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.
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.
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.
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
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
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."
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
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.
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
What finally produces the top players is the professional and competitive
Sheffield Shield competition and the one day tournament amongst
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.
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
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 .
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.