Well done Asoka
Unquestionable umpiring is the most thankless job in the game of cricket.
It is a rare game when players, officials, broadcasters, media and viewers
all agree that the men who hand down the decisions have got it spot on.
In big games there is pressure even on the third umpire who is not on the
field of play.
Even the assistance of the television causes man to err.
To reach the top of the international list is indeed a tremendous achievement.
Sri Lanka's Asoka de Silva has brought honour to the country by being selected
to the newly formed panel of eight umpires who will officiate in the majority
of Test and One-day Internationals. Asoka who turns forty six this month
also happens to be the youngest of the lot.
He is in the company of David Shepherd, Steve Bucknor, Daryl Harper,
Rudi Koertzen, Dave Orchard, Russel Tiffin and Srinivas Venketraghavan.
Indeed big guns in cricket umpiring world. What differentiates them from
the rest is consistency in decision making and ensuring the game is played
with minimum disruptions from player reactions.
Currently de Silva is standing in the Test between England and New Zealand.
On the first day eleven wickets tumbled on a seaming pitch and the umpires
too had a testing time. The English commentators voiced cruel comments
on a couple of decisions that de Silva made.
The numerous cameras and angles that provide picture for the viewers
makes it so tough for the umpires these days. It is so easy to comment
and criticize much after a split second decision has been given. It is
the lost that international umpires have to live with.
On pitches that assist bowlers, the umpires are tested to the hilt.
Dusty turners tests that skills and nerves more than any other surfaces.
Judging bat/pad catches and LBW decisions calls for tremendous concentration
and judgment. It doesn't help when the fielders keep screaming at every
So too when the ball seems a lot off the pitch. The faint nicks and
the LBW decisions to be made are frequent. The days when batsmen used to
walk when they edged a catch are all but history. So the umpire, but for
a little support from his colleague is a lonely figure who can never do
enough to please them all.
This newly formed panel will be called upon to stand in twelve Test
matches and fifteen One day matches per year during their two-year contract.
A privilege and an opportunity for all of them. ICC's chief executive officer
Malcom Speed has been quoted saying, "umpiring is one of the toughest tasks
in international sport and this panel represents the best decision makers
in the game."
During his playing days Asoka de Silva was a determined gutsy all rounder
who played Club cricket for the NCC. He persevered for many seasons developing
his skills as a right arm leg spin bowler and left hand batsman. Good all
round performances earned him a berth in the national team. In all he represented
the country in 10 Test matches and 28 ODI's, when games were not played
as regularly as these days.
His continued association with the game as a coach, broadcaster and
umpire has brought him much recognition. It is only a couple of years ago
that he umpired in a Test match. The rise has been meteroic. We wish him
every success to stay at the top for many years.
Mini Basketball a success
By M.Shamil Amit
The Mini Basketball Festival finals which was conducted at the Sugathadasa
Indoor Stadium last Sunady was a resounding success. Over 200 children
from all communities participated in this programme. The festival commenced
in February with the initial round matches played on a round robin basis
followed by the semi finals and the consolation finals. Four houses namely
NSB, Lifebuoy, Edna and Tipi Tip were created and each house had representation
from all age groups, over 12, under 12, under 10 and under 8 for both boys
and girls. The finals and the award distrubution was held in a grand scale
with much pageantry and was attended by over 500 parents and well wishers.
The Chief Guest was Daya Pelpola, Chairman SriLankan Airlines and Mrs.
The main sponsors of this festival was Sri Lankan Airlines with Uni
Lever Ceylon Ltd, Ninehearts, Sentra Supermarket, NSB, Edna Group, Uswatte
Confectioneries, Trendy Collection, Captain Cellular and a host of other
companies being co sponsors which teamed up to make this festival a success.
The objective of this programme was to introduce the basics and fundamentals
of basketball to young boys and girls so that they could acquire advanced
techniques with time, expert coaching and practice. Going by the success
of this programme and the festival it was decided to conduct this programme
on a long term basis for the benefit of the players and lovers of the game
and also for the potential promoters and sponsors. Due to the keen interest
displayed by students and on the insistence of the parents, the Parents
Management Committee has decided to continue with the next programme which
will be the fourth to be held in April 2002.
Though no awards were given to the winning teams, gold and silver medals
were awarded to the best defensive player, best offensive player and the
most outstanding players of the programme under each age group.
The results of the matches:
Boys Over 12- Lifebuoy House beat Edna House 18-13. Girls Over 12- Edna
House beat Lifebuoy House 13-9. Boys Under 12 Edna House beat Tipi Tip
House 19-18. Girls Under 12- NSB House beat Edna House 7-4. Boys Under
10- Tipi Tip House beat NSB House 8-3. Boys Under 8- Tipi Tip House beat
NSB House 6-4.
The following outstanding players were awarded medals.
Boys Over 12- Shiran de Alwis. Girls Over 12- Sulochana Fernando. Boys
Under 12- Sajith Dharmasena. Girls Under 12- Alifia Feroze. Boys Under
10- Sanjay Ganlath. Boys Under 8- Praveen Ganlath.