First with the news and free with its views                                     First with the news and free with its views                             First with the news and free with its views                                    


April 18, 2007  Volume 13, Issue 43










Reaching the moment of truth

Chaminda Vaas  

The cricket World Cup was much looked forward to by many a fan world over hoping that their respective team will clinch the plum. However we are now in the process of reaching the moment of truth. Looking back at the tournament shows that some of the top teams have already been eliminated. Some others are in the process of been eliminated with hosts West Indies been the biggest disappointment. And those who are remaining are engaged in intense battles day in and day out trying to figure out ways to out maneuver their opponents by picking on the weak links and trying to exploit them. Actually the matches seem to be played at team meeting rooms as much as in the middle. That is how tough and important the whole World Cup is turning out to be. Lots of teams naturally are playing for their pride and of course for the ultimate supremacy in the One Day version of the game.

Looking back at some of the games the biggest shock of the entire cricket World Cup other than Ireland beating Pakistan and getting into the Super 8 was the defeat of South Africa at the hands of underdogs, Bangladesh ! I am sure the South African effort against West Indies a few days later, was a point they wanted to prove to the rest of the cricketing world! It was both clinical and efficient! But as far as the Bangladesh game was concern it was the other way around. It was the turn of the Bangladesh outfit to announce themselves and further confirm the growing reputation it has acquired with its entry into the super 8. I am sure the Bangladeshi lads don’t want to be projected as the whipping boys of the World Cup along with Ireland . They were according to Skipper Habibul Bashar, was still looking for the right combination and wonder whether the victory over the South Africans was a culmination of that. Coach Dav Whatmore too had promised continuation of the improved performances against the major teams which is a sign of the new found confidence in the side.

In the other matches the game against England and Australia took top billing, with a very close contest expected. However England, showed the rest of the world their ability to grab defeat from the jaws of victory with the most unimaginative display of batsmenship. I wonder which other teams in the world would have crumbled from a 160/2, with two well set batsmen at the wicket. Having said that I tend to wonder whether it was the inability of England or the awesome strength of Australia . I feel it is a combination of both with the end result weighted more in the favour of the former.

Finally dwelling a bit more on that famous victory of Sri lanka over England, who would have thought that Dilhara Fernando after all the problems he has had in recent months would be asked to bowl the last over where Sri Lanka had just a few runs to defend against England. The manner he handled the situation goes to show the enormous transformation of the man. It was Coach Moody and Mahela who gave him the ultimatum to change to a shorter run up. This was always felt to be the answer to his problem of no balls which had become the bug bear of his bowling and ruining his confidence. To have persuaded him to have done it needed tact which I think both Tom and Mahela have and has been one of the reasons for Sri Lanka’s success. The games against South Africa and England were too close for comfort but goes to illustrate the strength of the bowling. However we all know that bowlers can not perform miracles all the time and the batting consisting of the seven specialists, need to fire as they get ever so close to that moment of reckoning! First the Semifinal and hopefully the Final. I am sure we can look forward to that.

Doubts remain over coach’s future

Jayawardene questions Moody rumour

Mahela Jayawardene believes Tom Moody has still not decided where he will coach after the World Cup, despite reports he was heading home to Perth to take the reins of Western Australia. However, Jayawardene said cricket was "only a game" and it was entirely up to Moody whether continuing with Sri Lanka was the right move.

Justin Langer said his decision to stand down as Western Australia’s captain was in part based on a conversation with Moody that led him to believe Moody would replace the retiring Wayne Clark as the state’s coach next season. A Western Australia spokeswoman said no final agreement had been reached over who would take over from Clark, but Moody was the preferred candidate.

Jayawardene questioned whether Langer had interpreted Moody’s words correctly. "What has come out in the papers is not what Tom has told him [Langer]," Jayawardene said on AFP. Moody, who has repeatedly said he would not consider his future until after the World Cup, insisted again on Tuesday he had made no firm plans.

Jayawardene said he hoped Moody, who has been coaching Sri Lanka since June 2005, would remain in his current role. "Tom has been brilliant for us," he said.

"He’s brought something different to the side and we’ve flourished. I don’t have to tell the [Sri Lanka] Board that. They know how valuable Tom is to us and I’m sure they’ll do everything in their power to keep him."

Jayawardene said there would be no hard feelings from the players if Moody chose to move on. "He has said he wants to finish the World Cup with Sri Lanka and then decide," he said. "Cricket is only a game and there are other factors in life. At the end of the day, it’s his decision."

Cricket World Cup shown ‘live’ at CH&FC

Call it a fever, frenzy or craze but this once every four year event completely changes some countries, Sri Lanka included, and its people.

Cricket has evolved into more than just a game, and with Sri Lanka’s outstanding performance so far, there’s no telling what could happen.

This time around, TNL Radio Network together with Caltex Delo 500 brings you ‘World Cup Mania’ like never before at CH and FC, which is centrally located at 31, Maitland Crescent Colombo 07, also known as the Gymkhana Club right up until the Finals which takes place on April 28.

All key matches will be telecast live on two giant screens amidst a carnival atmosphere with plenty of food and beverage stalls and even a traditional musical band. What better way to end your day than to grab some great food and beverages and catch the World Cup action live?

What’s more is that the TNL RN outdoor broadcasting vehicle will be there giving live updates on 101.7 TNL, Lite 89.2 and Asura FM 100.7.

You also might be able to catch up with all your favourite radio personalities from TNL RN.

If you can’t make it down to CH and FC, you can tune into 101.7 TNL, Lite 89.2 or Asura FM 100.7 for live match updates, star player and team profiles and information on the cricket World Cup on all morning and evening drive time shows.

As for Sri Lanka’s chances in the World Cup, media hype has never reached this height since Sri Lanka’s victory back in 1996.

The team’s never looked better, with all their star players in top form and Lasith Malinga’s development, which has been incredible and impressive to say the least. But he’s not the only star in Sri Lanka’s line up; Sangakara, Jayasuriya, Jayawardena, Vaas and Murali will have a huge impact in this World Cup. The team seems focused, and their techniques are better than ever.

This World Cup seems uncertain as ever. But one thing remains is that it will be packed with action every step of the way up to the Finals stage.

Lewke has his say

I, as the President of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU), wish to draw your attention to the article in the sports column under the caption, ‘Beginning of the end or of a fresh era’ - Samat on Sunday," written by the experienced and respected sports columnist, T.M.K Samat, published in your popular newspaper, The Sunday Leader, in its issue of 1 April 2007.

As I gleefully prepared to read this article on the "April Fools’ day" noted with the ritual April fools’ pranks, at the conclusion of this article, I noted sadly that it was not so.

While this note is to sincerely appreciate the consideration, thoughts and the initiative in devoting valuable space in your popular newspaper on the SLRFU under my Presidency, I would like to enlighten you with more information to clear any frail notion that would evolve in the minds of the readers, who are not customarily associated with the past and ongoing developments of the popular rugby football sport in Sri Lanka.

I deeply appreciate the accolades showered on the incumbent SLRFU Executive Committee by T.M.K. Samat with his generous comments in the noted article viz. "even its harshest critics would have to admit that the new administration, not withstanding its dubious induct, is steering the game to better times."

Nevertheless to the misleading comment of the "dubious induct," it is noted that the incumbent SLRFU Ex-Committee is under the strong the irrevocable concept that democracy is the foremost pillar to achieve prosperity and advancement in any sphere in a democratic society. It is pointless harping on traditions in a democratic society if these traditions are not benefiting the prosperity and advancement of the ideals, vision and mission of any honorary organisation especially in the sports arena. I as the President of the SLRFU and the incumbent SLRFU Ex-Co have pledged to synergise all resources for the advancement of rugby football in Sri Lanka by harnessing talents in urban and rural areas. Thus, laying the past behind especially concerning the induction of a new Ex-Co of the SLRFU. The incumbent SLRFU always encourage constructive criticism; solicit support of all rugby - loving personalities to meet our new mission and vision for the advancement of rugby football in Sri Lanka.

In the article in question, the sports columnist has erred by reflecting that "a serious difference of opinion exists between the Union President and his deputy", I along with my deputy, Asanga Seneviratne, Vice President - SLRFU, vehemently deny that we are having serious differences, and take this opportunity to pronounce that we are totally committed to a common agenda, valued principles and priorities for the advancement of rugby football in Sri Lanka.

The sports columnist has also raised the issue of the change of the SLRFU selection committee thereby creating a dubious intent in the minds of the rugby spectators. There is no doubt about the proven track record of the incumbent Vice - President of the SLRFU, Asanga Seneviratne, as the chairman of the SLRFU selection committee. Nevertheless, when Asanga Seneviratne expressed his intentions to serve as the Vice President to the incumbent President - SLRFU, it was mutually agreed prior to the election that he would step down from the SLRFU selection committee. This was in accordance with the existing Sports Ministry regulation where it is categorically reflected that in any sports body, an office bearer is ineligible to hold the post of chairman of the selection committee of the respective sports body. Accordingly, Asanga Seneviratne stepped from the post when the new chairman of the selection committee, headed by Sri Lankan rugby stalwart, Anton Benedict, assumed post. The delay in these appointments were owing to unavoidable reasons as the SLRFU was determined to harness the best constituted selection committee in the larger interests of rugby football in Sri Lanka.

Concerning the misquoted fact of two players sent to New Zealand for specialised affiliated rugby training with the Taranaki Rugby Academy, I would like to place on record that these two players, Sean Wijesinghe and Dushanth Lewke, were sponsored by their parent rugby club, Kandy Sports Club, long before the induction of the incumbent SLRFU Ex-Co. These two players secured approval from the SLRFU prior to their rugby affiliation with Taranaki rugby academy, and had also informed the SLRFU that these two players will be available for national selection. It was in the greater interests of rugby that the SLRFU recognised the international training exposure of these two players. It was also the obligation of the national rugby selection committee to inform such players in advance to be present for national selection since any failure would infringe on their fundamental rights as a player devoted to contribute in the best interests of rugby football in Sri Lanka.

On the selection process for the recently concluded ‘Hong Kong International Rugby Sevens’, it is highlighted that the SLRFU had categorically informed the national selectors and the rugby clubs / players that the final selection of the Sri Lanka National Team for the ‘Hong Kong International Rugby Sevens’ will not be exclusively based on the ‘rugby sevens tournaments’ held in Radella and Colombo. To avoid any critical situation, the SLRFU informed the national selection committee that all players were in a national rugby pool had to be subjected to a rugby trial prior to the final selection. It is noted that, of the two players, who were on rugby affiliation with the Taranaki rugby academy, one was already in the rugby sevens national pool.

On the matter of the two rugby coaches sent for international ruby coaching exposure, after the incumbent SLRFU Committee assumed office, following the SLRFU Council decision, two rugby coaches, Messers. Sudath Sampath and Chanaka Nishantha, took wing to New Zealand for SLRFU sponsored rugby coaching training programme.

Another issue raised in this disputed article is the timing of the change of the national selection committee giving the factually inaccurate notion that this was executed intently to influence the final selection process. It is placed on record that the national selectors finalised 12 players and four reserves on March 22 2007 as the final squad for the ‘Hong Kong International Rugby Sevens,’ and submitted to the SLRFU. It is the onerous task of the SLRFU to ensure that the national rugby team is selected by an authorised and legitimate national selection committee, and to submit it to the Sports Ministry with observations of the SLRFU accompanying the national selection committee report for ratification.

Nevertheless, the SLRFU was encountered with a technical and legal snarl as the chairman of the national rugby selection committee was also the Vice President of the SLRFU. Owing to time constraints, a nominated list of national selectors was compiled in consultation with the vice president - SLRFU and a few SLRFU ex-co member spending SLRFU council meeting, and submitted to the sports ministry for approval as the Sri Lanka Sevens team had to leave on May 27.

The SLRFU Council with Mr. Seneviratne, vice president SLRFU and Chairman of the former Selection Committee met prior to the departure of the SL National team to Hong Kong where the Council approved nomination list as it comprised balanced and competent selectors.

I trust that this note clarifies any mis-notions concerning the nominations of the national selection committee by the SLRFU and provide a deep insight to show the determination of the incumbent SLRFU council for the advancement of rugby football in Sri Lanka .

As the incumbent President of the SLRFU I take this opportunity to assure to the Sunday Leader and all its adored readers, including the rugby fans, that all the activities of the incumbent SLRFU Council have been duly executed with transparency in accordance with the best

Despline key to success

By Hafiz Marikar

Discipline – key to Kandy Women’s success in Hockey, says the President of the Kandy District Hockey Association R. Maheswaran., after his women’s side won the National Championship.

R, Maheswaran a live wire for the sport over here in the central hills, said that it was good discipline and keen performance that helped us to win the Women’s National Hockey title for the four time in the history. Thrice outright and once had to share the Roy de Silva Challenge Cup.

The Cup was presented by one time President of the Sri Lanka Hockey Federation Roy de Siva for the Women’s National Hockey Championship.

The Kandy Women’s carried away the Roy de Silva cup and Cash of Rs.50,000.00. A big hand to you R. Maheswaran for doing a good job as the President of the Kandy District Hockey Association

This time was the 17th Women’s National Championship, and was played at the Nadnimithra Ekanyake Astor Turf in Matale.

Kandy Women’s tem packed with some top class players netted three superb goals to win the title, after being 2-0 at lemons.

Aturupane, President CFSL

FIDE Master Harinal Aturupane was elected as the new President of the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL) at its AGM that was held at the YMBA Borella recently (March 29).

Aturupane, the Assistant General Manager of Lanka Orix Securities, a stockbroking firm, has as his team in the CFSL: Dr. RD Gunaratne (Vice President), S Dharmarathne (Secretary), Malinda Seneviratne (Asst. Secretary), Max Gunasekera (Treasurer) and Gihan Dinesh (Librarian). Committee members: G.L. Wijesuriya, D. Kuruppu, S. De Moraes, C.K.D. Fonseka, I. Patabendige, R. Thilakaratne and V. Perera.

Aturupane along with his brother Dr. Harsha Aturupane are by far the two best chess players Sri Lanka has ever produced. However having won multiple national championships and achieving the highest rank a Sri Lankan chess player has obtained to date (that of a Master of the International Chess Federation (FIDE)-titles which both brothers hold) and which is yet to be surpassed, the brothers gave up active playing in the late 1980s to further their careers.

A chaotic inter school rugby season !

By Ranil Prematilake

Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Association (SLSRA) continues its hap hazard modes operandi. The SLSRA which falls under the direct purview of the Ministry of Education is in a total mess to state the least. The main objective of the officials of SLSRA seems to be to please the sponsors at any cost and has paid scant respect to the schools that have played by the rules in the season gone by.

The incumbent President and the Secretary contradict each other on the same issue or plead ignorance when posed with pertinent questions by the media. This is quite evident by the versions given by the two officials to the media in the recent past on issues varying from breach of rules by member schools to eligibility criteria of players concerned. To add to the woes, one of the premier rugby playing schools in the island, in Trinity College Kandy are being given a raw deal in deciding the venues for their fixtures. According to the tentative fixture list Trinity are billed to play Thurstan, St. Peters, Wesley in Colombo and ironically the Isipatana game which should have been played in Colombo has been shifted to Kandy for another year. Further the Kingswood and St. Anthony’s matches which were hosted by Trinity last season are being given the same honour this year as well.

The simple criteria was that if a school hosts a game in a particular year then invariably the following year the game would be hosted by the other school and if the two schools have not played each other for a period of time then one would revert to the last game played between the two sides in deciding the venue. Why complicate an issue which in fact does not exist? Only the wise officials of the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Association can answer this question. The reference made was only with regards one participating school for the reason that this article would go into pages if comparisons are drawn of the grievances of other schools as well.

Another important aspect which the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Association fails to understand is that a team cannot be prepared fully if the prospective fixtures are not indicated on time. In the present day context all schools take their rugby seriously and invest heavily on coaches and related know how to keep up with the pace of the game. Nevertheless a squad has to be trained over a definite period of time to ensure that they peak at the correct time. We are coming towards the end of April 2007. Yet no final word has been given by the SLSRA authorities as to the commencement of the season.

The dissolution of an unincorporated sports body does not necessarily emanate from corruption or mismanagement. The worst instance being incompetence. The present set of officials of the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Association will no doubt fall into the latter consideration. For the sake of the game at least for the year 2007, the most sensible solution would be to handover the affairs of conducting schools rugby to the Sports Governing Body, the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU).

Over to you, Minister of Sports.

Jayawardene questions Moody rumour

Cricket World Cup shown
‘live’ at CH&FC

Lewke has his say

A chaotic inter school 
rugby season !


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