Launching a series of articles 'Cricket step by step with Nelson Mendis'
An introduction to cricket
Cricket is one of the most fascinating games in the world. Introduced by the English, its beginning goes back to the 16th century. However, it was introduced to Sri Lanka (Ceylon then), in the 19th century, by the Englishmen who were ruling our country at that time. Today, Cricket is the most popular sport in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka gained TEST status in 1982, and she won the famous WORLD CUP in 1996 beating all other big cricket nations in the world. This victory changed the attitude of the entire nation towards the game in Sri Lanka. Cricket is played in every nook and corner of the island today, and most young ones want to be cricketers.

Earlier, cricket was played only by males, but today, it is popular among ladies and girls too. This is why we use the common term of Batter instead of the word Batsman which indicates the gender of the player. The ten test playing countries in the world are :- England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Apart from these many other countries are engaged in playing cricket throughout the world.

Cricket is a game with a wide range of basic skills, which most children can do in someway without training - e.g. catch, throw, pick-up, hit and run. Cricket is only an organized extension of these skills.

Cricket is a team game, where fun and success can be shared, and the satisfaction gained from good team work can be more rewarding. Sometimes, enjoyment gained from practicing with a small group of friends can be greater fun than playing in a full game of cricket.

Apart from being a fun game, cricket helps to develop one's character too. Qualities like team work, learning to take victory and defeat in the correct spirit , developing the spirit of fighting back, mental strength, friendship are some of them.

The game of cricket is played between two teams of eleven members. To begin a game, a coin is tossed by the Captains to decide which side will bat or field first. The side fielding will try to get all batters out (10 of them and one will remain not out). Batters will bat and try to score (make) the most runs possible. The bowlers will bowl in such a way not to give runs but take wickets.

A normal match will have two innings for a side. At the end of the four innings, the side which had scored more runs will be the winner.
Today, International Limited Over games of 50 overs a side are very popular. World Cup is also played as a 50 Limited Over game. Recently another version called the Twenty 20 - which limits the number of overs to 20 per side was launched in England and is catching up in other parts of the world.

All major games of cricket are controlled by two UMPIRES who stand at appropriate places on the field acting as judges and giving decisions when appeals are made.

Those who keep records of the match are called scorers. They record runs made and wickets taken, overs bowled etc. They keep their records in Scoring Books specially designed for the purpose.

I wish to end my introduction on the game of Cricket, by quoting the world's greatest ever cricketer, Sir Donald Bradman, on the game. "It is a spectacle, it is a drama, it is good fun. It is undoubtedly an art, an art that can give pleasure to those who practice it and to those who watch".

A profile of Nelson Mendis
Nelson Mendis - Old Boy of Dharmasoka College Ambalangoda - A player, an umpire, Administrator & coach.

As a coach, he has over 40 years experience. He came into the limelight as the junior coach of Nalanda College, where he churned out many junior champion teams and was also instrumental in producing over a dozen Sri Lankan test & ODI players including the first test captain, Bandula Warnapura. Among others were Lalith Kaluperuma, Jayantha Seneviratne, Roshan Mahanama, Asanka Gurusinghe, Kumara Dharmasena, Hemantha Devapriya, Sanath Kaluperuma, Keerthi Ranasinghe, Chamara Dunusinghe, Susantha Karunaratne, the late Anura Ranasinghe, the late Roshan Gunaratne and the late Sunil Jayasinghe.

Mendis is a qualified coach having completed all levels of coaching I, II, III, & IV (Diploma in coaching) under Les Lenham of UK. He has also undergone training under Frank Tyson of England, Julian Wiener, Jack Walsh of Australia, and Barry Richard of South Africa. Further, he has coached the national junior teams of Nepal (U-19) and Malaysian (U-15) in the recent past.

Nelson Mendis's strength as a coach lies in his approach to coaching, where he stresses much importance on discipline. At present, he is the Director of Coaching at his Academy, CCC School of Cricket, Maitland Crescent, Colombo, which is on its 6th year, and caters for children both boys & girls of 8 to 18 years.

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