13th February 2000
Leonard de Zilva makes a break
He seemed surprised as his name was announced but the spectators were not, for Leonard de Zilwa played a vital role in the team's victory. By Ravi Nagahawatte
As Havelocks basked in glory with their win in seven's rugby last week there was a player from the club who added to the excitement at the awards distribution.
"Man of the tournament - Leonard de Zilwa" was all the man with the mike had to say for the crowd to go wild.
He seemed surprised as his name was announced but the spectators were not, for Leonard de Zilwa played a vital role in the team's victory.
de Zilwa, a former Peterite, is all for his team where glory is concerned but not for himself.
"There were so many who played their hearts out so it was a bit tough for me to come and take the award" said de Zilwa who added that he never knew that such an award was on offer.
The utility player has always had little hopes and small ambitions as far as his career is concerned. But he states that this win has made every one think big at his club which won back some of it's lost glory with this win.
If one were to speak of his rugby career there will not be much to highlight as his achievements.
As for Leonard, a fifteen minute period he wore the national jersey for his country seems to be the thing that he would recall as pleasantest of memories in the sport.
These memorable moments were experienced in the 1996 Neighbours Cup Tournament when he replaced the number one scrum half Champika Nishantha for quarter of an hour.
However rather than speaking of the achievements in his club rugby career which started in 1995, Leonard would emphasise more on the lessons he has learned from being in the game.
"Once I wore the national jersey and represented the country, I thought I should just lie low and be in the game. But Lionel Almeida, a former Sri Lanka wing three quarter, told me that it is much harder to retain what you have achieved compared to the effort one puts to achieve things. His words were never so true.
It took three full years to come back to the side and play again as I did not give my full effort into the game. It was my fault", says Leonard.
There is many more years of rugby left in this player who at times was forced to find good reason to continue the game. But today he says with confidence that he hopes to be the number one scrum half in both sevens and fifteen a side rugby.
By Br. Baptist Croos F.S.C.
At the recently concluded Carlton and United Triangular series in Australia, where Pakistan and India participated, it was certainly a victory for professionalism.
Since cricket is a gentleman's game, it cannot be played otherwise. Professionalism requires great efficiency, skill, competence and excellence. The team that possessed these sterling qualities obviously triumphed. Others have only to admire and emulate the champions.
Players are paid handsomely; the remuneration and fringe benefits are in superabundance; and most of the players bask in their popularity. Hence they are duty-bound to exhibit their best performance. That is professionalism.
No doubt, they are a formidable team; a dream-team at the turn of this century.
The Australians go about their tasks quite professionally. Whether it is batting, bowling, fielding, running, catching, throwing and field placing, they are emerging as the masters. Naturally a victory is often assured. They may fail once or twice, well that's a part of the law of averages, but they usually triumph, because they take keen interest and genuine pride in what they do. On the whole it is a well-knit team, excelling in professionalism. Each player, worth his salt, is reliable, dependable and responsible. Their team-spirit is magnificent. No wonder they are world champions and presently Number One team in the world. Hearty congratulations to them for having annexed the Carlton and United Trophy and given a thrilling display of professionalism.
Once the World Champions, the Pakistanis are remarkable fighters and very often snatch victories from the jaws of defeat. They enthrall the crowds, that turn out in great numbers to watch them play. Their captain Wasim Akram is very inspiring and fired with enthusiasm. The players usually rally round him and give their best performance in a moment of crisis.
On several occasions they have fought back exceptionally well. All credit must go to them for their fighting spirit. However, in this Carlton and United Series, they wilted under pressure and were beaten convincingly by the mighty Australians.
The Pakistanis could not match their superior professionalism. It was a cakewalk for the Australians. Knowing their calibre, the Pakistanis could have given a better performance. We wish them good luck in the future.
The Indians are no novices in the game either. They have etched their name in cricket history as a power-packed team and have performed extremely well in the past.
In fact they turned tables in 1983 when they won the Prudential Cup beating the then renowned West Indies and emerged as the One Day World Champions. Of late, they have been giving lack-lustre performances against the Pakistanis and often get thrashed by them. May be, this is a psychological problem which the Indians themselves must sort out. Sachin Tendulkar is a brilliant world class batsman who holds the record for the highest number of centuries in the one day series. Even he has a considerable number of Test centuries under his belt. He is an excellent all-rounder too; but as a captain he hasn't the ability to lead aggressively. This is the second time he has been given the honour of being the captain but he hasn't come up to the mark. May be the responsibility is weighing him down heavily.
Demoralized as ever, the Indians must take the lion's share of their pathetic display and downfall at the Carlton and United Series. They have the potential but not the power to believe in themselves.
They have classy batsmen and bowlers but they lack conviction and motivation. If they can work out a favourable solution, be inspired and determined, they will be a power to reckon with.
Security will be of great concern when the Royal-Thomian cricket encounter unfolds another chapter, the 121st, this millennium year.
This historic encounter will be played from March 9-11 at the Sinhalese Sports Club grounds.
This 121-year-old cricket encounter has always provided both the young and the old the opportunity to have fun and frolic.
However hooliganism too has crept into this encounter recently. This has caused great concern to the organisers.
An occasional invasion of the pitch has turned out to be a fad with many a spectator and the circumstances are such that the organisers have made arrangements to obtain the services of the Military Police to maintain law and order.
Security measures were tightened from the year 1998 and the organisers this year have left nothing to chance and will ensure that no playing time is lost due to crowd invasions.
The Royal-Thomian organising commitee chairman Nimal Dias Jayasinghe speaking at a press briefing held recently said that though the security measures are strict it will in no way curtail the spectators from enjoying themselves.
Castrol (Ceylon) Limited have come forward to sponsor this circket extravaganza. The winners will be presented with the D.S. Senanayake shield.
A key feature in this year's encounter will be a parade around the grounds by 52 past cricketers from both schools.
This is scheduled at 11am on the final day of the match.
The limited over cricket encounter which is played for the Mustang Trophy is fixed for March 18 at the same venue.
S. Thomas' are led this year by Gihan Fernando while the Royalists are marshalled by Ruchira Jayasuriya.
The Thomians won last year's encounter under the leadership of Naren Ratwatte.
Acid test in Pakistan
Most nations outside the sub-continent consider Pakistan to be one of the toughest cricket tours to embark on. The reasons are many - ranging from, the type of surface the game is played on, hostile and partisan crowds, the heat, humidity and dust, different food, a culture that restricts social life, all cramp the lifestyle of a cricketing tourist. The Sri Lankans too face similar challenges.
Of course the real Test is on the playing field. Sanath Jayasuriya and his men are pitted against the Pakistani's to play three One Day Internationals and three Test matches in addition to the side games.
The preparation for the tour has been absolutely contrasting. The Pakistani's are back home after a gruelling tour of Australia with hardly any time to rest their bones. It was a tour that exposed many of their weaknesses. The Aussies outplayed them in every department of the game in both the Test matches and the One Dayers. Beating the Indians in all but one game was the only consolation they had.
Such defeats inflict great mental effects. That is the major setback. It is all in the mind. To get back into a mental frame where they begin to believe in the ability and the teams ability to win consistently is what is required at the moment.
At present Pakistan is the country amongst the international cricket playing nations that churn out the most number of naturally talented cricketers. Many youngsters get carried away believing that this natural talent will help them reach great heights. Yes, the brilliant like the Tendulkars do. But they are a rare breed. The advent of television and videos had distracted the role that coaches play amongst young cricketers.
Inthikab Alam the Pakistan Coach was quoted recently saying, that the Pakistani's lacked cricketing sense.
A major part of that sense is accumulated by studying the game both on and off the field. Talking to Coaches and those who have played the game upto a high level is a definite way of developing both knowledge and sense.
It will be interesting to see how the Pakistan selectors react to the performances "Down Under". Will they make drastic changes? Do they have good enough replacements? Players like Wasim Akram, Ijaz Ahmed, Inzaman Ul-Haq, Waqar Younis are now in the autumn of their careers.
It will not be too long when they will have to make way for younger players. The important thing is to implement changes at the correct time to maintain a balance between youth and experience.
Since Sanath Jayasuriya took over the reigns as national captain, at the end of the day, the results have been achieved. After a not very promising start in the AIWA Cup, the team turned tables on the Aussies to annex the trophy. Then they won the first Test against the same opposition and with the rains affecting the next two games, they clinched the series too.
Zimbabwe was a success both in terms of the results of the Test Series and the One Dayers and also in terms of grooming young players. It was a team building tour and no doubt what was expected was achieved.
Since then the players have rested. They have trained under the guidance of Coach Dav Whatmore. Some of them have had match practice in the domestic competition. All so different to the hustle and bustle the Pakistani's have been undergoing.
The key to the Sri Lankans' success on this tour will be on how well the bowlers perform. The oppostion batsmen have received a battering at the hands of Aussies and must not be permitted to recover.
The bowling performance on the Zimbabwean tour was not spectacular but was steady enough.
They should work on the same lines. Barring Muttiah Muralitharan the other bowlers may not be able to run through opposition batting lines, but a collective effort of line and length bowling with some subtle variations, should make up a formidable attack.
With there being vacancies in the top order during the past two series there was obviously some doubt about performing against the best in the world. Now, Jayasuriya, Atapattu, Kaluwitharana, Jayawardena, Arnold and Dilshan should be aware of their responsibilities and should also feel settled in their positions in the order. The skipper must feel confident that the batters around him are now capable of performing their tasks.
Finally, Sri Lanka hold the edge in the fielding department and must ensure it stays that way. Watch out for some exciting cricket. It will be an acid Test for Sri Lanka.
In my view, to be an ideal batsman, he should have the following characters:
"The Brain" of Steve Waugh!
Dr. Roshan Jayaweera,
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