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16th January 2000

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Why cold shoulder Kumar Dharmasena?

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Why cold shoulder Kumar Dharmasena?

By Marlon Fernandopulle

Former Sri Lanka Test and One Day International Kumar Dharmasena, who was reported to the International Cricket Conference (ICC) for a suspect bowling action 16 months ago is still fighting a frustrating and lone battle to make a comeback.

While some bowlers with suspect actions enjoy the privilege of being given the 'all clear' signal overnight (after appeals made from powerful quarters) and others are cleared after working and changing their actions Kumar Dharmasena is left to ponder over his changed action and is literally in cold storage today. It's indeed strange but that's how cricket's governing body the ICC conducts it's affairs. It has no clear cut policy for bowlers who are reported for suspect actions. As a result the game and Sri Lanka has lost a fine allrounder

The 30-year-old fastish off-cutter was reported during Sri Lanka's tour of England in 1998. Subsequently the ICC advised the local Cricket Board not to include him for any tours and to work on his action. Dharmasena was then sent to England to work along with Fred Titmus. Accordingly Dharmasena was asked to shorten his run up and bring his legs closer (at the point of delivery) resembling an orthodox off spinner's action. As required a video with the new action was submitted to the ICC panel on illegal deliveries. However to the bowler's surprise the action was again viewed as illegal by the panel.

To make matters worse for Kumar the local Cricket Board was in turmoil and there was little or nothing done by the Interim Cricket Board to push his case and get his name cleared. This was clearly frustrating and dissappointing for the all-rounder.

Despite this setback Dharmasena continued to work on his action with D.S. de Silva and Lalith Kaluperuma to change it further. In August last year another video of his actions was submitted to the ICC which was again rejected saying the majority of the members are not satisfied and insist that the action has a 'jerk'.

Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore had a close look at the bowler's action recently and has expressed total satisfaction. This prompted the coach to invite Dharmasena for practices with the national pool. Thus Dharmasena is once again at practice with his former colleagues but not in a position to be included until the ICC clears his bowling action. Infact now the Cricket Board is making preparations to send another video of the bowler's action to the ICC who strangely will once again decide the fate of the bowler.

Cricket coaching clinics for outstation schools

The launching ceremony of the islandwide Cricket Coaching Clinics by the Sri Lanka Cricket Association in the UK in partnership with the Sri Lanka Schools' Cricket Association took place at the Colombo Inter-Continental Hotel.

Schoolboys in the age groups of 10 to 15 are eligible to participate in these coaching clinics due to be held in Kurunegala, Kandy, Galle and Ratnapura numbering over 200 picked from less privileged schools.

The clinics will be conducted by W.A.N. Silva, Brendon Kuruppu, Sunil de Silva and several other coaches which will be held for a duration of two days.

The coaching clinics will be followed by a tournament in the four provinces with the champions being in line for the Sri Lanka Cricket Association UK league trophy.

In the second year four more provinces will conduct coaching clinics followed by a tournament among the eight provinces.

The schoolboys will be accompanied by their respective cricket coaches who will benefit from the new methods of coaching.

The Sri Lanka Cricket Association in UK will conduct several more coaching clinics in the year 2002 and also award scholarships to talented cricketers with the cost being in the region of Rs. 1 million.

Those cricketers who have benefited by this association in the UK are Champaka Ramanayake, Athula Samarasekera, Dhammika Bulankulame and Dhammika Ranatunga.

The Sri Lanka Cricket Association in the United Kingdom was founded in 1984 on the recommendation of the High Commissioner Chandra Monarawela. This proposal of coaching clinics was mooted by its President Upali de Soysa.

Support to this project has come from Andrews Travels who unhesitatingly has agreed to provide transport facilities needed during the clinics free of charge.

Picture on right shows those who were present at the press conference. from left to right:

B.S.Perera, Indran Dorasingham, Mahen Perera, Upali de Soysa, President Sri Lanka Cricket Association in UK, Sunil de Silva and W.A.N. Silva and Brendon Kuruppu. (B.W)

Toddy and bullock cart races

My Police Memories
y S. Sivendran
(Retd. Snr. Supdt. of Police)

In March 1972 having returned from Colombo after winning the C.P. Wambeck Cup, my wife was blessed with a set of twins, both girls: Sharmila and Shashikala who are studying for their Ph.D. in the U.S.A. like their elder sister Renuka who was born only a year before them. All three were delivered by ceasarian operation by Dr. K. Ganeshan. We had a hectic time bringing up the three infants but had a very interesting time.

Whilst I was stationed at Kayts Police Station as Oficer-in-Charge I had to inquire into some interesting cases.

One day the Grama Sevaka of Pungudutivu came and informed me that 15 people had died after drinking toddy the same morning at Karaitivu, a small island within Pungdutivu. I proceeded to the scene which is about fifteen miles away from Kayts and conducted investigations. The small island of Karaitivu was a sandy place with a small population where water was scarce.

In the evenings they dug small pits and collected whatever water that springs from them and pour them into clay pots and leave them for the night so that the sandy residue in the water settles down and then the water is used mainly for cooking and is seldom used for drinking. But everyone drinks toddy to quench their thirst as there are plenty of Palmyrah trees from which toddy is tapped.

On that particular day, the villagers had gone to the only toddy booth in the village after breakfast for their regular drink.

The toddy tapper had brought his collection of toddy for the morning and handed over the same to the owner of the toddy booth who served everyone who began to gulp down the toddy. But on that day the toddy had tasted sour and one complained about this to the owner, who was very annoyed at this complaint as he was very proud that his toddy was the best and poured himself a big cup of toddy and drank it to check for himself.

Lo and behold! He and the other villagers who drank this toddy began to grimace in pain and fell dead on the spot!

The dead included a young man from this remote backward village who had done well in life by passing out as an Irrigation Engineer through sheer hardwork and perseverance in spite of all the handicaps and was working in Killinochchi. He had even contracted a marriage in Kayts to a wealthy girl. He had come to Kayts to see his newly born baby boy and then had visited the village to see his mother and father who served him with breakfast and also the toddy got down from the booth. He too was dead.

The inquiries revealed that folidol had been introduced into the large container that the toddy tapper carried on his bicycle into which he collected all the toddy he tapped from trees that morning. This has been done when the tapper had gone up the Palmyrah tree to tap toddy having parked his bicycle with the collected toddy in the container. A father and son who were enemies of the toddy booth owner were arrested as suspects and produced before the Jaffna and Kayts Magistrate Collin Mendis and were remanded. But they were discharged during the non-summary proceedings due to lack of direct evidence.

During this period the beaches bordering Kayts in Karampon and Suruwil were used as landing places of smuggled goods from India such as sarees, chillies and hard to get luxury items which were not found in Sri Lanka. Large quantities of coconut oil too were smuggled out of Sri Lanka from these beaches to India in return by the smugglers. My staff and I spent a busy schedule spending sleepless nights on these beaches detecting these smuggled items and promptly produced the contraband and the suspects before the Jaffna-Collector of Customs S.M.J. Senaratne, who was functioning in this capacity at Jaffna for a record 12 years and he levied heavy fines on the smugglers and confiscated the smuggled items.

He was a very popular officer in Jaffna among the Police and the public and later he went on to be elevated as Director-General of Customs in Colombo and today he is the Secretary to the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication and the Media.

One of the most attractive and looked forward to events in Kayts during my stay was the annual cart races which were held during the Hindu New Year Festival in April where huge crowds gathered to witness these thrilling races where hundreds of bullock carts are drawn by specially bred bulls with garlands round their necks and raced along the open stretch of barren land by the Kayts lagoon and which ran parallel to the Jaffna-Kayts Road. At the end of the races which is run throughout the day in a festive atmosphere, huge sums of money were paid to the owners of the winning teams of the carts and bulls.

These cart races brought back to memory the chariot races in the M.G.M.'s film "Ben Hur" where beautiful horses drew decortated chariots and raced during the days of the Roman Empire.

Billiards and snooker at school level soon?

By Bernie Wijesekera

The Sri Lanka Billiards and Snooker Association's vision is to promote cue sport at grassroot level whilst taking it to the schools in the new millennium.

This was revealed at a press briefing held at the Otters A.C. by its young president Sajjad Mawzoon, for the inaugural national Snooker Championship year 2000 for the U.W. Sumathipala Challenge Trophy to be staged later this month.

Fittingly late U.W. Sumathipala, was one of the pioneers of cue sport. He was the beacon light for the creation of the Sumathi Group where his two sons Jagath, a former president of the B and S.A. and Thilanga have spread its wings for further development started by their father.

Jagath, now its chairman, along with Sam Silva and Ray Illangakoon attended the briefing to sign a long-term package for the inaugural national snooker championship that, too in memory of his father.

The governing body besides the president, was represented by Omar Haji Sulaiman (V. President) energetic secretary Sarath J. De Alwis, Anton Kandiah (Treasurer) and D.G. Daluwatte (Chief Referee).


Sumathipala, addressing the media, said that his firm was happy to be associated with B and S.A. for the promotion of the sport islandwide. He commended its young president Sajjad Mawzoon and his committee for their vision on a long-term project, that too to take the sport to the schools in the districts. as a past president he too belonged to this level. With a concerted team effort nothing is impossible. The committee headed by Mawzoon, are on the right track and the future of the sport holds good. Sri Lanka produced its first amateur world champion in 1973 - pencil-slim M.J.M. lafir, won the championship staged in Bombay. Later U.W. Sumathipala accompanied him. Both are not in our midst today, but has left an indelible mark in the annals of cue sport.

Mawzoon, who also spoke said by the year 2004 cue sports Billiards, Snooker Pool Carrom will be one of the disciplines at the Olympics.

He further added that the association has received all encouragement from the Minister of Sports S.B. Dissanayake for its further development that too among the schools in the district. Dissanayake has done much to uplift sports among the rural youth. Now he has come in a big way initially by providing with four tables for the schools in four district in N'Eliya, Kandy, Galle and in Colombo.

It will be available next month. It will also help in the birth of districts Schools associations. It will be administered by the Provincial Director of Education, in collaboration with the Director of Sports. All schools will have access to train. To give that much needed competition to the fledglings, they will stage a President's Cup (schools) a team event at district level.

Sri Lanka, will be affiliated to the Asian Schools S and B Federation. With this encouragement Sri Lanka may be able to emulate greats like late Lafir, Henry Boteju, K.H. Sirisoma, Chutti Mansoor etc., in the future he added.

Capt. Sarath De Alwis outlined the four stages where they have earmarked and already it has become a reality. It will be a hive of activity for the cueists and its administrators. Firstly B & SA have not forgotten those who helped to keep the sport in the limelight in the past. K.H. Sirisena Hewage the humble reporter - a donation has been given to his next kith and kin. The media has to play a vital role for the development of any sport.

Constructive criticism is vital for its development in any sport. It must be taken in the correct spirit, De Alwis added. The B and SA will form many more district associations and help them to organise tournaments and run its affairs. They will also oversee the needs of the schools. Power has to be shared, he added.

Dual contest

There will be a dual contest between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu B and SA starting this year. The first contest will ne away from home.

Today both billiards and snooker is dominated by father and a son. Evergreen Henry and son Susantha - both are reigning champions. In their wake there is another talented player emerging from the YMBA Galle,Naresh Samarawickrema. A fine gesture by Henry Boteju afforded the lad to take part in the 1999 Amateur Snooker World Championship. In his first outing , he excelled by winning two matches. Earlier it was Henry, who was picked to make it after defeating Naresh in the trials. But the veteran cueist stood down.

Plans are afoot to get down a foreign (English) coach to train the school- boys. This is a long-term project. With the support given by the Sports Ministry, sponsors and well-wishers cue sport is in for better times, De Alwis concluded.


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