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Editorial

November 4, 2007  Volume 14, Issue 20


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Sports

           

Don't rush back Sanga

KUMAR Sangakkara's presence in the first Test starting Thursday rides very much on the wings of a prayer. What was thought to be a minor straining of his left hamstring is now a confirmed tear, forcing his withdrawal from the ongoing three-day warm up match against Queensland, the final lead-up to the two Tests.

He pulled up with the injury after just three balls Saturday last, the first day of the three-dayer in Adelaide, and being no part of the current game means the formidable no.3 left-hander would likely go into the first Test in Brisbane without any match-preparation. The talk seems to be about resting him so that his hamstring heals in time for the first Test. The impatience to have him back at work is understandable, but should he be rushed?

Wiser counsel

There is no easy answer to that. Including a player whose preparation in the middle has been limited to facing just three balls and a sprint across for a single can't be considered anything but a gamble. Popular opinion no doubt will have that Sangakkara's exceptional talents are worth gambling on. Wiser counsels though would prefer a rather more cautious return to action. But, given that there is no game between first and second Tests, Sangak- kara's inclusion on Thursday becomes a compulsion. Preserving him for the final Test will only deepen doubts, arising from inactivity about his suitability. It is far better that he goes into the second Test with the cobwebs dusted off in the first Test than to have him do the same in the final Test.

Conclusions premature

Admittedly, it is yet premature to be making conclusions on Sangakkara's first Test inclusion or otherwise. After all, he has to first be issued with a clean bill of health before the tour management can decide at all whether to disregard his enforced inactivity and come what may, play him in the first Test. His present medical condition reportedly leaves him in doubt for the Brisbane Test which suggests his injury is serious. That raises the question if his injury would have healed to the point of being free of any risk of recurrence- that is presuming he figures in the second Test starting on November16 - three weeks since he tore his left hamstring.

Sangakkara's own thoughts on the injury and his state of mind are pertinent. In his column in the website, CricInfo, he writes:

Diagnosis

  The results of my scan showed a grade one tear, so I am just trying to do everything right with my treatment and make sure I get ready for the Test. You never know with injuries - it depends on the individual. If it were a grade two tear, which is a major tear, it would be a different story. I have got all the care I need with the physio but over the next few days I will know how it is heading.

Clearly, he too is unsure as to when he might be fit to play. Should he, however, be ruled unfit for the first Test, his inclusion for the second ought not to be a forgone conclusion. It would be prudent to subject his fitness to a searching examination before he is considered for inclusion. His recovery should be complete, total and free of the possibility of the injury's recurrence. He is far too great an asset to be put at risk, even temporarily. Such risks taken might have damaging consequences on his future, as is the case in England's star, Andrew Flintoff, who spends as much time these days in hospitals as on the playing field - all because he returned to action not completely cured.

Ruthless Aussies

This much is certain: The Australians will target Sangakkara, subject him to a severe test, physically and mentally. As the world knows the Australians are ruthless and unsympathetic, which, allied with their talents, is why they are world champions. Our Sangakkara is not the sort who will back out of a challenge, an attitude that cannot find expression if troubled by fitness doubts. So, a half-hearted expression of his boldness can mean a greater undertaking of risk.

With a lot of optimistic talk around about achieving our first Test win in Australia, obviously you would wish that all our first-choice players would be out in the middle helping the historic cause. But Sangakkara's inclusion compels caution. Because of the injury, the decision has to factor in not just the current Tests but also the immediate future. A busy programme is ahead of the team: 1. a three-Test home series v. England in December, and 2. back again to Australia for a tri-nation, India included, in January-February. It will be wonderful if Sangakkara can take in all those engagements, but if his fitness is suspect for the two Australian Tests, then the sensible thing to do is to make certain of his services for the no less important December to February duties by sparing him the strain and rigour of the present series. 

 A blessing

His absence, of course, will be a blow, but not as crippling as it seems, thanks, ironically, to the eleventh-hour inclusion of Marvan Atapattu by the Sport Minister. This is, however, not to applaud the minister's action which by no stretch of imagination was right, given that it was as good as an expression of lack of faith on the very selectors of his choice. That is another story. Atapattu was anyway on the selectors' original list, and opted out of his own accord.

Anyway, his presence is a blessing. His carefully grafted half-century, allied with his vast experience, no doubt provides balm to the headaches brought on by doubts over Sangakkara's fitness. Then there was Jayasuriya's century and the half centuries of Vandort and Samaraweera, all in Adelaide - and life without Sangakkara does not appear to be nearly as bad as is imagined.

As well, skipper Jayewardene came out of his bad match with a second innings half-century. So, the likely batting line-up sans Sangakkara is a hopeful one: Jayasuriya, Atapattu, Vandort,Jayewardene, Samaraweera, Chamara Silva andwicket-keeper/bat Prasanna Jayewardene. Not such a bad price to pay for the guaranteed services of Sangakkara December through to February.


Sixth Hyundai Golf Classic

IT is time again for the Hyundai Golf Classic Ladies Golf Tournament, an event much looked forward to by  lady golfers. The tournament, this year will be worked out on November 7, in the morning at the RCGC. The tournament is open to all lady members, non-members, handicappers and non-handicappers of RCGC, NEGC, VGC and Waters Edge.

The local agents for Hyundai motor cars in Sri Lanka will sponsor the Hyundai Golf Classic 2007 Ladies Golf Tournament for the sixth successive year. This year Hyundai Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. will offer two return air tickets to Korea to the winner of the   Hole-in-One to visit the Hyundai Motor Plant and includes two days of golf in Seoul.  

The format of the tournament is stableford in three categories. The winner of each category will receive a trophy and a return air ticket. The first runner-up will receive a trophy and a prize.

The Hyundai Golf Classic 2007 Trophy will go to the overall best nett winner. Ladies without handicap can also participate and they will be playing only nine holes. Non-members are also welcome to participate.  All well known lady golfers will be keenly participating in this year's tournament and the ladies section also confirms that many new members and beginners will also join the competition on November 7.      

Hyundai Lanka will also offer many other prizes and surprises in addition to the challenge trophies. They also invite the players and their spouses for the Award Ceremony followed by cocktails and dinner the same evening.


UA recognised

Union Assurance PLC was recognised at the recently held "Cricket Legends" felicitation ceremony organised to recognise cricketing legends and leading mercantile firms that have supported the sport in many ways by providing sponsorships to the cricket board and by employing cricketers. Union Assurance was recognised at this event for the contribution made in the 90's era. Many of the Sri Lankan World Cup winning cricketers were employed with UA including Arjuna Ranatunga,  Muttiah Murali- tharan,  Romesh Kaluwitharana and Upul Chandana. Many other past cricketers were also employed with Union Assurance  - Saliya Ahangama, Uvais Karnain, Adel Hassim, Nishantha Ranatunga, Graeme Labrooy, Roshan Mahanama Sanath Jayasuriya, Sanjeeva Ranatunga,Roger Wejesu- riya, Duleep Samaraweera, Dinuk Hettiarachchi and Jeewaka Werasinghe to name some of them.


Roshan Perera wins Millennium Golf Trophy

Picture shows  R. Theagarajah, Managing Director/CEO of HNB presenting the HNB Millennium Trophy to the winner  Roshan Perera at the Millennium Golf Tournament organised by the Royal Colombo Golf Club and sponsored by Hatton National Bank.  


Through the Week

Sports happenings at a glance

Monday

Cricket

Sri Lanka topples All-Stars

An All-Stars team comprising of some of the greatest names in world cricket was beaten in the final of the Hong Kong sixes by a team of talented Sri Lankan cricketers not hitherto recognised by our cricket selectors. by 16 runs. In addition to the glittering trophy Indika De  Saram's teams was awarded prize money cheque for US$ 100.000.

Scores: Sri Lanka 127 for 3 wickets in 5, eight ball overs All-Stars 111 for 2 wickets in 5, eight ball overs

Dravid dropped from ODIs          

Chief selector Dilip Vensarkar said Dravid had been dropped and left out of the Indian team for the first two ODIs at home against Pakistan next month. Dinesh Kartik has also been left out recalling Virendra Sehwag and all rounder Proveen Kumar.

Tuesday

Cricket

South Africa wins ODI series 3-2

An inspired comeback by South Africa overshadowed Shoaib Akhtar's return to the Pakistan side as the tourists clinched the one-day series winning the final game by 14 runs.

Scores: South Africa 233 for 9 wickets in 50 overs. Pakistan 219 all out in 50 overs

Murali will not surpass Warne -Ponting

Muttiah Muralidharan may be just nine wickets short of overtaking Shane Warne as the Test cricket's highest wicket taker, but Ricky Ponting the Australian skipper says he is confident his team will stop the Sri Lankan off spinner from capturing the record on their backyard.

Lack-lustre draw

Sri Lanka drew their first three-day practice game against the Australian Chairman's X1 at the Adelaide oval.

Scores: Sri Lanka 1st Innings 368 for 5 wickets dec. and 2nd Innings 125 for 3 wickets at close. Australian Chairman's X1 1st Innings 409 all out. 

Football

Qatar thrashes Sri Lanka 5-0

Qatar outplayed and thrashed Sri Lanka  by 5 goals to nil  in their return leg of the qualifier for the 2010 World Cup played at Jassem bin Hamad Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

Swimming

Mayumi in historic victory

Mayumi Rahim created history as the first Sri Lankan to win a medal at a World Level Swim meet at the Fina/Arena short course Swimming Championships that ended at Singapore.

Chess

Anuradha and Vineetha clinch titles

G.C.Anuradha and Vineetha Wijesuriya clinched titles at the Chess Nationals conducted by the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka.

Rugby

Banned rugby players recalled

The four rugby players who were dumped at last week's selection for the up coming Asian Championships to be held in Colombo have been brought into the side on the orders of the Sports Minister Gamini Lokuge.

Dialog to sponsor 37th Mercantile Rugby Sevens

Dialog television has come forward to sponsor one of the biggest corporate sports events in the country by announcing the exclusive sponsorship of the 37th Mercantile Rugby Sevens.  The tournament will be held on  November 16, 17 an 18 at the CR&FC grounds.

Wednesday

Cricket

Sangakkara out of first Test.

Sri Lanka's key batsman Kumar Sangakkara has been ruled out of the first Test against Australia starting at Gabba on November 8. Sangakkara suffered a hamstring injury during the practice match at the Adelaide oval. Chanaka Welagedera too suffered damage to his foot and would be out and sent home calling another left- armer Sujeewa de Silva as his replacement.

Unbeaten half centuries by Dilshan and Warnapura.

An unbeaten 78 and 56 respectively by Dilshan and Warnapura helped Sri Lanka 'A' to defeat Zimbabwe Select XI by eight wickets in their 2nd ODI played at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo.

Scores: Zimbabwe Select XI 146 all out in 48.3 overs  Sri Lanka'A' 150 for 2 wickets in 29.2 overs

Ponting likely to join IPL Twenty/20

Australian Captain Ricky Ponting said that he and up to seven other players from Down Under was likely to sign up for the Indian Premier League Twenty/20 competition to be held next year.

Eject racists-Murali

Sri Lankan off spinner Muttiah Muralidharan has called up racist and unruly fans to be ejected from Australian grounds to protect the dignity of the game.

Rugby

Three Rugby selectors resign

The Chairman of Rugby selectors Anton Benedict, Lasantha Gunaratna and Ravi Wijenathan, three of the five selectors  resigned from their posts in protest of Sports Ministers interference in allowing the players to be selected despite their failure to attend practices.

Thursday

Cricket

Murali to skip, Queensland warm up game.

Sri Lankan cricketers were greeted with warm sunshine on arrival at Brisbane to play the final three-day warm up match before the first Test at the Allan Border Field. Muralidharan will be rested as he had a good work out at Adelaide with figures of 4 for 122.

Get nasty and intimidate Lankan batsmen - Warne

The main topic of conversation among cricket lovers at Super Markets, trains, buses and parks is about the million-dollar question whether Muralidharan will bury Warne's record and whether Sri Lanka will record their first win on Australian soil. However Warne's remarks are to get nasty and intimidate Lankan batsmen.

Test series to be named after Murali-Warne

The forthcoming Test Series between Australia and Sri Lanka is expected to be fought out for a trophy named after spin rivals Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralidharan. This will also mark the 25th anniversary of tests between the two countries.

Athletics

Amarasekera wins Silver at Macau

Prasanna Amarasekera collected the first medal for Sri Lanka in the 400m with a time of 47.09 seconds in the Second Indoor games in Macau.

Golf

Niloo Jayatilleke Golf champion

Niloo Jayatilleke of Sri Lanka excelled herself to emerge winner of the three day Pakistan National Golf Championship which was held recently at the Lahore Gymkhana.The participants were from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The runner up was also a Sri Lankan, Danushi Senadhira.

Friday

Boxing

Ratnayake Qualifies for Beijing Olympics

Anuruddha Ratnayake of Slim line Sports Club broke a 40 year 'hoodoo' in boxing history when he qualified for Beijing Olympics to be held in China next year when he won  the third round  fight of AIBA World Boxing Championship 2007 now in progress in Chicago, USA. He edged out Juan Vega of Ecuador by 26 points to 19.

Cricket

Ishanka 141, shine for St.Aloysius

Two good knocks by Chamidu Ishanka and Chaturanga de Silva helped St.Aloysius College to amass 312 for 4 wickets in their U 20 inter school encounter against D.S. Senanayake Vidyalaya played at the Uyanwatte Stadium in Matara.

Scores:St Aloysius College 312 for 4 wickets declared. D.S Senanayake Vidyalaya 29 for no loss at close.

Rugby

Singer, Rugby Asiad 2007-team in top fettle.

All previous issues will not hinder our national team to do well in the Singer Rugby Asiad 2007 which commences on November 3, said the SLRFU President Nimal Leuke

Athletics

Sri Lankan sprinters win second medal

Sri Lanka's 4x400 m men's relay team came out with another sterling performance at the second Indoor Games at the Dome Stadium in Macau winning the second silver medal for the country.

Compiled by Sunil Thenabadu


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