Sri Lanka aims for Davis Cup Group 3 promotion amid 50th year
chance to climb back up
M K Samat
that needs to be laid out for a golden jubilee bash has been done. The
Green Path home of SLTA, which celebrates 50 years of Davis Cup
participation, has been dusted up, repainted and redone at a cost of
Rs.1.5million. Minister G L Pieris is to grace the celebratory dinner
tomorrow at the King’s Court ballroom of Trans Asia Hotel, where
some 70 past Davis Cup representatives will have 14-carat gold pins
affixed to the lapel of their blazers. And just so the whole world may
know of these happenings, the organizers have secured the country’s
oldest newspaper publishing house to be media sponsor of this gala.
there’s one thing that might yet spoil the party: failure on the
court. The centrepiece of the celebrations, of course, is the
eight-nation Group 4 Davis Cup (Asia-Oceania) tournament, Wednesday
through to Sunday. And Sri Lanka has set its sights on finishing no. 1
or 2 and so graduate to Group Three next year. For a country that
spent life in Group Two in 1996, its’ standing as a lowly Group 4
competitor since 2000 has been hard to live down. ‘’It is
unfortunate we are celebrating this Golden Jubilee as a Group 4
country. But then it is a good starting point to climb back to the
top,” SLTA president Suresh Subramaniam told a press conference
Wednesday night. ‘’Obviously we will want to win (next week) and
give some significance to our 50 years of Davis Cup tennis.”
Gunasekera, the non-playing captain, is hopeful the off-court
celebrations would not have been in vain. ‘’ I can’t recall of a
team better prepared than this one. All of them are extremely
committed to the cause of promotion and have worked exceptionally
hard. I am confident we can deliver what is expected of us,” said
Gunasekera, a Davis Cup representative in 1992 and ’93.
makes this year’s preparation more complete than any previous one
was the drafting of two classy players from India into the Sri Lanka
squad. Vijey and Kamala Kannan, ranked third and eleventh in India,
served as sparring partners for the four-member team. ‘’If you
consider that India is in the World Group (of Davis Cup along with
countries like the US, Australia and Russia) then their no. 3 and 11
are no mean players,” said Gunasekera, adding that his players
played the Indians in simulated matches for nearly a month.
is the first time the SLTA threw in foreign players into the
preparations, an expensive exercise costing $1,600 as payment to the
Kannans, no brothers. ‘’It was costly, but necessary. The
improvement from of our players training among themselves is limited.
What is required is for them to achieve new levels before the
competition,” said SLTA president Suresh Subramaniam. ‘’In fact,
Rajiv (Rajapakse) go to another plateau, eventually defeating Kamala.
There’s no reason to doubt the improvement will show in
coach Arul Amalnathan was optimistic that the month-long experience of
playing against the quality Indian duo as well as months of committed
training will impact positively during the four-day competition.
‘’Playing in home conditions will be a tremendous advantage. Most
of the foreign players are bred on hard courts and could be
uncomfortable on our clay courts. Even without that advantage I think
we still look a winning team because the preparations have been as
thorough as it can be,” said Amalnathan.
squad is a promising mix of experience and youth, unlike like last
year’s youth-filled squad. ‘’Last year’s lot was young and
talented but lacked the experience, especially when things ran close.
Rohan (de Silva) and Rajiv (Rajapakse) lends that experience this
year,” said Amalnathan.
de Silva, 31, is veteran of nine Davis Cup ties, making his debut in
1989. He was a member of the 1996 team that played against Iran in a
Group Two tie, as did Rajiv Rajapakse, 25, who also was in the Davis
Cup tie of 1998, in Malaysia and 2002, in Bangladesh. Schoolboys
Harshana Godamanne, 17, and Franklin Emmanuel, 15, inclusions aren’t
incentive baits for future’s sake. They have solid claims of their
own: Godamanne won the ITF world ranking Junior under 18 title in
Pakistan last year and Emmanuel, at 14 became Sri Lanka’s youngest
National Men’s Singles champion last year.
this quartet of players who can make or break the golden jubilee
Quattro Cup golf tourney
The Royal Colombo Golf Club (RCGC) proudly announces the highly
prestigious AUDI QUATTRO CUP competition in association with Senok
Automobiles Limited on Sunday, June 15.
Automobiles Private Limited is the vehicle marketing arm and a fully
owned subsidiary of Senok Trade Combine Limited. Senok Automobiles was
inaugurated in April 1997 to market one of Germany’s highly valued
motorcars - Audi. Audi’s deep involvement in international golf is
non officially designatied AUDI GOLF SPORT, with specially developed
corporate design and distinctive livery.
will be in accordance with the official golf rules, including amateur
statutes, of the National Golf Association and of RCGC, the hosting
maximum handicaps are - 28.0 for individual players and a cumulative
handicap of - 18 for teams. Minimum age is 18 years and the
competition committee will make all final rule decisions.
will take place according to the Greensome method according to
Stableford, over 18 holes wherein two players play as partners, each
playing from the teeing ground. After the first shot partners select
the ball with which they wish to score and play that ball alternately
to complete the hole. The reckoning in Stableford competitions is made
by points awarded in relation to a fixed score (net par) at each hole.
Automobiles Private Limited sponsors all prizes for the Audi Quattro
Cup Golf tournament and the winning team of two players will each
receive a return airline ticket (business class) to Johannesburg to
participate in the Audi Quattro Cup World Finals. In addition,
winners, who are Audi owners, will be entitled to two free services
with oil change.
for the local Audi Quattro Cup Golf Sport event close at 6.00 pm on
Thursday, June 12, and will be confined to a maximum of 200
competitors strictly on a first come first serve basis.
best players of the 2003 Audi Quattro Cup World Final will get
together from October 26 to 30 in Sun City, South Africa. The finals
will be played at the Gary Player Country Club course and all
participants and country representatives will stay at the fabulous
Lost Palace Resort. This year again Global Golf Consulting, Chester
Fabricius will be in charge for coordinating this event. The web page
http://www.audiworldfinal.com with all important information about
this year’s World final will be on line by June 15.
times after Barbados bash
M K Samat
last Saturday and Sunday might be quite some distance short of the
pinnacle of ‘96 in Lahore, but the successive successes at
Kensington Oval have to rank as the best of the rest. The weekend
deeds merit this special place not so much because of the triumphant
endings as for the astonishing manner they were attained, both from
virtual death zones. On both days, between innings, any thoughts of
Atapattu’s men winning seemed to belong to the realms of fiction.
But enthrallingly fiction was converted to fact. And cricket walked
through a wonderland Saturday and Sunday.
the series wrapped in the quickest manner possible, the Sri Lankans
tour of the Caribbean, after the excitement of Australians’ visit,
no longer looks a prospect as disheartening as the morning after the
ball. A team restricted to 201 and yet winning handsomely by 55 runs
and then on the next day, riotously advancing to 315 runs and victory
in the final over, after all, has to be seen as an opposition capable
of contributing its share to making some exciting competition. The
pre-tour prognosis of Sri Lanka’s impending challenge had not been
as respectful as that, and not without good reasons.
West Indies had galloped past World Champion, Australia, thrice
successively not many days ago _ and the final Test too was taken by
the host not long before. All this, justifiably, gave rise to the
belief that Lara’s team had begun a journey to take Caribbean
cricket back to its golden age. It was an age that dawned in the 1950s
under Frank Worrell, was sustained by Sir Garfield Sobers and Clive
Lloyds’ teams and ended in the 90s under after the reign of the
commanding Vivian Richards.
late Sri Lanka apparently was heading down the same road that the West
Indies seemingly had left behind. The retirement of Aravinda de Silva
this year and Ranatunga two seasons ago and the fruitless search for
worthy replacements seemed to point to a long spell of rebuilding _
through more reversals than triumphs, inevitably. The chinks were
beginning to show at the last World Cup, albeit semifinal
qualification, an achievement that most thought was an exaggeration of
their true strength. That judgement was given some credence no sooner
than the World Cup ended. Ousted by Zimbabwe for a place in the
Sharjah final last April and the failure for the first time to win a
place in the final of a home triangular last month, the team looked
sapped and weakened, of mind and body. There were other dislocations
too: captain Jayasuriya had abdicated and coach Whatmore was shown the
it was excusable if the West Indies assumed the three-match one-day
series and the two Tests against Sri Lanka was to be no more that a
comfortable reassertion of their growing supremacy in world cricket.
Lara didn’t quite say it with that sort of clarity. But his mention
of wanting to continue with the team’s winning trend after the
successes against the Aussies pretty much said he was confident that
the team would deliver what was expected of them.
Atapatu wasn’t prepared to think his team as cannon fodder, though,
with a non-delivering middle order, it team looked to be just that. If
he had little to clutch on to, he clung on to faith in his men’s
ability. ‘’We are in a desperate situation to get runs. This is a
great batting line up (with) enough and more talent. It’s just that
we have to put things together and perform,” he said, showing
maturity deserving of leadership. And he viewed the tour as a mission
to rediscover the winning ways and arrest the slide. He sealed the
one-day series even before it was over and has given Test captain
Hashan Tillekeratne a team with confidence and spirit as high as it
course, it would be foolish to presume that all of the concerns are
behind. It is well to note that the architects of the weekend triumphs
are old hands, the ever-reliable Muralitheran and Upul Chandana. Which
means those capable of filling the shoes of the likes Aravinda de
Silva and Ranatunga have yet to appear on the horizon. Equally
worrying, the returns on the investments on the likes of Jayewardene,
Sangakkara and Arnold haven’t been adequately consistent to give the
team the desired solidity. One-day is quite another trade and, though
the weekend’s come-from-behind wins will doubtlessly lift
confidence, just how we perform in the two Tests (on June 20-24 and
June 27-July 1) will be a truer reflection of the future. For the time
being though, there’s no harm in drinking deep from last weekend’s
cup of joy, notwithstanding Wednesday’s inconsequential defeat.
has been Muralitheran’s constant companion. But Chandana’s
storming of the spotlight had more than one reason to be delighted
about. It not only brought an improbable victory, but also requital
for all the injustices this pencil-slim allrounder has endured. The
last unkind blow dealt on him was to be told to pack up and return
home while yet collecting the bouquets for his Sunday magnificence.
can be argued that Chandana isn’t as well equipped for Tests as he
is for the one-dayers. But it will be recalled that Tillekeratne, on
the strength of his century on the tour of South Africa last year, was
included for the one-day series that followed. He was initially kept
out of one-day duty because his obduracy was thought to be a hindrance
in the shorter game. His inclusion was more a reward and he went on to
play in the triangular in Australia, then the World Cup and then
chosen Test captain. Of course, it was a different set of selectors
who rewrote his destiny. But that doesn’t absolve selection
committees, including this one, of the crime of treating some players
more kindly than others. Chandana somehow isn’t one among the some,
with the previous and present selectors.
hindsight, Sri Lanka’s last World campaign wouldn’t have suffered
one bit had the then selectors preferred Chandana to anyone of the
many who ended up only bench- warmers.
it’s on to the Tests. What awaits Sri Lanka here? For sure, a West
Indies hell bent on making amends for the one-day loss. Equally, Sri
Lanka will go to battle with their confidence on a high, certainly for
the first Test. The state of mind for the second, however, will be
determined by the fortunes or the lack them, of the first.
optimism and the practicalities of Test cricket are two different
things. It is not an exaggeration to think that our bowlers will be
subject to long, hard labour countering Lara and co. If lesser sweat
is to be shed will largely depend on Vaas and Muralitheran, as was the
case in the one-day series, though Lokuaratchchi, hopefully, will
emerge. It is safe to say that our batting will decide much of our
fate, and the worries here are far from over. All of them, however,
showed signs of finally rediscovering their touch on Sunday, though,
consistency has yet to come accompanied by a guarantee card, as the
third one-day bore out. For some while, the team has rode on solitary
efforts of Jayasuriya or Attapatu or skpper Tillkeratne. A collective
effort is long over due and the lack of significant contributions from
Jayewardene, Sangakkara and Arnold have been at the root of the
instability. Not surprising, the selectors ran out of patience with
Arnold and discarded him from this series.
last weekend is to be more than momentary euphoria, then the batsmen
better put big runs on the board _ without which Test matches cannot
we turned the corner with new president, coach and a win?
The Sri Lankans ended a barren run by beating the currently
high-riding West Indians in their own patch and have good reason to
celebrate, bagging the Cable and Wireless Trophy. Losing a series to
Sri Lanka hard on the heels of having inflicted a hat-trick of ODI
defeats to the mighty Australians must indeed be a bitter pill for
Lara and his young team. Poor fielding and wilting under pressure at
crucial times, the usual errors made by losing sides, certainly
contributed to their predicament.
On the other hand, there were professional performances by the
Sri Lankans, and skipper Atapattu must indeed be a relieved man.
Mahela Jayawardena too registered a half-century, though for a losing
cause, after 18 games. It was also refreshing to note that Upul
Chandana posted a match-winning innings of 89 runs off 71 balls, his
third One-Day fifty in his career of 105 games. However, using
Chandana as an occasional pinch-hitter, when the need arises, may be a
wiser strategy than trying to use a player whose One-day batting
average is a mere 16.6 runs as a regular in the early order.
pen-picture of John Dyson
the wake of Sri Lanka having an elected President in Thilanga
Sumathipala, the national team has also now the services of former
Australian right-hand opening batsman, John Dyson, who celebrated his
birthday last Wednesday. Here is a potted background of the new coach
who has experience in handling the New South Wales state side and a
degree in sports psychology.
Dyson, a physical education teacher at Caringbah, New South
Wales, played 30 Tests for Australia and was described as a batsman in
the Boycott mould, and just as former coach Dav Whatmore did, made his
Test debut – against India at Perth in 1977-78 – when the cream of
the Australian players were involved in World Series Cricket. Though
averaging a modest 26.6 runs in Test cricket, he posted a better
figure of 32.8 runs per innings in his career of 29 One-day
Dyson, who made his first-class debut for New South Wales (57
matches) in 1977/78, scored two Test centuries, neither of which
brought victory to his side. In fact, he may be nursing bitter-sweet
memories of the occasion when he made his maiden hundred since the
Test was shrouded in an ignominious loss to Australia. That was during
the Third Cornhill Test at Leeds in the Ashes series of 1981 when
Botham, having been relieved of the captaincy to Brearley, simply
dominated. Australia (401/9 declared – Dyson 102) after having sent
England for a follow-on with a lead of 227 runs, still managed to lose
the Test by 18 runs, thanks mainly to Botham (149*) and Willis (8/43)!
It was only the second time in the history of Test cricket when a side
after having been sent for a follow-on still managed to win. Adding
salt to the Australian wounds was the fact that two of their players,
Lillee and Marsh, were found to have placed bets against their own
side, when the bookmakers offered tempting odds of 500 to 1 for an
England victory after the follow-on was effected. There was not even a
hint of match-fixing of course. It was an instance of punters simply
being unable to resist such tempting odds – with financial benefits
but questionable conduct.
Dyson helped Australia
win the Ashes!
Dyson was, however, personally involved in controversy when he
played his last game, against England, in the final Test during the
1982-83 series at Sydney. After losing the second and third Tests by
the comprehensive margins of 7
and 8 wickets respectively, England had pulled off a nail-biting 3-run
win in the fourth Test at Melbourne and kept the rubber alive at 2-1
before the all-important final Test at Sydney. Winning the toss and
batting, Australia opened with Dyson and Wessels. Off the last ball of
the first over in the game, bowled by England captain Willis, the
bowler appeared to have run Dyson out “by a good eighteen inches”
(Wisden Almanack 1984). However, umpire Mel Johnson
- this was before Third Umpires - ruled Dyson ‘not out’.
This decision had a material effect on the game since Dyson (79) went
on to second top-score in the innings and enabled Australia to draw
the match. Australia thus clinched the series 2-1 and regained the
Ashes they lost by the comprehensive margin of 3-0 to England
captained by Brearley in 1977. Incidentally, the final Test of that
series, staged at the Kennington Oval, spelt the end of the Test
career of Tony Greig, after having played 58 successive Tests for
to support Havelock’s rugby
Mobitel, one of the foremost rugby promoters in the
country has come forward to co-sponsor Havelocks SC rugby team this
The lucrative Mobitel sponsorship will certainly pump
in the much needed financial life blood into Havies, sure to boost
their performance on field by leaps and bounds. The sponsorship
handing over ceremony took place on Saturday, 7 June 2003 at 2 p.m.
at Havelosks Sports Club.
Mobitel CEO Lalith De Silva handed over the
sponsorship cheque to the President of the Havelock’s, Michael
Jayasekara, Others associated with the event were Kapila Sri
Chandrasekara - Chief Marketing Officer of Mobitel, Manju Fernando -
Chief Administration Officer of Mobitel, Kamal Mahendra, Secretary
Havelocks Sports Club.
Mobitel, the official sponsor of the magnificent
Mercantile Rugby Sevens, were most happy to support one of the senior
rugby playing clubs in the country, who always displayed a robust type
of rugby football. Havies have been playing top rugby since 1949 and
have won the Clifford Cup 13 times and President’s Cup 4 times.
College and Museaus College with 96 points emerged joint champions in
the John Tarbat Cup Junior athletic championship meet at Bogambara
Bishop’s College also became the under 12, under 15 age group champion
and overall relay champs at this meet.
Melani Karakaratne (under 12) Gayanga Boteju (Under 13), Nimashini
Cumaranatunge, Nolushi Narhiniarachchi and Hashiri Perera (Under 15)
played an archer role in the Bishop’s College success at this
renowned junior athletic championships.
district shuttle tournament
Applications are being accepted for the
badminton tournament organized by the Northside Badminton Club of
The tournament is limited for the residents for the Kalutrara district
and will be worked off in three categories, Men’s doubles, Women’s
singles & Veterans (over 40 years)
The tournament will get underway at Pasdunrata Education Training College
in Uggalboda, Kalutara on 21 June and applications will close on 18
Applications should be addressed to:
Tournament Committee, Northside Badminton Club, No. 2 Sri Sumangala Road
For more information please call 0777 - 894138 (Indi) or 034 - 26666