- a tough nut to crack
going to be rough sailing for the Sri Lankan cricketers in the
African continent although the host nation Zimbabwe occupies the
penultimate position amongst the Test playing nations. The
Zimbabweans are well aware of the Lankan forte, in Muttiah
Muralitharan and infact did adopt a successful defence the last
occasion Murali featured there. However, Zimbabwean cricket is
moving through a difficult patch in their history with the
latest disaster being their only world class player cum skipper
Heath Streak calling it quits, over unresolved criteria
involving the administrators of the game.
Lankan cricket too is certain to witness notable changes in the
administrative structure following the political fortunes
shuffling hands. The Thilanga Sumathipala shadow hierarchy led
by Mohan De Silva must be well aware of the numbered days.
Nevertheless it would be interesting to see what the alternate
solution could be with the ensuing appointments too facing the
threat of legal actions based on the independence of such.
good news for the Lankan camp is the return of paceman Randi
Dilahara Fernando. whose absence through injury was much felt.
Also certain to make the touring party is the injury prone Nuwan
Zoysa. Though the lanky paceman came out with an exceptional
showing in the home series against the world champions, his
level of fitness leaves much to be desired and it would not be a
bad move to use Zoysa in the shorter form of the game at least
for the time being. Young Nuwan Kulasekera can consider himself
lucky to have been provided with another opportunity to prove
his worth given the ad hoc manner in which the national
selectors have dealt in the recent past in pressing their motive
of grooming young blood.
push forward for a specialist wicket keeper at Test level has
been hampered by the new school of thought favouring the batsman
wicket keeper concept. Unless one finds a personality of rare
talent in this dual capacity. (In the likes of Adam Gilchrist)
experim- enting could lead to costly results. Our own Kumar
Sangakkara is a victim of such circumstances. The highly
regarded Sangakkara's batting exploits have taken a severe blow
in the Test arena. Time is precise to accommodate island no 1
stumper Prasanna Jayawardena.
the absence of Hashan Tillekeratne the Lankan batting would have
to revolve around T.M. Dilshan and Thilan Samaraweera especially
in the middle order, instead of accommodating another batsman at
the expense of a specialist bowler.
would be the ideal setting for the Lankan cricketers, to erase
the stigma imposed by the Aussies unprecedented home series
whitewash, at least for the sake of the future of the game in
skipper Farveez Maharoof is strongly tipped to make his limited
over international debut in the series which beings on 20 April.
The commencement of the first of the two Test series on 6 May
would draw the attention of the cricketing world when Murali
aims to scale towards the top of the world's bowling record,
having brushed aside a futile campaign of envy at the last hour
by parties interested. Technology disproved the purported
job on Marvan's hands
inordinate delay in handing Marvan Atapattu the Sri Lanka Test
captaincy is finally over, almost a year after it had become his
due. No sooner than had the Australians' inflicted on the
country its first whitewash on home shores, the appointment was
delivered post-haste to the heir apparent of long ago. An
interesting question comes to mind: if the outcome of the series
had been anything less than worst, would the new appointment
have come as swiftly? The answers, of course, can be only
conjectural, which, though only academic, nevertheless provides
for a not-so-dull debate.
appointment of Hashan Tillekerante over the head of Atapattu was
in the first place an illogical move, proved even more
convincingly now than at the time it was made _ last April when
then incumbent Jayasuriya asked to be relieved of the burdens of
leadership. The selectors' explanation was that it was all done
in the best interest of Atapattu, that it would be far better he
serves an apprenticeship through leading the one-day side before
taking control of the Test side. Until such time, Tillekeratne
would fill time as Test captain.
concern for Atapattu's future was touching, except that, after a
dozen years in Test cricket, nearly four as deputy skipper, the
selectors' reasoning was . well, pretty much like choosing to
bottle-feed one old enough to learn the intricacies of
manoeuvring cutlery on china. It's the selectors who were caught
with the fork in the wrong hand. Their apparent mollycoddling of
Atapattu, not surprisingly, raised suspicion that the
''real" reasons were in a realm outside cricket. The most
widely circulated reason spoke of a powerful selector's wish to
settle a personal score with Atapattu. And hence, Tillekeratne's
out-of-the-blue-appointment. So it is alleged, and as with all
allegations, this one too has to be taken with a pinch of salt.
True or not, it was sauce for those with axes to grind with the
cum vice president, Aravinda de Silva, has been immersed too
long in Sri Lanka cricket to make decisions on parochial lines.
And it's probably pure coincident that he and his
captain-appointee have, over a period of two decades, been
teammates in the D S Senanayake MV, NCC and Sri Lanka teams. But
when that coincident is placed in a controversial circumstance,
which Tillekeratne's elevation did, then it becomes difficult to
fend off accusations that a favour had been done to an old
friend. Selections committees, it will be argued, aren't one-man
bands. But it is sheer naivete to think other selectors
disregard de Silva's views. Enough _ let the past be buried.
brief review of Tillekeratne's yearlong captaincy, however, is
necessary to weigh up the legacy Atapattu inherits. The
selectors have always maintained that Tillekeratne was an
interim captain, though the period was unspecified. As things
turned out, he was given a year, or four series. Of ten Tests,
only one was won; four were lost and five drawn. It isn't a
shining record, though it could have been. Against England, the
obtained 1/0 margin isn't an honest reflection of our
overwhelming dominance throughout the December series _ 2/0
would've been acceptable, though, 3/0 should really have been
the score. The wasted opportunities in the whitewash at the
hands of Australia are too recent to be retold here. Then a lack
of ambition denied a series win against New Zealand, the first
under Tillekeratne. And in the next, the second Test and the
series were lost to the West Indies despite gaining first
innings initiatives. While it is true a captain can be only as
good as his team, there was clear evidence that Tillekeratne
didn't have the sort of leadership qualities that can inspire
men. Too often crisis situations deteriorated to defeat and
promising position weren't converted to triumphs _ failures that
inspiring leadership might have prevented.
reflection, it might have been a far better thing had the
selectors owned up to their mistake and given Atapattu the job
when, after the failed series against New Zealand and the West
Indies, it became patently clear that Tillekeratne was not the
man for the job. But his solitary win over a not-so-strong
England team in the final Test got him an extension for the
Australian series, which, as the record shows, proved a task
beyond him. Whether things would've been any different under
Atapattu's leadership, we'll never know. But an opportunity to
pit skills with Ponting would no doubt have left Atapattu so
much a wiser captain for the battles ahead, especially the South
Africa series here later this year.
lot isn't an easy one. He picks up the reins of a team in
despondency; a team that's forgotten how to win. Test victories
have become a rarity: only one since early 2002. Capt.
Atapattu's challenge will be to get his team back on a winning
course _ and that's not going to be easy.
things looked bad at the time Tillekeratne assumed leadership a
year ago, what greets Atapattu is decidedly darker, and not
solely due to the whitewash. Inconsistency of the specialist
batsmen remains unsorted, and the bowling hopes continue to
remain on the aching shoulders of Muralitheran and Vaas. As if
these aren't enough to suggest a future of uncertainty, the
little old wizard's golden arm is under ICC's microscope. The
findings have yet to be made public. But with suspicion again
cast on his action, his every future delivery will come under
unblinking scrutiny. It's a worrying concern if Muralitheran can
be the bowler he's been.
looks as if Atapattu has not only inherited the failures of his
predecessor, but also the worst problems of his first skipper,
Ranatunga. The one-time skipper's finger-wagging defence of
Muralitheran against umpire Emerson might not win space in the
book of etiquettes, but it did the job anyway. Atapattu is not
likely to react the way Ranatunga does in similar situations,
which hopefully would not arise.
batting mirrors characteristics of a methodical perfectionist,
and if he can transfer that quality to his leadership, then,
it's a different type of Sri Lanka team we'll see. During
Jayasuriya's tenure, the team, especially the batting, was much
like him: dashingly exciting in good times and self-destruct
bringing the bad days. Tillekeratne's year was spent in no man's
land: caught betwixt his defensive traits and the lingering
incandescence of his predecessor, the team seemed headed to
nowhere. Atapattu's methodic ways might well exactly be what the
team requires to clear the air of uncertainty _ a gathering of
all of his men's finer attributes and channeling it in the right
he might appear to be of a mild nature, he's not one to back out
of a crisis. His fighting leadership qualities were vividly
displayed in the Caribbean last June. From seemingly hopeless
situations his team triumphed in the first two ODIs, the second
chasing a target in excess of 300. In the only ODI possible
against England, Sri Lanka won by 10 wickets. Then, Australian
skipper, after winning the first of five ODIs without even
breaking into a sweat, remarked that the series would be boring
unless Sri Lanka lifts its game appreciably. Atapattu's men
responded with an enthralling last-ball win in the second game.
The Australians were presumptious no more. And the rest of the
series ran thrillingly close before Australia won 3/2.
to establish, but easy to discern was Tillekeratne's inability
to rally his men. There seemed an uncrossed bridge between him
and his men, though this could be the illusion a losing team
creates. But to be fair by Tillekeratne, the knowledge that he
was only a pro-tem skipper was retarding. That the end of his
tenure always looked imminently close wasn't quite the state of
mind for a leader to be in. Probably that was why he took the
course of least resistance: letting things happen than being
leadership of the one-day side, by contrast, was bolder. But
marshalling forces in the five-day slog of Test cricket is going
to be a different proposition. The knowledge his captaincy isn't
interim not only gives him greater security, but also will earn
greater respect from his men than a leader on temporary duty.
Fate seems kinder to Atapattu, as his first opponent is a
Zimbabwe team in disarray. The popular expectation is for a
sweep of the five-match one-day and two-Test series. Anything
less might well raise the questions of doubt that had haunted
9th edition of the South Asian Federation (SAF) Games concluded
in grand style last Wednesday seeing India dominating the
competition medals table with a rich haul of 98 gold medals, 53
silver and 30 bronze medals.
comparing the performance of the Lankans in 15 games at the
competition its good to see some youngsters who will be the
future of Sri Lanka grooming themselves with the international
exposure, Sri Lanka bagged 15 gold medals, 32 silver and 53
bronze to secure the third place in the tally. Pakistan finished
second with 34 gold, 54 silver and 50 bronze Although Lankans
fared well on the field, their behaviour on the outside was not
up to expectation.
we have witnessed in the previous international appearances the
discipline of the athletes has gone to the dogs especially the
senior cadre. It is a shame that these incidents reflected not
only within the contingent but also came to the notice of the
other parties concerned leaving Sri Lanka's image shaken.
to the President of the National Olympic Committee, Hemasiri
Fernando, this is the worst scenario recorded in the recent
history of Sri Lanka athletics. The sports loving public will be
eagerly waiting to see what action would be taken against the
culprits. According to the reports received from Pakistan the
behaviour of some of our athletes brought disgrace to our
every time a contingent taking wings to compete in an
intentional event, the officials screamed to the media that
discipline was a must, not a single medal could be won.
Athletics- The highest gold medals for Sri Lanka were recorded
in this category.
Jayasinghe won her pet event women's 200m giving a gold to Sri
Lanka with a time of 3.49 secs but unfortunately missed the
double as she withdrew from the 100m stint due to a leg injury.
But Jani Chathurangi Silva kept Sri Lanka's hopes alive by
winning the finals with a time if 11.81 sec to clinch her first
ever international medal. Sri Lanka athletic captain Pradeep
Kumara completed a sprint double.
won the men's 200m final in 20.99 seconds as his first gold,
Kumara also won his pet event, men's 400m in 45.89 seconds. His
team mate Prasanna Amarasekera accounted for the silver medal
with a timing of 45.93 seconds. Manjula Kumara Wijesekera
improved on his Sri Lanka national mark of 2.18 m to win the
men's high jump gold medal. He cleared 2.20m to finish first
while his team mate Nalin Priyadharshana took the silver after
finishing second with 2.11m. Priyangika Maduwanthi cleared a
height of 1.69 m and clinched the bronze in women's high jump.
third Lankan male athlete to win a gold medal was Upendra
Bandara. He clocked eight minutes and 57.04 seconds to take the
men's 3,000m steeplechase gold medal. Anne Maheshi de Silva
clinched the gold in its women's javelin throw while Padma
Wijesundara who threw 42.94m grabbed the silver medal in the
women's discus throw. But Thalou Alaileema could not bring any
result for Sri Lanka in the men's discus throw.Mohamed Sifrath
and Harijan Ratnayake gave Sri Lanka two silver medals in their
events , men's 800m and 400m hurdles respectively. C Mangala who
ran the women's 800m finished with silver.
Regal April monthly medal at Victoria
(Pvt) Ltd, the Sri Lankan joint venture between the Distilleries
Company of Sri Lanka and Group Pernod - Ricard of France, the
owners of the prestigious brand Chivas Regal, teams up with the
Victoria Golf & Country Resort in Kandy for the Chivas Regal
April Monthly Medal which will be held on Saturday, April 24 at
the successful completion of the Chivas Regal monthly medals
held last year at the Royal Colombo Golf Club and the Victoria
Golf and Country Resort, Chives Regal has moved on with this
success. This year too Chivas Regal begins its monthly medal at
the renowned Victoria golf course in the Kandyan hills for its
next sponsored event.
competition will be in two divisions, over 18 holes. It is open
to all players with a valid handicap. With the holiday season in
full swing, the landscapes of the Victories Golf and Country
Resort would be a wonderful experience to stop over for the
whole family with an entertaining round of Golf on the cards.
division categories are:
competition commences at 7.30 a.m. at the Victoria Golf &
Country Resort on Saturday 24 April. Entries close on Wednesday
21 April at 7.00 p.m. All players who wish to enter the monthly
medal may call 1712 - 743003 (Caddy Master) and register their
entry. The awards ceremony will be held the same evening on the
completion of the tournament and will be followed by a cocktail
addition to the group category winners, 1st runner up, 2nd
runner up, longest drive, closest to the pin hole in one will
qualify for prizes. Surprise gifts await all participants.
sponsors Mahagastota Hill Climb
Ceylon Motor Sports Club is organising the 70~" Mahagastota
Hill Climb on April 11. The event this year is sponsored by
Motor Marvels Ltd. the local agent for Suzaki in Sri Lanka.
Motor Corporation has always placed great emphasis on motor
sport. They have a long history of manufacturing a series of
sporting 'hot-hatch's' which have had wide success in the global
motor sporting arena. Presently The Suzaki Ignis is leading the
Junior World Rally Championship.
also sponsors a formula racing series called the Formula Hiabusa.
Motor Marvels Ltd. have signed a three year sponsorship
agreement in recent of this event. They have already invited the
official Suzaki racing team led by 'Monster' Tajima of Suzuki
Sport to compete at the next Mahagastota Hill Climb. A total of
5 Suzuki's will be seen in action at Mahagastota on April 11.
first organised motor sporting event in Sri Lanka was the
Mahagastota hill climb held on September 28, 1834. From then
onwards, Mahagastota has been an annual event, and thus earned
the name of the cradle of motor sport in Sri Lanka.
fame of Mahagastota in not merely national. This event is
considered one of the oldest motor sporting events in South
Asia. The Mahagastota Hill Climb is closely linked with the
Ceylon Motor Sports Club, which interestingly was inaugurated a
few days before the first Mahagastota.
has since become an annual event, one that occupies a high
priority on the Sri Lankan racing calendar. Numerous competitors
at the event agree unanimously that this event is like no other.
A course of around 600 yards, comprising 2 hairpin bends, a fast
right hander and a fast left hander, around 6 gear changes, all
of this in around 40 seconds. "It is absolutely
unforgiving" said a competitor with over 15 Mahagastota's
under his belt. "This is one of few motor sporting events
where driving technique is more essential than power," said
Lanka clinches Enterprise
World Sailing Championship 2005
Yachting Association of Sri Lanka held the Pre-World Sailing
Championships in Negombo on 27 March. The event was a precursor
to the World Enterprise Championships which was clinched
following a successful bid by Sri Lanka. The next world
championships are now billed to be held in Negombo in early
Pre-World Championship was conducted under international rules
and was designed to demonstrate that Sri Lanka could conduct an
international event that will draw dozens of world-class sailors
to the island next year. Races were held for two classes of
boats. The first, a two-race open event, had 18 boats competing,
representing sailors from the Navy Sailing Club, Ceylon Motor
Yacht Club and Royal Colombo Yacht Club. Competitors included
several members of the National Asian Games team. The series was
won by Sarith Pethiyagoda (Colombo International School) helm,
crewed for by Rehan Dias (Royal College, Colombo), sailing a
British-built two-man Enterprise-class boat. Both sailors have
represented Sri Lanka at numerous international sailing events.
Joseph Kenny, crewed for by Per Svendsen, were runners up, while
L. P.K. Gunatilaka (Navy) crewed for by W. A. R. Nishantha
(Navy), came in third.
further race was held for single-handed optimist class boats, a
youth class restricted to those under 16. Owing to the rough
weather conditions, only the eight members of the national team
were permitted to participate. The race was won by Akshan
Jirasinha (St. Thomas' College, Kollupitiya), with Oshan
Weerasinghe (Royal College, Colombo) as first runner up and
Devin Goonewardena (Stafford International, Colombo) coming in
as second runner up. All three boys have wide international
international jury overseeing the race was chaired by former
national sailor Ananda Wimaladharma, assisted by two overseas
representatives of the International Enterprise Association,
Richard Esteaugh (the current world champion) from the U.K., and
Homi Motiwala, from India, who were flown, courtesy of Srilankan
Airlines, the official carrier for the 2005 world championships.
Ground arrangements for the event were sponsored by Jetwing
Ascot at Nuwara Eliya on April 17
most looked forward to horse racing event, the 'Royal Ascot will
be heed at Nuwara Eliya on April 17. A large gathering who will
be in Nuwara Eliya during the festive season, without question
will throng the race course to witness the major horse racing
event in Sri Lanka.
Sellamuttu, Chairman of stewards of the Sri Lanka Turf Club at a
press conference held recently at the JAIC Hilton Hotel
disclosed that the International Distillers Lanka Ltd, will
sponsor this grand show for the second successive year.
further stated that though horse racing in Lanka came into
existence over a hundred years ago, a decline in this
spectacular sport was experienced in the recent past as a result
of financial difficulties and various other obstacles that
propped up regularly. But this sport had made remarkable
progress during the last couple of years thus attracting many a
horse racing fan to the track where the meets are held. The
Horse Owners Association and a number of dedicated individuals
must be thanked for the upliftman of this 'kings sport' said the
chairman of stewards.
had been many an improvement to the racecourse at Nuwara Eliya
in order to get into top condition especially for the festive
season and in addition to the Royal Ascot a number of other
racing events are scheduled to take place during April.
added that India too has came forward in a bigway to keep the
horse racing industry in Sri Lanka to prosper and for the first
time, the starting gate gifted by the Mysore Horse Racing Club
and the weighing scales presented by the Hyderabad Horse Racing
Club will be used at the Royal Ascot.
CEO of the Internationl Distillers Lanka Ltd, Sriyantha Perera
thanked the organizers for having given them another so of the
sponsorship at this grand event. He also added that they were
very much encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by the Lanka horse
racing fans and will eagerly look forward to render their
assistarce when even they called to do so.
sponsors have offered handsome cash prizes for the winners with
the winner receiving Rs. 75,000/- and the second and third
places to pocket Rs. 35,000/- and Rs. 25,000/- respectively. The
special attractions at this spectacular event will be a fashion
parade with a live band in attendance. The horse racing will
begin on April 10 and other races are scheduled to be worked out
on April 14, 17 and 24.
Golden Key Privilege Card Kings Rugby 7s, organised by The
Golden Key Credit Card Co. Ltd. to mark the centenary
celebrations of the Kingswood College OBU will be held in Kandy
from April 23 to 24. A total of 16 schools from Colombo, Kandy,
Matale, etc., will participate in the event.
first Golden Key rugby 7s took place in 2003 and it was due to
its success that the company decided to have a similar event
once again. The event is being held on a larger scale this time
at a e cost of Rs. 1.1 million.
thought of organising the event again on a larger scale due to
the response and this time schools from Colombo are
participating for the first time," explained Deputy
Chairman / Chief Executive, The Golden Key Credit Card Co. Ltd.,
intention is to foster and encourage sports at school levels
because we feel sports plays an important role in character
building. A couple of years back we decided to sponsor and
organise sporting events, especially in the rural areas since
there wasn't much encouragement for sports like rugby especially
at school level," he said.
is an island-wide project and we are hoping to have such
tournaments in other places as well and they will not be
confined to cricket and rugby alone but also athletics and elle,"
said Assistant General Manager (Credit Card Division), The
Golden Key Credit Card Co. Ltd., Orville Pereira.
get two wild cards for Para Olympics
of the Athens Paraplegic Olympics have awarded Sri Lanka two
wild cards for the Wheelchair Tennis competition, SLTA's CEO
Lionel Almeida announced.
invitation to participate in the event, which follows the summer
Olympics in Athens this year, is seen as a significant
achievement by local wheelchair tennis. Only athletes who
successfully come through a series of tough qualification rounds
are eligible to participate in Paraplegic Games, an event
without equal in the world of disabled sports.
card entries are at a premium, and Sri Lanka earned their couple
by their rapid development in the sport. The SLTA's Wheelchair
Tennis Committee introduced the sport about two years ago as a
rehab program for disabled soldiers. The soldiers were quick to
adapt to the sport, and coupled with their enthusiasm, became
worthy of national representation at international competition.
won medals in international competitions in Bangkok and Paris in
2002/3, playing in the D division. By this year they had
graduated to a B division nation and competed successfully. A
four-member team won gold medals in the Australian and New
Zealand Open events, but the World Cup team event in New
Zealand, where they competed as wild card entries, proved too
stiff and came away empty handed.
the world body has been following our progress with interest.
They've no doubt been impressed, and awarding us two wild cards
is their way of acknowledging our progress," said SLTA
president, Suresh Subramaniam. "I am confident that the day
we can win at the world level isn't far off."
SLTA has already got cracking on their preparation plans for the
September/October Athens event. Selection trials have been
scheduled from April 19-23 and May 7-8 on the SLTA hard courts.
''We've opened the trials to any candidate. Up until now only
soldiers have represented the country, and deservedly so. But
since of late the SLTA is trying to push the sport among the
civilian population as well, and as an encouragement are
inviting them to take part in the trials. We are not specifying
past performances as a requirement," said CEO Almeida.
CEO added that the SLTA would be looking to secure sponsors to
support the country's participation in the Athens Paraplegic
Games. ''With the players developing rapidly and achieving a
high rate of international success, a medal or two in Athens
isn't beyond them. I am confident sponsors will want to identify
with our team in Athens," said Almeida.
sponsors centenary Battle of the North
Insurance Company Ltd. (JICL), recently sponsored the centenary
big match between Jaffna Central College and St. John's College,
Jaffna, played over three days at the Jaffna Central College
in 1816 and 1823 respectively, the two schools are considered
pioneer indtitutions in the country with a tradition going back
over 180 years. This year's centenary big match drew a record
crowd of over 10,000 spectators, with many past students from
both schools flying into Sri Lanka from overseas to be part of
this gala celebration.
Director Marketing Tryphon R. Mirando said that as one of the
forerunners in the development of sports in Sri Lanka and the
emerging leader of insurance, the company was happy to be
associated with this year's centenary big match, popularly
dubbed - The Battle of the North. When play was disrupted, St.
John's College were 108 for 4 and were awarded the Janashakthi
Challenge Trophy, having to score only 26 runs in 1 8 overs with
6 wickets in hand. Parallel to this year's centenary
celebrations was also another unique event where the Jaffna
public was given the opportunity of witnessing an exhibition
6-a-side match between former Sri Lanka cricketers and the
Jaffna district team