govt. must review elected system
parliament's shocking dissolution on February 7, it would've
surprised no one if the same fate befell Sri Lanka Cricket.
After all, the moral right of the present administration to hold
office had been seriously questioned for some months, precisely
since SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala's alleged infringements
of the Immigration and Emigration laws were made public.
So, well before Feb. 7, a strong case had been built for
dissolving Sumathipala's committee and, as done to two of his
previous committees, replace it with an Interim Committee.
the UNF government wouldn't terminate the Sumathipala
administration, as did the previous government did for lesser
reasons, in 1999 and 2001. So, after the night of Feb.7, with
his protectors rendered powerless, it seemed only a question of
time before the present officials would be shown the door. There
was reportedly a move to do just that and appoint Arjuna
Ranatunga as Competent Authority. Nothing has come to pass,
though - and thankfully so.
little doubt that had the present situation presented itself at
a different time the Sumathipala administration would by now
have been unceremoniously evicted from Maitland Place. And in
classic Sri Lankan tradition, the new officials would then busy
themselves searching for any skeletons left in the cupboard by
their predecessors, who, in turn would be talking to lawyers
preparing the ground for a comeback. It's the all-too familiar
post-dissolution pattern we've seen many times before _
emblematic of the political crosscurrent Sri Lanka cricket swims
six-week presence of the Australian cricketers is why a swift
dissolution of SLC didn't follow the ending of UNF rule. This
doesn't mean it wasn't seriously contemplated _ it was, as much
for the harm caused to the good name of SLC by Sumathipala's
alleged misdeeds as to exact political revenge. The old PA, now
the UPFA, is not likely to have forgotten the part Sumathipala
played in toppling their government in 2001. Mercifully though,
knives have not been drawn from scabbards.
could be worse at this point of time than dissolving the
Sumathipala committee. You don't have to have exceptional
insight to foresee the sort of dither a new administration will
be put to, with a six-week tour thrust on them without so much
as a day's notice. It would be the height of optimism to think
the new officials, all appointed no doubt, would've got a
helping hand from their elected predecessors, the ones who had
planned the tour up to the point of execution. If anything,
they'd rather have kept a safe distance from the old lot out of
suspicion of being misled into ridicule. So it was sensible to
allow the Sumathipala administration to see out this tour _ and
spare a new committee the chaos and confusion in executing a
six-week plan they know nothing about.
after the Australians' tour? The future is filled with all sorts
of possibility. But the one that past experience points to as
the most likely outcome looks the least likely. Unlike the
Sumathipala regimes of 1999 and 2001, this one will survive the
full term of a year. After all, it doesn't make any sense to
replace the present regime with an interim committee given that
SLC's AGM must compulsorily be held before the March 31 deadline
- just two days after the Australians' end their tour.
is no secret that a lot will ride on the outcome of the April 2
general elections. The nominations for the SLC elections yet
remain unknown, except that trouble-torn Sumathipala won't be in
the race. But his men will. And that means his influence over
the game will stay intact. One doesn't have to be a Nostradamus
to predict that, if the UPFA wins out, the committee of
Sumathipala's men wouldn't be around for long. More than anyone
else, his friend-turned foe and now UPFA member Arjuna Ranatunga
will ensure that. It would be another story, however, should a
group outside Sumathipala's win control.
But the man's support among clubs is so strong, few doubt
Sumathipala's loyalists would fail in their re-election bids.
That no names other than those from the Sumapthipala camp are
being mentioned as candidates is an acknowledgment that
Sumathipala's clasp on the administration is so vice-like,
challenging him or his men would be an exercise in futility. Ask
however, would be more hopeful should the UNF retain power. It
is his clout with the UNF that safeguards his position at SLC
and SLT during the continuing turbulence. In the event UNF wins
out there's little reason to believe that patronage of
protection won't continue. In that situation, it is not beyond
him to maneuver back as SLC chief. That, after all, is the idea
of packing the SLC, top to bottom, with his men.
such apparent near-future scenarios, you need hardly be reminded
that cricket administration is up to its nostrils in politics.
Clearly, SLC is becoming anything but administrators of cricket.
Increasingly it is beoming a permanent pawn on politics'
chessboard. Whichever government assumes power in April ought to
take a few steps back and see cricket for what it is.
has by far been the country's best image builder. It is Sri
Lanka sport's golden goose, earning huge foreign exchange. It is
self-financing and places no strain on government coffers, as
all other sports do. All this was achieved because it was left
in the hands of people with genuine interest in the game _
until, of course, the World Cup was brought ashore in 1996. Since then the Maitland Place headquarters has been become
the residence of Brutuses. Add to that, successive Sports
Ministers could scarcely keep their paws off the rich and
prestigious SLC. Simply said, cricket administration has gotten
far too politicized for its own good.
temptation of governments to have some sort of control over SLC
is understandable, though inexcusable, given the game has a huge
following. It is fertile ground for politics and votes. But it
is fraught with dangers too. It is obvious that the
extraordinary tolerance UNF showed to the multitude of
allegations against Sumathiapala is not likely to do its
popularity any favours. The then PA Sports Minister, S B
Dissanayake's special treatment of Sumathipala gave the then
government a bad name.
is most depressing is that there doesn't seem to be a way out of
this quagmire. Unless, of course, our cricket hits the pits,
loses its public appeal and coffers get empty. But no one wishes
such a fate to befall on the only thing the country can be proud
of, though, it is one way of removing the cancer of politics.
There are other ways too. The interim committees of Rienzie
Wijeratne and Vijaya Malasekera suggested alternatives, which
this column has dwelt on more than once before.
the root of the excessive politicization is no doubt the elected
system. Things were a lot cleaner in the spacious, calm days
before Test status. The game was administered by generous
benefactors, as there was no money to be had from the game. Only
those genuine to the interests of the game, with time and money
to spare, sought, or persuaded, to office. These days, however,
election to the board means quite another thing: money, London
meetings, business-class travel, in short, the good life. With
such a spread, the invasion of all and sundry is not surprising;
neither is it surprising that the game has had to endure quite
some unholy experiences, including a violent AGM and now
allegations of links with the underworld.
is thus pertinent to ask if the game has benefited from the
elected system. Any claims that it has is more rhetorical than
factual. If it had been, then, cricket administration would not
have been assailed with the unending problems it has, especially
after 1996. But then, any moves to rid the elected system won't
get universal approval, though, there's a good case for
converting SLC into a incorporated company of nine appointed
directors, as recommended by the Malasekera committee. The
Wijetilleke committee suggests that, while retaining the elected
system, it recommends the introduction of a superior body,
consisting of past presidents and Ministry appointees, which the
elected committee would have to answer to.
two interim committee recommendations offer useful food for
thought. The government in power after April 2 is advised to
think afresh on cricket's future. The present system clearly is
flawed. Nor are interim committees the most acceptable. There
are many honest and well-meaning officials who sit on the
outside because the inside is noxious. Without them, cricket
administration will continue to be directed down politics' river
of no return.
plea to end 25 - year hoodoo
'Joe-Pete,' the two prestigious Catholic schools in the country,
will clash, once again in their 70th inter school cricket
encounter at the P.Sara Stadium on 27 and 28 February. The
traditional rivals are meeting once again for the Very
Rev.Fr.Maurice Legoc Memorial trophy, since its inception in
1933. Play will commence on each day at 9.30 a.m.
to head Josephians lead the victory tally with 11 wins to the
Peterites 07 with 51 encounters have been drawn. Some of course
have provided exciting thrilling finishes. The authorities of
both schools in a desperate attempt to end the barrier of the
long spate of drawn encounters, since the Peterite victory in
1978 under the captaincy of Suraj Abeysekera, has introduced
special playing rules, from the year 2000.
by these rules both sides in their respective 1st innings could
bat only upto a maximum of 60 overs, and a minimum of 105 overs
have to be bowled on day one and 110 overs on day two with the
mandatory overs to commence at 4.35 p.m.
The umpires would be very strict on wide deliveries and
on negative tactics. The side batting second could be enforced
to follow-on at the end of the allotted 60 overs if they trail
by 100 runs even with wickets intact.
paper Josephians have a more fancied team, occupying a top
position in the points table in the premier school cricket
Elephant Lemonade trophy tournament having won four of their
matches outright. The Peterites, however, occupy a much lower
position with 3 outright victories.
Unfortunately both teams have been deprived of the
services of two of the most consistent and experienced players.
Peterite skipper and stumper Gihan de Silva and Josephian
key all rounder Angelow Mathew have been picked by the SLC to
represent SL under 19 team for the mini world cup, which is
currently held in Bangladesh.
Dinesh Panditharatna has taken over the reins as the
acting skipper while Dasun Randika is deputising for the skipper
as the reserve wicket keeper.
left arm orthodox leg spinner, the unassuming Sohan Borelessa
captured all 10 Wesley wickets for just 30 runs in 19.3 overs
this season which was an extraordinary bowling feat in the
annals of inter school cricket. An all-10 wicket, haul was
previously taken by Benedictine Lionel Fernando in the late
1950's against St.Anne's Kurunegala. Mahindian skipper Somasiri
Ambawatta also achieved this feat bowling left arm orthodox leg
spin in the big match against Richmond College in the early
50's. It is
pertinent to mention that Lionel Fernando completed an
impeccable double by scoring 204 n.o. while Ambawatta followed
his all ten wicket haul with a ton.
this series of big matches only the celebrated Peterite
cricketer Clive Inman has scored a double hundred.
His hurricane knock of 204 n.o. in 1954 is still the
highest score which is yet to be beaten for five decades.
Another noteworthy feat worth recalling is the twin
centuries made by the Peterite batsman Rohan Buultjens in 1979.
The highest partnership of 219 runs is held by the
Josephian ninth wicket pair of Fred Perera 114 n.o.and D.Arndt
110 as far back in 1934 exactly 69 years ago.
In the long history of this series S.Warnakula of
St.Josephs has recorded the best bowling analysis of nine
wickets for 41 runs in the recent encounter in 1997. In this match Warnakula had a match haul of 14 wickets for
113 runs. In this
long series only 24 batsmen have scored centuries, 14 of them
is regretful to note that even in spite of introducing new
playing rules by the related authorities of both schools, with a
view to producing a result since year 2000, still the spate of
drawn games has continued in the same vein. Hence the captains
of the two teams should deploy positive innovative strategies to
end the 25-year hoodoo of drab drawn encounters at-least in this
year's big match.
Sepang Formula 1 Circuit official test days
hot and humid environment greeted the Porsche Carrera Cup teams
at tne Sepang circuit in Malaysia for the officiai test days of
Carrera Cup 2004. There were 17 cars lined up with their
official sponsor logos and with many exciting designs and
various coiour combinations.
brand new car entered with a cost of Rs. 55 miilion of team IWS
sponsored by IWS Holdings was one of the best looking cars with
blue strips IWS logos and the Sri Lankan flag with the Sri Lanka
Maiagamuwa, the racing driver drove the car on tne track for the
first time and obtaineci a timing of 2.23.528 and returned to
the pits to adjust the technical settings for his requirement.
Thereafter he was in and out of the track completing a total of
thirty four laps for the first day's official test practices
gaining a best time of 2.20.079. The best timing of the day was
2.16.682 of Charies Kwan from Hong Kong who was also last years
Carrera Cup Asia Champion.
day 2 Dilaritha was more confident in handling the car and
further he lowered the suspensions for more groups and still
continued with the previous day's tyres and the morning session
ended with an excellent timing of 2.19.009. The afternoon
session commenced at 9.30 pm and Ditantha was out on the track
with a brand new set of tyres and a very well balanced.,car,
Dilantha ended the fast day's session completieng 14 laps
gaining a best timing of 2.17.832 concluding the second day of
official tests at Sepang.
was the fourth faurest out of the 14 drivers who took part in
the official two days of testing. First race for the season
2004-will be held on 20-21 March together with the Formula 1 at
the Sepang circuit in Malaysia.
Lankans must go for the jugular
22 years ago - 22 February 1982 - should have been the fifth and
final day of Sri Lanka's inaugural Test match, played against
England. Instead, the match was lost on the previous day by 7
wickets when Sri Lanka, in their second innings, lost their last
seven wickets for eight runs off 68 balls. Incidentally, this
game was the last of England skipper Keith Fletcher's 59 Test
appearances and the only victory under his seven-match tenure of
captaincy. Though it is water under the bridge, it still is a
mouth-watering dream if only Sri Lanka, having dominated that
Test, did not lose the grip on the game at the crunch. A win in
the first-ever Test - what a feeling to savour! No doubt
inexperience was the crucial factor that cost Sri Lanka a
well-deserved win. Hopefully, the Sri Lankans are now a hardier
in glass houses
however, the Australians, the best side in the world in both
forms of the game, are our guests and the home team will need a
lot of experience and skill to stall the tourists. As you read
this the first of the five One-day Internationals would already
have been completed at Dambulla. Beating the currently
high-riding Australians is the ultimate for any team. The
advantages Sri Lankans have are home conditions and crowd
support not forgetting of course the absence of the Australian
media that would normally blow/create situations to upset the
morale of any touring team to their country. No wonder
Muralitharan once swore he would never tour Australia. If it is
not about illegal actions they are bound to rake up an issue
concerning the umpiring. They have conveniently forgotten that 'chuckers'
such as Meckiff, Burke, Rorke, Tretheway, Hitchcox et al, and
umpires Mel McInnes, who almost ruined the 1960-61 West Indies
series and Steve Randall, jailed for immoral conduct, are
Australians. People in glass houses should not.
Australian trump card
tourists have an awesome batting line-up capable of scoring at
5-6 runs an over in either forms of the game, and therein is
their trump card. This not only demoralizes the opposition but
also gives enough time for their bowlers to get the opposition
out. The batting potential of the likes of Hayden, Ponting,
Gilchrist, Martyn, Bevan and Symonds makes the prospect of
chasing even a total of 300 plus in a limited-overs game a
distinct possibility. Remember the practice game at Moratuwa the
other day? They chased and overhauled a total of 283 with 5.5
overs to spare after three batsmen had retired! The bowling of
pacemen Lee, Gillespie and Harvey form a lethal trio while Brad
Hogg would provide the specialist spin. Symonds, Clarke and
Bevan are capable of sharing the balance overs. Their fielding,
with skipper Ponting providing the inspiration, has always been
impressive though they did falter a bit against the touring
Indians in the last series when they were unexpectedly put under
for their jugular
lies the answer. The Australians will, as is their wont, attempt
to apply pressure from Day 1 to assert their superiority. Fair
enough. The Sri Lankans, in turn, must fight fire with fire. In
other words, go into each game with a positive frame of mind -
not with only words at press conferences. 'Go for their jugular'
should be the motto. At the end of the recently concluded
Border-Gavaskar series, a patronizing member of the Australian
media asked Indian skipper Ganguly: "Didn't your team
exceed all expectations?" Pat came the answer: "It
depends on whose expectations you are referring to. We had
expected to compete." The Indians were expected to
surrender meekly in the Australian backyard but their feisty
captain showed them the way. For instance, at the end of a
rain-affected Day 1 of the First Test, Australia had built an
imposing total of 262/2. The local media were, as usual, in
their element. One tabloid screamed jubilantly: "Indian
Summer Over". But the Indians hit back tumbling the last 8
Australian wickets for a meagre 61 runs. Then the tourists, in
reply, were in a flat spin themselves at 62/3. That is when
skipper Ganguly (144) pulled them round with an innings of
typical skill and courage under fire enabling the tourists to
gain a first innings lead of 86 runs. The match ended in a draw
but the Indians showed the mettle they were made of, a trait
they displayed right through what must be considered the best
Test series since the Australia vs West Indies series of
1960-61. The Sri Lankans must draw inspiration from the Indians.
That the Australians are a very professional all-round is true
but that they are invincible has been proved a fallacy by the
Indians in the Australian backyard itself.
tourists would have to contend with the enervating heat and
nemesis Muralitharan - as is the international practice - on
slow, turning pitches prepared by the hosts. Unfortunately,
except for the reliable pace of Vaas there is hardly any paceman
and no genuine spinner in support. Haven't you read/heard those
lines before?! We hear a lot about pacemen coming down the
assembly line, however, hardly anyone seems to be partnering
Vaas from the opposite end for too long. Where spinners are
concerned the selectors have continued to be quite happy with
Muralitharan, Muralitharan, Muralitharan, Muralitharan and
yes. Personal abuse, no.
conduct by word, euphemistically termed 'sledging', a practice
specialized by the Australians, is bound to occur and the match
referee will have his hands full. Players need not conduct
themselves as zombies on the field. I am sure the ICC did not
draw up the 'The Preamble - The Spirit of Cricket' in the Laws
of Cricket to prevent players from having a bit of banter. It is
the foul, personal abuse that they are attempting to eradicate;
professionals should not transgress their code of conduct and
thereby bring disrepute to their chosen profession.
Kumara reigns supreme
Lankan Amateur BG. Lalith Kumara turned in a dominating
performance to demolish the promising South African Matthew Kent
in the final of the Eveready 103 rd All India Amateur Golf
Championship, the second oldest golf tournament in the world
after the British Open which concluded at the par - 72 Royal
Calcutta Golf Club recently
25 year old Lalith Kumara was in amazing form, winning by seven
holes with six to spare in the gruelling 36 hole final to
reclaim the premier Amateur title of the region, which he last
won in 2001 at the Chandigrah Golf Club.
making a double bogey, Lalith Kumara was five under for the 30
holes he played at the tough Royal Calcutta lay out. He received
the trophy for the second time in his career from B.M. Kaithan,
Chairman Eveready Industries, the title sponsors of the
is one of the happiest moments of my career. I am very happy to
have regained the title. It is even more satisfying for me
because I have played some very good golf. I expected it to be a
tough fight against Matthew, and he played pretty well. But I
think I played much better today." said the elated Colombo
based played, who plans to turn pro after winning the 2006 Asian
Games Gold Medal for his country.
the morning Kent began in brilliant fashion when he drilled his
second shot to less than three for a birdie on the opening hole
to go one- up. But that advantage was negated on the very next
hole, the par - 3 where Lalith Kumara sank his ten - feet birdie
putt to restore parity.
halved the third with bogies, the fourth with birdies and the
fifth with pars, before Kent went one - up again on the sixth
when the Lankan made a bogey from the greenside bunker. But it
was back to all square when he hogtied the very next hole.
match went all- square till the 12th hole before Lalith Kumara
floored the accelerator. On the long and difficult par 3 13th,
he sank a massive 35 feet putt from the apron for a birdie to go
one up and increased the advantage when Kent bogied the next
hole. They halved the 15the with birdies and Lalith Kumara went
three - up when he conned a ten footer for birdie on the 16th.
the afternoon session he increased the lead by two when Kent
lost the third and fifth with bogies. A birdie on the sixth
virtually sealed the issue for Lalith Kumara on the sixth. Even
though he lost the eighth by making a soluble bogey there,
Lalith Kumara closed the match in style by winning the tenth and
11th holes with birdies.
- Nalanda Media clash
cricket encounter sponsored by the National Lotteries Board for
the fifth Battle of the Maroons for the Premakeerthi De Alwis
trophy between the Ananda Mass Media Circle and the Nalanda
Media Forum, will be worked out at the Mercantile Service
Cricket Grounds Colombo 7, commencing at 9.30 am on Saturday 28
Ananda Mass Media Circle will be led by Roshan Watawala while
the Nalanda Media Forum will be captained by Sarada Nanayakkara.
The chief guest will be Mr. Deepal Gunarathne, Chairman of the
National Lotteries Board.
inaugural cricket encounter between the mass media circles of
Ananda and Nalanda was in the year 2000, which was won by Ananda
under the captaincy of Sarath Prematilleke. The next match was
won by Nalanda under the leadership of Nalin Aponsu while the
third and the fourth matches, which were captained by Sisira
Parantantrie and Shan Wijetunge, brought victory to Ananda.
team: Roshan Watawala (Captain), Upali Arambewala, Sarath
Prematilaka, Shan Wijetunga, Sisira Paranatantri, Aruna
Kusalasiri, Anusha Sanjeewa, Theja Perera, Sudewa Hettiarachchi,
Gayal Buddidasa, Chandima Dharshanath, Sudarman Radaliyagoda,
Kingsly Ratnayake and Anuruddha Lokuhapuarachchi
team: Sharada Nanayakkara (Captain), Jagath Perera, Prsanna
Hennayake, Chatura Vidyaratna, Nalin Aponsu, Kamal Deshapriya,
Asiri Mallawarachchi, Dharshana Senaratne, Nilupa Ranaweera,
Niroshana Illeperuma and Chamida Roshan.
Sport Fishing Club will be organizing its eighth annual Open
Trolling Competition on 21 March. This competition comes on the
heels of a very successful competition conducted last year, in
which 122 competitors participated in 41 boats with a record
catch of over 445 kgs. of fish.
year's winners were Shayam Labrooy with a 22.4 Kg. Paraw, second
was Shehan Meegama with a 22.2 Kg. Paraw and third Muwazi Thahir
with a 17.4 Kg Paraw. This competition is expected to bring in
many foreign participants who have shown interest through the
club's web site. However, the local anglers will turn out in
large numbers to offer stiff competition to their overseas
Sport Fishing Club was inaugurated on 7 April 1989, when a band
of ardent anglers got together to promote the sport of angling
in Sri Lanka. "Although there had been angling clubs
before, no meaningful steps were taken to conduct competitions
and evoke the interest of the public. We have now grown to a
membership of one hundred and six, and are proud to have been
associated in organizing many angling competitions including a
"Learn to Fish" campaign, in which our slogan was
"Get Hooked on Fishing not on Drugs a spokesman for the
eighth Open Troll has been drawn up in keeping with
international angling rules, and is expected to attract even
more competitors than last year from here and abroad. The
competition will be flagged off from the Hamilton Canal at 6.30
am on 21 March and all participants must return by 13.30 hrs.
of the competition and application forms can be downloaded from
the web site www.geocities.com/srilankasport fishingclub or by
contacting any of the following.
Delpachitra 0712-231607, Eraj Fernando 0712-762919, Russell de