3rd September 2000
Editorial/Opinion| Plus| Business|
Sports| Mirror Magazine
By Leonard Ranjith MahaarachchiSri Lanka's veteran wicket-keeper-batsman, Romesh Kaluwitharana seems to be singing his swan-song nowadays, having not being able to make his reappearance, for quite some time now.
Lankan cricket lovers are made to nurse fears that 'Little Kalu', as Lanka crazy Tony calls him, is very unlikely to stage a come back. They even harbour thoughts that what happened to stylish batsman cum star fielder, Roshan Mahanama, might befall diminutive Romesh, alias 'Moratu Puthraya' as the Sinhala commentators love to call him.
Cricket fans could compare the fate of Kalu to that of Roshan Mahanama, as the modus operandi seems to be not very dissimilar in both cases. Fans may recall that the fall of Mahanama, was initially marked with the changing of his batting position. Wasn't that the same with my countryman Romesh?
Romesh was Sri Lanka's opening batsman in the one-dayers, as the world saw him. He quite ably partnered master-blaster Sanath Jayasuriya, putting all other opening batsmen to the shade. When Kalu came as the number six batsman, a position that was polarized to his top slot, fans may have had that premonition that Kalu was in the decline, much as Mahanama was.
Profiling Kalu is no easy task. He was the show-piece in Lankan cricket, during our heydays in the sport, since winning Test status, a dozen and a half years back. Kalu capably filled the vacuum created by one-time star keeper, Mahesh Goonetilleke. The latter fell from grace subsequent to his joining a tribe that wished to be friendly with the South Africans, who were toppled over from the cricket scene, due to their apartheid policy. This unholy alliance with the racial minded S. Africans resulted in Sri Lanka's loss of half of our star-studded players, who were banned to play the gentlemen's game, or the game of the Flannelled Fools, as some identified the men of cricket.
Fortunately for cricket in this happy island, young and upcoming players filled the vacant places of those expelled, and among them, it is only very ordinary to say, that Kalu, did not make us feel the difference. But, unlike in the case of Mahanama, cricket lovers I am sure do hope that it is not the end of the road for Kaluwitharana.
Romesh Kaluwitharana learnt his cricketing alphabet at his alma-mater, St. Sebastian's College, Moratuwa. The Sebastianite cricket ground is Kalu's neighbour, for out of his window in his room, Kalu could have watched as many a game, as was played there, be it school cricket, club cricket or whatever. This proximity, might have induced Romesh to not only admire the game, but play it, to the extent he was a live-wire in the Lankan Test squad, where he shone behind stumps, having donned the mantle of a captain of the college team, before, a career, that moulded his future experience in international cricket.
Short in stature, but made of the stuff known as 'Dynamite' Romesh, really was the heart-throb of all Lankan cricket fans, or at least lakhs of them. His stunted physique, never was a hindrance to his agility, and he was a master acrobat, when it came to fielding behind the sticks, his size notwithstanding. This is not the first time that Romesh had a decline, for some half a decade back, he was ousted by Lanka de Silva, who was in turn ousted by a nasty blow from Indian paceman Srinath.
Kalu came back then, with a vengeance, and coupled with lusty hitting made himself a hero overnight, earning the admiration of lakhs of fans here and abroad. If Romesh failed to impress on his normal batsmanship, it could be attributed to the change of position, that was thrust on him, by those in authority, and that cannot be reckoned as a batting failure, of his usual form.
Here the blame must be squarely taken by those who advocated that change. But it is a foregone conclusion that asking a batsman to change places, was a sine qua non, for his outster at a subsequent stage, on the excuse, that he has failed in his ususal batting abilities.
So the verdict is that Kalu cannot be held responsible for his decline in batting. Leave that as it may, none can dare say that he has ceased to be the outstanding keeper he was, even though comparatively he may have shown a few lapses. Whatever it is, cricket lovers and Kaluwitharana fans, are hoping against hope that Romesh will be re-installed, to where he belongs, and that the finding of newcomer Sangakkara is not an excuse to drop Romesh, and that too, with vivid pictures still fresh in our minds, of Kalu's excellent performances in the World Cup of 1996, in particular, and his other scintillating performances in general.
Rumours are afloat, that Kalu's fall from grace is not of his own making, like in the case of Mahanama, who had to shoulder the responsibilities of a skipper willy nilly, due to Arjuna's non participation of the Sharjah series. In Kalu's case, it appears that someone wanted Sangakkara to be included in the national team, and that counting on his wicket-keeping experience in the domestic tournament, that someone paved the way for Kumar Sangakkara's entry, little realizing that it meant Kalu's ouster.
This is all good comradeship, but in the larger interest of the game of cricket it was very unsporty indeed. I have no soft corner for Romesh, though he is my son's best friend in and outside the class room of the Uyana school.
Neither do I bear any malice to that excellent sportsman Kumar Sangakkara, who with his first two or three appearances in cricket has made a name, above any other newcomer to the game. But when cricket becomes the glory of a nation, and that nation is Sri Lanka, the tiniest member in International cricket community, we cannot count on comradeship or that type of solidarity, but the game of cricket for what it is.
Coming back to Kalu's alma mater, it was a quirk of fate that another
Sebastianite played second fiddle to Kalu, in the same role, and that at
a series away from Sri Lanka, Prasanna Jayawardene was to don the gloves
if and when Kaluwitharana fell ill. And hey presto, Kalu did fall sick,
but it was not Prasanna who was selected again by those interested parties,
I referred to above, and Sangakkara was made to fill the vacancy, and little
Kalu bundled away home, as sick and hence unwanted for the rest of the
games in that country. Now Prasanna seems to suffer the fate of Kalu, much
earlier, than any other on whom befell that same fate. Our gentlemen who
are directing the destinies of cricket, need to know, that the fans are
interested in national cricket and not interested hence in other niceties,
that may spell doom to the game, simply because those at the helm, want
to use this national game to suit their whim and fancy.
Yoon won the silver division while Jung won the bronze division in the Ladies' Golf Union August extra medal.
The positions of the 16th Ladies' Golf Union played throughout the year
counts towards the scores of the Hilton Grand Prix and the leaders are
as follows: Heeran Bang - 875, G. J. Jung - 853, I.H. Lee - 846, N.H. Yoon
- 829, E.J. Shon - 746, Yvonne Abhayaratne - 742, V. de Silva - 713, A.A.
Jin Chiy - 703, A. Senadhira - 644, E. Merj - 603.
By Rohan JayetillekeCricket in the post industrial age of England was encouraged and promoted in the British Isles to curb burgeoning 'gambling and drinking' ( going on the binge) of the young of the age. This became a very successful ploy. However, with the advent of value-added abbreviated game of one day internationals, gambling and bookmakers have become the sweet essence of cricket , with ' Cheque Book Cricket' taking over the game. It is huge payments, to players either to underplay and provide pitch information for the bookmakers to make a rich harvest of money from the gamblers. In this scenario, a pre-lunch hundred in the post 1970 era of 'commercialization globalized' cricket, has lost its glamour. Hence it is best to delve into the pre-one day era about pre-lunch hundreds.
Sanath Jayasuriya in the recently concluded Sri Lanka-South Africa Test Series, ran short of his first pre- lunch hundred just by a meagre four runs. The philosophy ingrained in this shortage is, Sanath, the skipper of Sri Lanka hails from the same stables of Ruhuna sons and daughters, who are self-sacrificing in all human activities and the foremost in their mind is to serve the Motherland. This incident pinpoints a glaring lapse in match coverage. If there was a statistician in attendance or the commentator had an inkling that Sanath was on the path to a pre-lunch hundred, through the team manager a message could have been relayed to him. This was not done, as commentators are more prophets than historians, especially of Sri Lankan origin and they waste their time as well as viewers of television and listeners to radio trying to coach the cricketers in the middle, when the match is in progress. The only exception to this poor performance by commentators is Aubrey Kuruppu, with his running commentary on Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation wave lengths and his tempo of commentaries is now on par with those of late Johnny Moise of Australia, Tony Crozier of West Indies and Christopher Martin Jenkins and in the local scene of R. B. Wijesinghe, Michael de Zoysa, Skandakumar, Lucien de Zoysa and Gamani Goonesena.
In the years following the Second World war a pre-lunch hundred became a rarity. On his Test debut against Australia at Manchester in 1896, 23-year-old Kumar Shri Ranjitsijhi, playing for England followed his first innings 62 with a great 154 not out when England had to follow on. Batting on 41 when the third day's play began, Ranji added 113 out of 196 in 130 minutes before lunch which was taken when England were all out. Australia won this 2nd Test by three wickets, but Ranji, went into the annals of cricket with a precedent established on Saturday July 18, 1896, just 104 years ago, and many a cricketer is in pursuit of this milestone in their batting career.
In 1902, six years later, on the very same ground, Australian opener Victor Trumper (24) became the first to perform, even a greater feat of scoring a pre-lunch century on the first day of a Test match. After captain Joe Darling had won the toss, Trumper scored 103 in 113 minutes of play till taking lunch, when Australia was 173 for one. Trumper was out for 104 soon after the lunch break, but he had paved the way for Australia's victory, which was just a hair's breath of three runs.
In the first ever South Africa-Australia Test in Johannesburg in October, 1902, emerged Aussie left - hander Clem Hill (25) scoring a pre-lunch hundred on the third day after his side had to face the indignity of following on. Hill took his score from 22 to 138 in the pre-lunch session of play and eventually being out for 142.
The next instance had a long wait of nineteen years. In 1921, in the fifth Test against Australia Phil Mead (34) was 19 not out at stumps on the first day at The Oval and in 147 minutes batting before lunch the next day he added 109 runs and finally was 182 not out at lunch. In 1924 in the Second Test against South Africa at Lord's Jack Hobbs had his entry to the elite club of pre-lunch hundred maestros. Batting with 12 at stumps on the opening day, Hobbs plodded on to 114 in 150 minutes batting before lunch on the second day, in which assay he and Herbert Sutcliffe notched up partnership of 200. Hobbs was 41 years old and finally his score was 211.
Charles Macartney (40) took a leaf out of the book of Trumper, on Saturday, July 10, 1926 and notched up a hundred before lunch on the first day of the third England-Australia Test at Leeds. With the scoreboard reading one wicket down for no score, the Australian left hander, devastated the English attack with 151, of which he scored 112 in 116 minutes batting prior to lunch.The Headingley grounds at Leeds was to enter the history of cricket in 1929, producing another pre-lunch century. It was on the third day around. The 20-year-old South African H.G. Owen-Smith, with 27 not out in his side's second innings total of 116 for 7 at the draw of stumps on the second day, Owen-Smith, (nicknamed'Tuppy') blasted a breath-taking century, when the writing was on the wall on the last morning. He scored 102 in around two hours before being last out for 129.
In the next Test played at Headingley, England Vs Australia, in July
1930, Don Bradman then a 22-year-old lad, became the third batsman to score
a pre-lunch session hundred on the opening day coming in at No. 3 just
eight minutes after play began, he scored 105 in 112 minutes before lunch.
After lunch he went still stronger scoring another 100- plus. In 132 minutes
he amassed 115 runs, to be not out with 220 at tea. (Tea was Sri Lankan
brew from the Lipton's) In the 100 minutes after tea, Bradman scored 89
runs more and at close of play was batting with 309 - the highest ever
made by a batsman in a day's Test cricket ( I am open to correction, by
a cricket statistician) Bradman in his assay reached 100 in 99 minutes,
quicker than Trumper or Macartney.
By Annesley FerreiraIn the fifties and sixties, Hill School Nuwara Eliya and S. Thomas' College Gurutalawa with limited swimming facilities were powerful contenders to Public Schools and national swimming & diving Champions. Challenging Colombo Schools and Clubs and occasionally gave them a scare of their lives. The enormous benefactor munificence of late R.L. Hayman who gave the first (it is believed) competitive swimming pool to S. Thomas' College Mount Lavinia, gave the second to Gurutalawa. Sadly swimming is almost extinct at these two Hill Country Schools.
Swimming has been on the decline for the past two decades or more except for that brief burst of success in 1995 and the sporadic or intermittent individual performance of a talented few swimmers and divers. The relatively recent successes in swimming and diving have been the outstanding achievements of Julien Bolling, Dipika Chanmugam, Janaka Biyanwala, Ghefari Dulapandan, Shanika Ranasinghe at the Senior Level. Gihan Ranatunga, Asela Pradeep, Marlon Delano, Conrad Francis, Sean Lee, Radheesha Daluwatte, Theekshana Ratnasekera, at the Junior Level, only to name the few that would have attained the class of Julien and Dipika, had they the same scholarship that these two outstanding swimmers got to achieve their phenomenal success. To illustrate the point, Dipika's Coach was the assistant to world record holder and twice Olympic champion in freestyle events, Janet Evens' super-Coach Bud McAlister.
There were others from the outstations who made the mark, notably, R.M. Dammika of Ambalangoda, but never attained the class of Dipika. The stunning success of Julien at the South Asian Federation games in 1994 is yet to be repeated. NAASU could not develop two swimmers in the local class of the calibre of Julien and Dipika as at the writing of this expose. The one that could have achieved success was dumped by NAASU over the Olympic selection process.
For the record: Dipika Chanmugam won seven (7) Gold Medals and establishing five SAF records in 1996 in the 400 Metres Individual Medley (5:28.06) 200 Metres Freestyle (2:20.10), 100 Metres Breaststroke (1:19.92), 200 Metres Backstroke (2:32.49) and 200 Metres Breaststroke (2:52.70). Dipika is the daughter of former swimmer Oosha and of cricketing fame Thomian, Neil Chammugam.
Dipika's cousin Julien and son of the famous swimmer and Coach Tara (de Saram) Bolling won six (6) Gold Medals at the SAF games and in doing so he established three (3) SAF games records in the 400 Metres Freestyle(4:11.56), 400 Metres Individual Medley (4:51.37) and 200 Metres Freestyle (2:00.29).
Both Julien and Dipika represented Sri Lanka at the 1988 Seoul Olympiad, and crowned their glory in the annals of swimming in Sri Lanka. If not for the commendable performances of Julien and Dipika, who enjoyed external training, and the recent success of Gheffari Dulapandan, Gihan Ratnatunga, Shanika Ranasinghe, Conrad Francis, Radheesha Daluwatta, and a host of other young swimmers and divers wrestling on the wings. NAASU is a disgrace for not having exploited this vast reservoir of talent that failed to capture and develop them to international levels of competition.
What NAASU urgently requires is to be accountable and developmental. As a first step it should trash the archaic and irrelevant constitution that has no meaning for the development and progress of aquatic sports. Secondly, dissolve NAASU and elect an interim committee for administration by mutual consent drawn from among the affiliated bodies, those with exceptional credentials, not to exceed seven representatives, including the positions of president, secretary and treasurer, with the approval of the Ministry of Sports - should there be disagreement, then the ministry to take steps to do the needful. For three years with a set of clear and implementable objectives and a business plan, highlighting a work programme that must by implemented within two years from the appointment of the interim committee.
In the third year, ensure that when elections are to be held an oversight committee of three persons (appointed by the Ministry of Sports) to form a part of the Ex-co (with full powers) to monitor the affairs of aquatic sports to ensure that the objectives and the business plan are progressing in the stated format, implemented accordingly. Thirdly, keeping with the times the new organisation should be re-named. Example: "Sri Lanka Aquatics"/"Aquatics Association (or Union) of Sri Lanka" or such a name befitting such an organisation and conforming to the challenges of future aquatics. Having words such "National, Amateur or Sports" are implitics that once the organisation is affiliated to the international controlling body, the NOC and registration with the Ministry of Sports, the organization is amateur, National and a sports body.
The current aquatic environment is so debased. A few derelicts claiming to be experts in aquatic sports, year after year hold on to office that it has become almost impossible to flush this stench in the municipal sewers and have a fresh lot come and make the difference.
The present NAASU have the following officers, controllers, representatives, and a lot appointed/elected as executive members (1) President; (2) Three Vice President; (3) Honorary Secretary; (4) Honorary Treasurer; (5) Assistant Honorary Secretary; (6) Controllers for Aquatic, Officials & Meets, Swimming, Diving, Water Polo, Synchronized Swimming; (7) Nine Affiliated Representatives, Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC), Otter Aquatic Club (OAC), Sri Lanka Schools Amateur Swimming Association (SLSASA), Kinross Swimming & Life Saving Club (KS & LSC), Royal College Union Aquatic Club (RCUAC), Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF), Sri Lanka Police Sports Club (SLPSC), Old Thomians' Swimming Club (OTSC), Dolphin Aquatic Club (DAC); (8) Four Executive Committee Members; and (9) Non-voting Administrative Officer, in all some twentysix (26) attend NAASU's monthly Executive Committee Meetings.
One would expect a high and representative (80%) percent be present at these meetings. Contrarily, only a low 50% to 55% would turn up, except for a sporadic high but never near 80%. Making all decisions and deliberations a mockery of minority participating and voting some vice presidents. Some don't even give notice of their inability to attend - their holding office is often the debate of those who seek NAASU office to be accountable and responsible. NAASU's criticism in the past 15-20 years as to the manner it conducts the affairs of aquatic sports as the national governing body of the sport, has done nothing to quell the unfortunate criticism over the years. This expose is not the forum to quote the innumerably adverse comments (and on rare occasion a back-hand bouquet) of NAASU, but to put on notice the sad and sorry affairst of NAASU. The following few adverse comments should give an indication as to the state of affairs of the present NAASU - and unless something drastic or "Pull it from the very boot strings" is done will continue to be that way until someone would step in and say "enough is enough" - something ought to be done! If kids are not swimming - there is no swimming in Sri Lanka!
(A) "The maggots of NAASU (August 1995)/...an amazing zest towards putting the rotting NAASU on the mend that the maggots who cannot feed on the rotting wound any more are slowly slipping away. Hitherto a closed clique of people ran NAASU as it was their private club. Show who genuflected whom, before this lot of people were given special favours";
(B) "The unkindest cut of all (September 1995)/malice, meanness, hatred, contempt, jealousy and sheer pettiness are manifest among most our sports officials, and as a result the sport has suffered immeasurably, quite apart from the disgrace it has earned in the eyes of foreigners and foreign bodies";
(C) "Hold an inquiry into the swimming fiasco (September 1995)/ the sports loving public, the sponsors and the parents have every right to know the 'clean up' of NAASU. The President of NAASU has already taken the correct steps towards this end."
This is the penultimate expose article in what we have thought to be "What Ails NAASU" and with the next and final article we would highlight some of the salient suggestions made by our readership. Unfortunately, only a couple have bothered to submit positive recommendations in writing, while an overwhelming callers hurled brickbats to making out what NAASU has become to be in the past two decades or so. It is sad that a sport, ranking in importance and prestige second only to track and field, has to become what it is in the contest of aquatic sports in Sri Lanka.
The sports desk of this newspaper and the initiation received, egged this writer to put out these series, is seen positively and would expect those involved with affairs of NAASU and the Ministry of Sports view more as critiquing than criticising the affairs of NAASU administration. If that were to be the case my editor would never have permitted me to publish these series in the form of an expose. I and the sports desk at The Sunday Times consider this as a groundbreaking event and expect that we would be given the opportunity to make exposes of other sports that ails them, example Basketball Federation, etc.
The sports desk and I would remiss in our duty if we did not thank and commend the many and numerous telephone calls we had on this expose. We take this opportunity to thank them prematurely, though a final expose article would be published next week.
This expose is written at the initiation of the overwhelming number
of our sports pages readership. The objective is to provide an outside
view of NAASU and assist to improve the administration and developmental
activities of aquatic sports. It is appreciated that those concerned submit
constructive suggestions to be presented to NAASU for their consideration
and implementation. This is the penultimate series of this expose. Next
week we will present a synopsis of the outcome of our efforts in the best
interests of the sport of aquatics sports desk. The Sunday Times/Colombo
When stumps were drawn on new years day 1923, on the first day's play between South Africa and England, South Africa had been dismissed for 113 and England had replied with 128 for the loss of 4 wickets. Fender returned the best bowling figures of 4 for 29, while Carr and Russell made 42 and 39 when England replied.
On the second day, South Africa came back into the Test with a vengeance. Blanckenberg and Hall demolished the middle and lower order and restricted England's lead to only 70 runs. After Hearne was out for his second 'duck' of the Test with the total at 2, Catterall and Taylor dominated the rest of the day's play and at stumps South Africa were 134 for 1.
Macaulay and Kennedy bowled England back into the game on the third day. South Africa lost their remaining nine wickets for 108 runs. This gave them an overall lead of 172. But inspired by Hall's bowling, South Africa struck back and at the close England were staggering against the ropes at 86 for 6. On the next day, Mann and Jupp added 68 for the 7th wicket to give England some breathing space. When the last man Macaulay joined Kennedy, 5 runs were still needed. Kennedy hit a four and then a single by Macaulay and thus finished the game.
As well as the exciting finish, it was a memorable game for a number of reasons. Macaulay took the wicket of Hearne with his first ball in Test cricket and also made the winning run. Hall, the other debutant in the match took 11 wickets for 112 runs and almost bowled South Africa to victory.
South Africa 113 and 242 (R.H. Catterall 76, H.W. Taylor 68, C.G. Macaulay 5 for 64)
England 183 (Blanckenberg 5 for 61) and 173 for 9 (A. E. Hall 7 for
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