shrinking market, and in the battle for a share of it, television
is a tough rival to beat. Cricket's success has ensured its quota of
heads. But sadly for rugby, given a head count, it is likely to finish
a distant second to the attractions of Colombo's shopping mall. So,
the next SLRFU boss will have to have the business acumen of a
corporate CEO, the cunning of a successful salesman and the creativity
of an ad-man to convert rugby's 100s into 1000s again.
declining fortunes in international rugby have gone to only compound
the SLRFU's problems. Because of the considerable success achieved by
Sri Lanka in international cricket, the public tends to measure other
sports by their international attainments. If those achievements don't
measure up, and rugby hasn't, then the public deems it dispensable;
rugby's decreasing numbers is a reflection of that rejection. The
message: if we can't be proud of our sport, then we don't want to be a
part of it.
there's precious little to be proud of Sri Lanka rugby, except of
course its history. According
to that admirable historian, Neil Wijeratne, the first rugby match on
Sri Lanka soil was in 1879. The rugby union, founded in 1908, is one
of Asia's oldest, if not the oldest. These make for a revered
heritage. But this reverence is now lost in cynicism.
If you've been that long in rugby, why is that you are at the
bottom of Asian rugby, one might ask. At the 2000 Asiad, Sri Lanka
finished last, while China, whose introduction to rugby was in the
mid-90s. finished fifth best out of eight. At the 2002 Asiad,
Thailand, a country we've defeated more often than they have us,
thrashed us by over 70 points.
our first appearance at the Asiad back in 1970 we haven't experienced
a more humiliating defeat. The cause partly was due to a few key
players from the champion club, Kandy SC, rejecting national duty. Now
there's another problem for Cdr. Mayadunne's successor _ how to compel
players to represent the country when players are bound to contractual
obligations that preserve the interest of the employing clubs. Some
half dozen players who ignored the national call-up for the last Asiad
went unpunished _ without so much as even a reprimand from the union.
A dangerous precedent has been set. The new administration will have
to lay down the law, ensuring that it's the union, not the club
paymaster, who calls the tune as far as national representation is
concerned. Not easy to lay down, given that we live in times of
salaried players _ and employers are kings. This is stupid really _
having to legislate patriotism. Rugby administration is no bed of
man widely predicted to try and grapple with these enormous problems
is D M Balasuriya. A bit about 'Bala's' playing days, first.
It is said that if man were manufactured, not born, then Bala
was made on the anvil of a blacksmith. He exemplified all the hard
truths of rugby during his playing days, from the late 60s through to
the early 80s, at Trinity, Kandy SC, CR&FC, Air Force and Sri
Lanka. He wasn't the type to take a backward step, and a willing
participant in situations that require fire to fight fire. Just as
much he didn't cower on the field, off it too, he would passionately _
and boisterously _ argue for what he believes. He might well be the
right man _ a toughie to take on rugby's tough problems. Time will
decide whether he'll be given the job.
himself isn't assuming anything. ''It is up to the membership to
decide if they want me or not. Who ever is chosen, he'll be expected
to do one hell of a job, and sometimes I ask myself do I really want
this. But the game is in crisis and I honestly feel I can contribute
to help its recovery. It is premature to speak of my plans, but it
encompasses ways to jump-start the domestic tournament in the short
term, and long term targets such as the 2006 Asiad," said
plans to give fresh life to the moribund domestic tournament will make
interesting reading. It is no secret that professionalism has reduced
all clubs to near penury, bar Kandy SC, whose insulation from
financial woes is due as much to the generous hand of Malik
Samarawickrema as the professional way the club is administered.
Colombo's clubs are yet to cross the bridge to professionalism,
and this is reflected in the domestic tournaments, which have been
overwhelmingly dominated by Kandy SC, who made the crossing seasons
ago. The imbalance between Kandy and the rest clearly isn't doing the
domestic competitions any good. It
is hard to see what Balasuriya can prescribe to a problem that
essentially is for the Colombo clubs to resolve themselves. And the
solution has more to do with marketing than rugby.
Survival in the world of professional sport is dependent on
corporate sponsorship. And companies have long dropped the habit of
giving one-off handouts. Sport sponsorship is an investment _ and
their investments in rugby can come only if clubs place feasible
business proposals before them.
is not likely that Colombo clubs are unaware of what they have to do
in the New World. But then mercantile disinterest to rugby is
understandable given its poverty of public appeal. Whatever measly
sponsorship deals clubs obtain are more out of altruism than for
investment reasons. This is an old problem that is yet looking for a
solution. One solution would be assistance from the union but
Balasuriya is not likely to prescribe this simply because the union
too is broke.
strongly believes that foreign players could do the trick - that the
crowds will return to populate the stands, the clubs' empty coffers
will fill up and everything will be tickityboo.
Whether foreign players is the best thing for lifting standards
of local rugby can be argued till the cows come home _ with the for
and against camps unconvinced by the opposite view.
Going back to why the door closed on them in the early 90s
would be useful. Because:
local players were denied the opportunity to develop skills,
especially in key positions
these overseas players were not eligible for national selections,
which meant their local substitutes, without the desired experience,
were found woefully inadequate to represent the country, naturally
3/clubs couldn't afford them.
course, the counter argument would be that exposure of local players
to the foreigners prepares them better for international matches. The
last experience with foreign players wasn't exactly revealing. Few if
none had represented their countries. Most were club level players and
could not have contributed significantly to the cause of upgrading
local rugby. Said simply they were brought out because of their bigger
bodies, required to meet the demands of the newly fashionable mauling
rugby. More importantly,
they were cheap.
they were given a one-way ticket back home in the early 90s, the
financial constraints endured by clubs were not half as restrictive as
now. From where clubs can find money to pay for overseas players at
this time of difficulty is... well, for the gods to show.
So, if it were going to be open sesame for the foreigners under
the new boss man, it would be advisable to consult the clubs first.
With no sign of match-attendance increasing in the near future,
foreign players is an unaffordable luxury.
is a tough job. Perhaps, anvil's product could be the right man.
''I'll give it my best shot if I am the chosen one," says
Balasuriya. In giving his best shot, hopefully, things don't go to
smithereens. The job is tough - and delicate too.
in confident mood
City boss Kevin Keegan takes his team to Manchester United today
confidently predicting there will be no defeatist talk among
his side's 3-1 triumph at Maine Road in November, Keegan is bidding to
become the first City boss to record a derby double for 33 years.
City fans must trawl back to 1974 for the last time their side
won a game at Old Trafford, although Denis Law's cheeky back-heel will
be remembered by both sets of supporters as the goal which sent United
into Division Two.
while Keegan is not rash enough to state his team will definitely win,
they will not lose because of any lack of self-belief.
the last 20 years, I'm not sure how many times City have gone to Old
Trafford knowing they could give United a game," he told.
it's like `we don't want to get beaten too heavily' and things have
had to work out for them. "We
all know it is a tough place to go but the players can look forward to
it because they know if we find the same level of commitment and
performance we found at Maine Road we will give them a game."
super league cricket
premier Super Leage cricket encounters which commenced on Friday were
curtailed due to bad weather, experienced in Colombo. The following
are the chief scores at the end of day one.
1st innings 249 for 8 wickets at close in 77.4 over
Mendis 17, S. Silva 43, M. Warnapura 59, C. Handunettige 21, C.
Jayasinghe 32, V. Waragoda 46 n.o. S. Kelum 2 for 71, L. Dias 2 for 29
R. Dias 2 for 45) vs Tamil Union
1st innings 261 all out in 72.4 over
Vandort 24, D. Hunukumbura 23, L. de Silva 80, H. Boteju 41, I.
Gallage 34, T. Thusara 5 for 60)
1st innings 21 for 1 wicket at close in 6.2 overs (J. Jayasuriya 15
Colts grounds, Havelock Park
1st innings 237 all out in 64.5 overs
Fernando 37, M. Pushpakumara 39, D. Liyanage 62, E. Upashantha 36, S.
de Silva 3 for 53, D. Lokuhettige 2 for 45, P. Wanasinghe 2 for 52)
CC 1st innings 38 for 1 wicket at close in 13 overs (D. Sudharshana
12, P. Buddika 16 n.o.)
1st innings 191 all out in 65.2 overs
Perera 37, T. Kandambi 66, K. Dharmasena 17, K. Lokuarachchi 21, L.
Weerasinghe 11, N. Zoysa 5 for 42, R. Perera 2 for 44, D.
Hettiarachchi 2 for 33)
exchanges at B'pitiya
College having been sent into bat after a late start owing to a wet
outfield did well to score 202 runs in their first innings in a
Lemonade inter school cricket fixture which commenced on Friday
against St. Peter's College at Bambalapitiya.
Royal College 1st innings 202 all out (D. Siriwardena 38, G. Ratnayake
34, R. Wijeratne 15, D. de Saram 33, D. Edussuriya 21, S. Wijetunge 2
for 23, H. Nanayakkara 4 for 40 S. Gallage 2 for 56
Peter's College 1st innings 0 for 1 at close
weather - a spoiler
Moratuwa the inter-school encounter between Prince of Wales College
and Richmond College, Galle was curtailed due to a wet outfield and
Richmond 1st innings 108 for 5 wickets at close (S. Madhtharanga 50,
S. Ratnayake 21
hosts junior int. for 20th year
Sri Lanka Tennis Association will stage its 20th successive
International Junior Championship from Feb 10 to 16 on the National
Tennis Courts at Green Path.
annual event, first staged in 1983, is an ITF recognized tournament,
which means it counts for world ranking points. Consequently, the
tournament has attracted entries from far as the USA, Australia and
Germany as well as Chinese Taipei, Singapore, Thailand, Ukraine,
Uzbekistan, Maldives and India. The boys' singles has attracted 55
players, including 23 Sri Lankans, while the girls' event has 32
entries, 10 from Sri Lanka. The main draw will have 32 players.
Additionally, the doubles for boys and girls too have been included.
Colombo event is gaining in stature, especially with a few of its
participants making waves in the ATP circuit. Thailand's Padakon, in
the world's top ten, played here in the late 90s while Wimbledon
doubles champions, Paes and Bhupathy of India too figured here in the
host nation the SLTA has taken maximum advantage by fielding a full
complement of players. ''We have not only included our top players,
but also the emerging ones so that they too get the feel of the
competition at the highest level," says Suresh Subramaniam,
president of the SLTA. ''To be champions, experience is indispensable
_ and it is SLTA policy to give as much international experience as
the 23 Sri Lankan boys entered for the singles, 10 will get direct
entry to the main draw, while 13 will play in the qualifying round for
four places in the main draw. As well, four wild card entries are
available for disbursement to players of the organizers' choice.
The qualifying round will be held on Feb 8 and 9 at the SLTA.
The girls' singles has 32 entries and so will no require a qualifying
overseas boys' players to be taken note of are India's Chatwinder
Singh and Japan's Isubara Morizane.
The Indian, 96th in the ITF world junior rankings, will be the
highest ranked on show while the Japanese, ranked 280th, is next best.
Sri Lankans Harshana Godamanne (311th) and Amrith Rupasinghe (386th)
are to be seeded by virtue of having the third and fifth best rankings
respectively in the lineup. Among the other top Sri Lankan juniors in
the fray are, national champion Franklyn Emmanuel and Oshada Wijemanne,
who won the ITF under 18 singles title in Pakistan last year, as did
Rupasinghe in the ITF under 18 tournament in Colombo.
Marutha Devi, 256th in the ITF junior world rankings, heads the girls'
field, followed by Kate Polunina of Ukraine (364th).
Sri Lankans Jancy Paramanathan (567th), Nawchali de Silva
(802nd) and Mahesha Seneviratne (949th) have the eighth, ninth and
tenth best ranking respectively in the lineup, but with the advantage
of playing in home conditions, the trio are expected to make better
impressions than their rankings would suggest.
concluded the ITF under 14 South Asian tournament last Wednesday and
this tournament will be only the second of the eight internationals
the SLTA will be hosting this year. We are getting valuable experience
before staging the bigger events like the Davis Cup and the three
$10,000 tournaments," says SLTA CEO Boshan Dayaratne.
Lankan Satellite badminton tournament 2003
Srilankan Satellite Badminton Tournament is scheduled to be held
during the period 26 February to 1 March at the Royal College sports
Satellite is an event of the International Badminton Federation and
the Asian Badminton Confederation Tournament calendar for the year
event is open to international participation and the Srilankan
Badminton Association expects around 10 countries to enter for this
tournament. The SLBA has received positive indication of participation
from Japan, Taiwan, India Pakistan and Maldives.
for this tournament are scheduled to close on the 10 February 2003 and
is expected to have around 50 foreign participants.
tournament will comprise mens & womens singles, mens doubles and
total of US$ 5000 is to be given as prize money
Wijesinghe will officiate as chief referee.
details may be obtained from Nishanka Abeywardana, event co- ordinator