Fleming: a captain with humility and team spirit
By Bernie Wijesekera
Stephen Fleming the young Kiwi captain commands respect from his team mates. He is highly respected even by his opponents said Jeff Crowe the manager of the New Zealand team when interviewed by The Sunday Times, during their game against Zimbabwe, last Thursday (Sept. 12) at the NCC grounds.

He gets about with his team mates with much understanding and in turn they give of their best for the team's cause. Appointing the youngster to lead the team with an eye for the future has paid dividends said Crowe. Humility is the Wiseman's rod.

Fleming adheres to this to the fullest. He has with him at least five to six years of cricket before him. He could contribute much for the country's upliftment. Kiwis, at all times respect their opponents and their ability.

But the Black Caps will answer them with their abundant team spirit one-dayers, he said. What about your batting. There are no stars, but its reasonably good and has shown consistency.

You will have to confront playing on slow turning pitches in the sub-continent. But must be prepared to adjust and learn to play on any wicket. What's going wrong with your outstanding bowling allrounder, Chris Cairns. He had to undergo a knee operation and recovering fast. But we don't want to rush him. What is most important is a fully- fit Cairns, who will give of his best rather than falling on the wayside.

Dion Nash and Adam Parore have retired. C. Nevin a young 'keeper is manning the fence in place of Parore. There is an Academy run by the New Zealand Cricket Board. The talented players are groomed to the Academy at Provincial level. Its being managed by Dayle Hadlee, brother of Richard. All have to work hard if they are to make the grade they must have self belief in them.

The bowling has variety Shane Bond, Oram, Hitchcock, Tuffy are lively pacemen, well supported by Chris Harris, Nathan Astle and orthodox left-arm spinner Adam Vettori. Vettori is one of the best left-arm spinners in the world.

Weather here is somewhat humid, but its still beautiful and sunny for cricket. Any tours in the offing. Kiwis play two test series and seven one-dayers against India in Dec. 2002 and Jan. 2003, In India. Followed by the World Cup in S.Africa. Kiwis are expected to play in Sri Lanka, too, a test and one-day series.

You and your brother Martin has played in Sri Lanka. Both of us played together. I made 121 in a test match played at the CCC grounds in 1987. Martin made a highest test score in his career 299 against Sri Lanka at the Basin .

Martin Crowe made 116 at the SSC grounds. He was given out in the early part of his innings when Asanka Gurusinha yelled at forward short-leg for a catch despite the ball taking off from the ground.

The head umpire ruled him out, but Crowe refused to walk out. After consulting the leg-umpire it was revoked by the head umpire. Martin, went on to smash a stroke -filled 116.

At a ceremony held after the series Martin was given a special award by the then president of the CB, Tyronne Fernando. Gurusinha in the end was seen apologising to Martin. It was a bad lapse indeed on the part of the fielder.

It's character that matters not fame and records - Jonty
Jonty Rhodes the little dynamo, who has served South African cricket well on and off the field is back here to take part in the ICC Championship tournament now in progress.

It was for the first time in 1993, '94 that the South Africans made an official tour to Sri Lanka and Jonty was a member of that team led by late Hansie Cronje. A great team man, he always puts his country before self and maintains the spirit of the game.

His courage and determination was shown in abundance on that epoch-making first tour by the S.Africans. With his simple ways plus human qualities he was the idol for the youngsters, wherever he played.

Firstly, in a game played at the Premadasa Stadium, he set an example for others to emulate on the field. With an acrobatic dive he had Sanath Jayasuriya caught at short extra-cover. The umpire ruled the batsman out. But Jonty said, 'no', as the ball came an inch off the ground.

He was the best judge. Speaking to this writer later he had this to say. "My parents have taught me not to cheat even on the field. Both of them were teachers". That was Jonty the "Gentleman Jonty" in cricket.

S. Africa was on the edge of the knife facing defeat against Sri Lanka at the Moratuwa Stadium. Rhodes was batting with grit and determination to save the game. Sri Lanka were poised for a win with two sessions to spare.

He held on for a long time with Jimmy Cook and later with the ninth man Clive Eksteen to save the game for his country, with last man Donald to come. In the end he made an unbeaten 101.

He deserved the Man-of-the-Match award for his heroics, but the adjudicator, Daya Sahabandu gave it to a Lankan player Ranatunga, who made a 100 for Sri Lanka. It was a big suprise to fans who expected Jonty to be named Man-of-the-Match. But Rhodes is a Christian and believes in Faith no matter the Award. For him his country always comes first.

To date they are talking about Jonty's great 101 n.o., one of the best seen here by a player under pressure. S. Africa won the series with a win at the SSC grounds. The game in Kandy was abandoned due to rain.

Jonty, padded up was met by this scribe at the NCC grounds in a warm-up game against the Kiwis. Speaking to The Sunday Times. He said, "I am a father now with a two-and-half-year old daughter named Daniella. She is an exciting kid and keeps my wife Kate, on the run at home while I am chasing the ball on the field."

You are still fit and strong to play in the established game. Why did you retire. "It's time consuming unlike in the overs game. Now its time to spend some time with my growing family.

At present I am enjoying a comfortable life thanks to my parents who laboured to bring us up (including my brothers) Jonty said. My Mom and Dad understood problems. At times it was exhausting, but they ungrudgingly put us on the correct track to live with dignity.

Now we must give something to them and to the game which helped me to go places in life he said. In what way you are giving back. Actions are permanent, but there are no permanent enemies. Yes. In whatever walk of life everything is temporary. One must strive to do something good in this short period.

Helping the kids especially the less affluent - (community service) to develop their talent and improve their image sans any barriers - for a better future. This is a jont team effort with my team mates.

My mom and dad had a great hand too in this. At present my wife Kate gives a helping hand. Via sports one could bring about reconciliation and build the bridge for peace and harmony and to live with understanding, Jonty said.

Further sports is not merely meant for fame and records. But in the end what matters is character building. All other things are forgotten said, amiable Rhodes. Jonty - best fielder in the world, like former S.A. Test player, Lollin Bland.

Finally Jonty said, he still loves the game which he learnt whilst playing at his home backyard. In the process smashing quite number of glass shutters in the end cost his parents dearly to repair them.

Rugger is in my blood-Rachel
By M.Shamil Amit
Isipatana College who are celebrating their Golden Jubilee this year commemorated the celebrations last Sunday International Schools Rugby 7's with seven overseas teams participating and four foreign referees which consisted one from New Zealand, Thailand and two from England. Englands lady referee Rachel Allen was one of the referees who officiated at the sevens.

Rachel who is thirty two years inspired many of the male players and referees who participated at this colourful event which was well organised and acclaimed by the big wigs of international rugby.

Rachel hailing from an English family is now based in Switzerland and the Sunday Times took some time off to speak to this rugby crazy lady. Rachel has never played rugger it was her father who is a referee that made her to come into rugger.

She has been in this field for the last twenty one years which has taken her to most of the best known rugby countries in the Asian circuit and to some Europe countries. Rachel started her career as a time keeper and scorer and has gone on to act as liaison officer, touch judge and referee. Her first assignment was in 1981 assisting the referees in a rugby tournament in Hong Kong. She said at that time there was no live telecast but came into effect only in the late eighties.

She did this for another two years. For three years from 1990 to '92 Rachel was the Liaison Officer for the team managers at the Hong Kong Sevens. From then she never turned back being involved in rugby courses for referees held in various countries.

Her first assignment in a rugby tournament was in the year 1996 when she was assigned as touch judge and referee at the Federation Suisse de Rugby tournament held in Switzerland which she said is a major rugby tournament in Switzerland. In 1997 she was a pitch Marshall and touch judge at a Rugby 7's tournament in Hong Kong.

The next year she went a little further when acting as a touch judge and being a reserve referee at the Hong Kong Carlsberg Ten a Side rugby tournament. Rachel's first assignment as a full referee was at the International Women's Rugby 7's held in Hong Kong in March 1999.

In between she was liaison officer to teams and managers of many teams at Dubai 7's Rugby tournament held in Dubai. Her first major assignment as a referee was in the year 1999 when she was assigned as referee at the International Dubai Social 7's (Men's) rugby tournament and was called again the next year.

In the year 2001 to improve her standard of referring she concentrated in following rugby courses for referees and underwent coaching in Denmark. In the early part of her career she has undergone training in Brunei University, London, Czechoslovakia, Italy and Switzerland.

When speaking to Rachel I felt that the training that she has undergone is not sufficient for her. Her aim is to referee at a world cup match which is a daunting task. In May this year she was a touch judge at the IRB 2002 Women's Rugby World Cup tournament which was held in Barcelona, Spain. She is a dedicated and determined rugby referee so it wont be a surprise to see a lady referee blowing in a major world rugby tournament in the days to come.

She commended the organising of the Isipatana Internationals Schools Rugby 7's saying it was a fantastic tournament. And was highly praiseful of Dilroy Fernando who spearheaded the organizing of this tournament.

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