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12th July 1998

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Rover points out...

Bad organisation

It is true the organisers must have had a hard time controlling the crowds that thronged the Singer-Akai Nidahas Trophy final between Sri Lanka and India last Tuesday. But it left a bad taste in people well-known being taken for a ride.

o A very popular commentator was not invited, but when he approached the main gate to buy a ticket he was offered a complimentary ticket at Rs. 600/- with no reduction whatsoever by a complete outsider. How come this outsider had this complimentary ticket?

o The 'C' car pass was given to a commentator who was doing commentaries over Rupavahini, but to his surprise no C park was marked at the Premadasa International Stadium, which left him no option but to park his car on a private car park outside the Stadium, and that too at a fee and walk about one mile to the Stadium.

o Another commentator was offered an A car pass for Rs. 300/- at the gate by an outsider. How come this outsider had the A car pass with him.

Bad Example

When all the past captains of Sri Lanka lined-up for the Singer Akai Nidahas Trophy final, one was absent. Was it that he had too much work to be completed for the two months of absence?

Under pressure?

Not only did he go wicketless in the recently concluded Nidahas Trophy Tournament but gave away 140 runs in the 21 overs bowled - that is 6 runs per over. Yet he still finds himself in the plane to UK. Alarming statistics which makes Rover wonder whether the so called national selectors have played the game or could they be bowling under pressure?

Be fair to sports in Int. schools

Many past sportsmen and women, including some sports greats of the present generation are of the opinion that debarring International schools from participating in sports events on the local scene does not encourage sports in the country.

They voiced: "If foreign players could be allowed to play for clubs in rugby, why not allow 95 per cent of the locals studying in these schools to participate in competitions, which no doubt, would raise the standards".

A typical example is : Swimmers picked to represent Sri Lanka at the Malaysian Championships will not be permitted to represent the country at the Age Group Championships in China since the selections are made on the performances of the Public Schools Championships, which many sportsmen and women feel is not done!

Recently the Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Mr. S.B.Dissanayake also stated that it is very unfair to deprive students studying at international schools from participating in sports events, which also reduces the glamour of talented stars participating.

The Minister of Education and Higher Education should be advised to remove this restriction with immediate effect which will enable the students of international schools from participatng.

At present International schools conduct tournaments for students sponsored by each of them to keep the sports going. - AF

Dolphin double

Dolphin Hotel, Negombo bagged a double when their men's and women's cricket teams bagged trophies at the 22nd annual Travel Trade soft ball cricket tournament at the BRC grounds yesterday. In the men's final Dolphin Hotel, Negombo beat Club Palm Garden by five wickets.

Waragoda leads HNB to title

By Marlon Fernandopulle

Hatton National Bank led by Varuna Waragoda had easy access to the Mercantile A division Cricket Title when they trounced Access Group by eight wickets at the Sinhalese Sports Club grounds yesterday.

Debutants Access group were no match for the Bankers who completely outplayed them to win the game with 14.5 overs remaining.Access came into yesterdays final with an unbeaten record in the League stage but were beaten by a Superior HNB team that gave a good all-round performance.Both teams were sans the National Players who are currently in England.

HNB won the toss and invited Access to take first lease of the wicket.Tight bowling by the Bankers kept the Access batsmen under control who were made to work hard for every run.They lost wickets at regular intervals and were in trouble at 103 for 6 before Gayan Wijekoon(34) and Asela Pathirana(37) put on a face saving 70 runs for the 7 th wicket and brought some respectability to the total.Access were finally bundled out for 189 in their 50 overs.Chintaka Jayasinghe(2/26),Shanuka Dissanayake(2/29) and former Sri Lanka Test bowler Sajeewa Silva(2/47) who has been surprisingly overlooked were the chief wicket takers for the Bankers.

HNB set about the task in style with openers Avishka Gunawardene(29) and Nilantha Bopage rattling 59 for the first wicket.After Gunawardene's dismissal Saman Jayantha joined Bopage to add another 84 runs for the 2 nd wicket to dash hopes of any Access victory.Bopage departed for a swashbuckling 62 in 76 balls which included 6 boundaries.

Skipper Waragoda(25 n o) and Saman Jayantha(43 n o) carried the Bankers through without any further loss as HNB reached the target in the 36 th over to record a convincing victory and win the Mercantile A division title.


Access Group-189 all out in 50 overs (Indika De Saram 35 Anil Riddegammanagedara 15 Pasan Wanasinghe 22 Gayan Wijekoon 34 Asela Pathirana 37 Sajeewa Silva 2/47 Chintaka Jayasinghe 2/26 Shanuka Dissanayake 2/29)

HNB - 193/2 in 35.1 overs (Avishka Gunawardene 29 Nilantha Bopage 62 Saman Jayantha 43 n o Varuna Waragoda 25 n o)

Why was Peter Manuel removed from the final?

Dropping of International Umpire

It happened in the past and it's being continued even now. How was the appointed international umpire Peter Manuel removed from officiating in the Nidahas Trophy Final between Sri Lanka and India on the eve of the match?

The Umpires committee must give an answer to this. It was a talking point at the grounds.

Was he removed as he was found wanting or due to outside influence?

It shocked not only the cricketing public, but also the umpiring fraternity and left a stigma hard to be erased.

Two players on either side, namely Robin Singh of India was ruled run out when Jayasuriya did not have the ball in his hand. It was a line decision.

The umpire could have put this to the third umpire for a ruling, before ruling him out.

While Kumar Dharmasena was given LBW when the ball was rearing outside the leg stump.

On the whole the umpiring had much to be desired in this epoch-making final.

As for Robin Singh's run out, it would have been better, if Jayasuriya could have advised the umpire to revoke his decision as he knew well that he broke the stumps without the ball in his hands.

This could have won him and for the country much admiration for his sporting gesture.

Despite this, Sri Lanka still lost the match in the end in a cliffhanger.

Today apparently sportsmanship has deserted our sportsmen. But still it did happen in an inter-school match last season between Trinity and Royal at Asgiriya.

A Trinity batsman was given out caught at forward short-leg. But Royal skipper Shanaka Perera, who was fielding in front saw vividly that the ball was on the ground before it was taken.

He told the umpire to revoke the decision. A fine gesture indeed! The batsman profited from this magnanimous gesture by scoring some much needed runs.

In the process Royal lost to Trinity after a long, long lay-off; but they lost with dignity but won admiration all-round. It's the game that matters in the end not to win at all costs.

In 1992 December, in the Test match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand at the SSC grounds. umpire K. T. Francis and Ignatius Anandappa were billed to officiate. Surprisingly Francis was removed on the morning of the match for no rhyme or reason.

It stirred a hornet's nest even in the Kiwi camp, as it never happened apparently anywhere in the cricketing world, when the umpire was getting ready to walk out to the middle.

In this match Martin Crowe was ruled out caught by Asanka Gurusinha at forward short-leg. The close-in fielders shouted 'Alluwa kiapan'! But, Crowe stood his ground and refused to walk out as the ball was taken off the ground. Umpire Anandappa, revoked his earlier decision. Crowe, went on to get a stroke-filled 107.

At the reception that followed after the match the then, President of the Cricket Board Tyronne Fernando, gave martin Crowe, a special award for not walking out. It was a Comedy of Errors isn't it?

On July 10, (Friday) both K.T. Francis and Peter Manuel left for England to attend a five-day seminar organised by the ICC for the international panel of umpires and the match referees.

Before picking holes about umpiring abroad, the hierarchy should do well to put their own house in order by calling upon the local fraternity to act without fear or favour and improve standards. Of course there may be human errors and that's part and parcel of the game.

SLCFV to plan Chanaka's cricket future Down Under

By Bernie Wijesekera

Chanaka Wijesinghe, the 16-year-old lad from St. Sylvester's College, Kandy, a young future prospect, who has already received a 4 year sponsorship package from two Sri Lankans now domiciled in Victoria, Australia - namely David Crus and Bertie Ekanayake, is in further luck's way.

This sponsorship package was made possible, when the lad met Crus and Ekanayake at Asgiriya during the Sri Lanka-Zimbabwe Test match..

They were impressed with the performances of Wijesinghe, which resulted in a Rs. 50,000/- per year for him to learn and play. The initial cheque was handed over by Eddie Gray to Roy de Silva on behalf of the sponsors earlier at a simple ceremony.

On Tuesday (July 7), the lad along with his Prefect-of-Games Chandra Mahawattege, met Sri Lanka's cricket representative in Australia Dr. Quintus de Zilwa and Bertie Ekanayake to hand over his progress chart and for a further discussion, at Hotel Taj Samudra.

Incidentally, the Sri Lanka Cricket Foundation in Victoria where the duo are key officials doing much for the development of sport in Sri Lanka.

Many talented players have benefitted from it in the past. Cricketers of the calibre of Aravinda de Silva and Roshan Mahanama are a few who are key members today in the national team. They have impressed at home and abroad, after a stint in Victoria and improved their skills - thanks to the SLCFV.

Ruwan Kalpage and left-arm spinner Gamini Perera, too were afforded an opportunity to play cricket in Victoria according to Ekanayake.

Plans are afoot for young Wijesinghe, to be given a similar opportunity of playing in Victoria once he completes his school academic career. This was revealed to The Sunday Times by Dr. Quintus de Zilwa. He further stated that the lad will be given the chance of playing for a leading club in Victoria. Ekanayake, will be in overall charge and play a role of a foster-father.

It won't stop there. He will undergo training in a leading coaching academy in Victoria and probably be sent to the A.I.S. Commonwealth Bank Academy, where Rod Marsh the legendary Aussie wicket-keeper, is the head coach.

According to Ekanayake, David Crus, who is the head of the Knox Tavern, is a key figure, who supports the SLCFV, with men and material.

If one is prepared to learn there are quite a number of opportunities for youngsters to further their academic careers i.e to learn and play and make their future stable. The SLCFV will look into this area, too said Ekanayake.

Wijesinghe was interviewed by this scribe:-

Q: How did you fare during the last season (1998), for your school cricket team.

A: Yes, I did reasonably well with the willow as a righthanded batsman. My best effort was 102 against Thurstan; followed by scores of 76 (Dharmaraja), 73 (Kingswood) and 71 (Mahinda). With this support rendered and encouragement given to me by the sponsors, I am confident of further improving my skills, with devotion and dedication, he nodded.

Q: What are your parents doing?

A: My father is a principal of a Junior school in Kadugannawa and mother too, is a teacher. They are giving all the support. In a family of five I am the youngest.

Q: So you are like Jonty Rhodes, the amiable S. African cricketer - one of the best fielders in the world. His parents, too are teachers. I hope you are not smashing windows like him, while playing cricket at home.

What made you take to cricket. And, who was your first coach?

A- I got interested, while watching this game as a kid. My idol is Roshan Mahanama. His approach on and off the field really interested me. My first coach was Roland Perera, (brother of Malcolm Perera, who is attached to the Cricket Board). At present Mr. Mahawattage is my coach.

The Principal of St. Sylvester's, Mr.A.B. Herath is a source of inspiration, not only to me, but for all young sportsmen. With him in the driving seat, the school is in the forefront in inter-school sports be it cricket, boxing, rugby etc. Incidentally in the past the school produced some fine pugilists the likes of the Bulner brothers, Herathge, Nimal Leuke, under Derek Raymond.

Q: What about your studies?

A: I am not going to neglect my studies merely because of cricket. I will be taking my O/L in Dec. '98. Studies and sports go hand in hand. I will pursue my A/L and will be keen to do Computer Science. My brother is a medical student.

According to Dr. Quintus de Zilwa, the SLCFV, who initiated the move to get Dav Whatmore, to coach in Sri Lanka is doubly keen to help talented young sportsmen to reach stardom and do proud for the country.

There are many more Sri Lankans domiciled in Victoria, prepared to help their country of birth to hit the top in the international sports scene, the affable medical practitioner concluded.

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