ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday December 30, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 31

Focus on domestic games

After three weeks of focus on test cricket and the series against England, the limelight shifts to the local scene.

In between one day Club cricket also provided entertainment but Sri Lanka’s performances at national level and individual achievements took the prime spot.

The series itself ended on a dull note, with rain interfering and stealing the possibility of a result. Congratulations to captain Mahela Jayawardena for notching up another double test hundred and going past the legendary Aravinda de Silva. Yet again the home team’s batting strength was displayed.

The ability and the art of playing on slow, turning pitches could not have been better displayed by Jayawardena and then Tillekaratne Dilshan and Chaminda Vaas, with Jayasuriya calling it a day from playing test cricket, eyes are now on what Vaas would do?. His form with both ball and bat indicated he has got more time on to be in the top league. A good thing too as the team would prefer the seniors to space out the bidding farewell from the game.

The test match in Galle had a watery end - Pic by Ranjith Perera

While the test in Galle was in progress the premier division one day semi-finals were played. Colts cc, SSC, Bloomfield cc, and Moor Sc got to that stage, The Sinhalese Sports Club had a rough road to get to the last four. They won the first game against Ragama cc and then lost the next three which included Moors Sc whom they ultimately met in the finals.

The Maitland Place club has always been in the forefront of the game in this country. The Club provides every facility for cricket playing members to develop and progress. Discipline and playing the game in the correct spirit is always maintained. In short “the game is always more important than the player”

It is such values inculcated to the players that brought the national captain Mahela Jayawardena to play in the final the day after the Test match. Former captain Arjuna Ranatunga always came back and played for the Club, straight after a test series at home or overseas. He still plays division three club cricket and is a shining example for young cricketers. In the same breath young Chanaka Welegedara must be mentioned for bowling admirably for Moors Sc and turning up for his Club the day after the test match.

After the disastrous start the SSC Cricket Committee got cracking. Leby Mahinda Halangoda (Chairman), Michael de Zoysa (Committee Member) Ashan de Silva (Co Ordinator) and Naveed Nawaz (Coach) they set the wheels in motion. Intense training, including morning sessions, drove the players to search for maximum success. Three players who performed well right through all the games were Nuwan Zoysa,, Kaushal Silva and Shalika Karunanayaka, they were, the backbone of the team’s success and in the final too they put in the performances that made the difference and helped SSC - ably led by Avishka Gunawardena- to win yet another trophy.

Now, onto the Inter Provincial one day tournament and the Club main League Championship. The provincial tournament has been launched. Sri Lankan cricket needs a major competition, over and above the Club tournaments. Clubs are established, with most of them now having the infrastructure to provide the initial requirements for players on finishing school cricket. Whilst that is maintained and developed, provincial cricket must be targeted to take over as the major competition, in the near future.

There have been some rumblings about the selection for the five teams. No question a few of those who should be in are not in. Ultimately, selections should be done by a provincial selection panel, with the National selectors only providing the guidance. There will be no short comings; there will be teething problems that is to be expected.

What must be confirmed is that these games must go on, developing and progressing to reach the levels of Australian domestic cricket. Quite simply, Australia is the best cricketing nation because their domestic cricket at ALL levels are of high standard and superbly organized. Sri Lanka must reach that pinnacle as soon as possible.

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