Wisden Cricketers' Almanac 2002
"Thinking Cricket to make a Cricketer"
By Graeme Wright (Editor - Wisden Almanac)
While Cricket is rightly proud of its literary heritage, an even greater treasure is the people whose lives have been interwoven with the game. Gerry Vaidyasekera, Wisden's Sri Lankan correspondent for many years, first drew my attention to a new coaching book; in fact 'a new kind of coaching book'. It is by Ajith C. S. Perera, the Chartered Analytical Chemist and former Test Match Panel Umpire, who has been confined to a wheelchair since a horrendous accident shortly after his appointment to Sri Lanka's international panel. However, his circumstances are NOT why "Thinking Cricket", is an outstanding achievement.

Amply illustrated, it has been carefully and thoughtfully conceived and executed to assist coaches, parents and players at all levels, including the common man. It's A - 4 size 290 pages include 21 "Subject Areas" from the basic mechanics of Playing, through to Captaincy, Discipline, Physical Conditioning, Net Practice, Umpiring - Choosing Equipment, even. Importantly, Ajith Perera never underestimates the fact that 'Cricket today is a mind game'.

As Dav Whatmore, Sri Lanka's national coach, writes in his foreword, the author's innovative, totally different approach to coaching books "provides encouragement and promotes sequential development of the required physical and mental skills, helping to turn weaknesses into strengths and potential into performance."

In the hands of an English publisher, the book's design would doubtless have more style, but there would certainly be less content. Thinking Cricket concentrates on the content and never loses sight of what is required, to make a Cricketer - in every sense of the word. Limited copies available in the UK from Acumen Books.

Comments made by other cricketing experts
· It is an excellent production and full of good advice on every aspect of this multi-faceted game. It seems to have achieved its objectives admirably.
"Christopher Martin-Jenkins."
Many people will find it a most interesting and educational book.
"Roger Knight - MCC."
There is always a place for coaching books, of which the most remarkable this year is a wonderfully comprehensive guide to the game by Ajith Perera, 'Thinking Cricket'. There is much wisdom in this handsome production that will please and inform coaches and students of the game.

"THE TIMES (LONDON) - PAGE S8 of Monday 17th December 2001".
· I commend a new coaching book that has come out of Sri Lanka written by Ajith Perera. The book offers a thinking man's insight into playing cricket and has been well received since its publication. If you are looking at spending some of your resources budget on coaching books, I would recommend that you consider this book.

"Andrew Eade - ICC Cricket Development Manager".
A true labour of love from one of Sri Lanka's most venerated cricket authorities and respected umpires, including introductions by Mike Brearley OBE. and Dav Whatmore. In A-4 format, this exhaustive study aims to cover every aspect of the game. "The Cricketer - Page 90, November 2001."

Life without Muralitharan
When Muttiah Muralitharan fell heavily on his shoulder some weeks ago in Sharjah, it left a massive hole in Sri Lanka's bowling armoury. Various questions were being asked even accusing fingers were being pointed that there is no bowler to replace the champion off spinner.

From the very night the unfortunate incident occurred the loss has been felt. But how do you replace a bowler such as Muttiah Muralitharan? There is no purpose in racking your brains for answers. You simply cannot replace him. He is a freak bowler with physical attributes of arm and wrist, which no one else has and probably never ever will. The warning bells have rung! The day will come when someone will have to step into his shoes. It is bound to happen in England at least for a couple of test matches.
It does happen with many of the best international teams that a period of success and glory is followed by some years of mediocre performances.

The Australians dominated most of the nineteen seventies. Then as they lost the Campbell brothers, Lillee, Thompson, Marsh, Walters, through retirement they struggled to regroup a winning team. Similarly, the West Indians dominated the nineteen eighties and the early nineties. They were almighty when they had Lloyd, Holding, Garner, Fredericks, Dujon, Greenidge, Richards, Marshal, Kallicharan and many others. As these players came to the end of their careers, the replacements were not forthcoming. They have fallen from grace. Even though many legendary ex-players roam the islands they are still unable to breed a team that can challenge the best in the world.

The Australians have given the world the guidelines on how to constantly produce top class players to step out of the production conveyer belt onto the International playing ranks. Quite simply, they got an unshakable infrastructure put in place. From junior ranks, players get the opportunity of being selected into states and state second eleven teams. This system provides the opportunity for a definite career path.
What finally produces the top players is the professional and competitive Sheffield Shield competition and the one day tournament amongst the states.

Australia's equivalent to Muralitharan is Shane Warne. Warne has had injury problems in the past few years. Stuart MacGill has taken over and on more than one occasion has been a match winner. That step-up to play at the highest level was not difficult as a result of the standard of the domestic competition.

At present, to replace Muralitharan with an off spinner looks impossible. Tilan Samaraweera and Muthumudalige Pushpakumara who are around are both more batting all rounders who can fill-in with some spells of off spin bowling. This means that the other bowlers have to fill the void. At present, this responsibility will be on the shoulders of Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Soyza and Upul Chandana, Dilhara Fernando when fit, form the quartet who will have to each lift their game at least by ten percent to make up for the absence of the spinner.

Of course it opens the door for these bowlers and any other who put their hand up to claim a berth in the national team. Given the manner in which the game is developing, the life of a left arm or right arm finger spinner is a tough one. They have to be accurate and bowl with plenty of variation. Muralitharan can do all this, plus deliver off a doublejointed wrist.

The rate which he picks up wickets at all levels of the game and the economy of runs per over, makes him absolutely special. To extend his playing life span to a maximum is essential for Sri Lankan cricket. To replace him is impossible. To find a group of bowlers who can share the burden of responsibility is the only solution whenever life has to go on without Muttiah Muralitharan .

Quality racing on the cards
By M.Shamil Amit
Racing fans will be able to see motor races of high quality in the days to come with almost half the season of motor racing completed. Two teams Mobil ICI Autocolor racing team and Team Caltex are the major teams that are fighting for honours.

The other teams such as Team Mitshubishi which has only one driver in Dinesh Deheragoda who is burning the racing track with his superlitive driving, Team Morris comprising of three members, Team BP/Castrol also with three members and Team Citroen/Suzuki comprising two members will be there to give stiff opposition to the two major teams in contention.

Both Mobil and Caltex have star studded riders and drivers ready to go at each other and also give the spectators top fare racing never seen before. Of the five main racing meets held during the April festive season namely Kotamale, Mahagastota, Radella, Foxhill and Nuwara Eliya Road Races, racing of high quality was seen and of the major two teams Mobil and Caltex it is a neck to neck where as the placings are concerned. Mobil are slightly in the lead with 54 placings and Caltex a very close 48.

If we see the comparison of the palcings meet by meet (win, second and third).
At the Kotmale Hill Climb Mobil had nine wins against Caltex three with six and seven placings for the two teams. Both the teams went equal with five wins at the Mahagastota meet with six placings for Mobil and five for Caltex.

Back to Top
 Back to Sports  

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.