Lanka not disciplined enough, says Jayasuriya
CENTURION, South Africa, Nov 29 - Beaten 0-2 in the first two one day internationls against South Africa, the third one day game to be played in Benoni today does not favour Sri Lanka to win at all. The chances are that they will lose this one and the series as well.

Their showing here has cast doubts about their performance in the World Cup next year to be held on these very same pitches. Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya said his side had failed to perform. Speaking to reporters soon after the defeat in the second one day game Jayasuriya said: "It was a very disappointing performance. Everything was poor, the bowling, the batting and the fielding," and added, "We simply were not disciplined enough. We have to lift ourselves and do the basics well like South Africa.

"I wouldn't have minded so much if we had been bowled out for 250 or 275 but to get bowled out for 140 on that wicket was unacceptable. That was a good batting pitch. "After the South African innings we didn't panic because we knew that score could be chased on this ground.

"But someone had to go on and get a hundred. I was batting well but got out in the 40s and that is inexcusable. You cannot afford to get out once you're well set." South Africa captain Shaun Pollock speaking to the press after the win said that pressure was the key to his side's sweeping victory.

South Africa won by 177 runs after dismissing Sri Lanka for 140 in reply to their 317 for six in their allotted 50 overs. "It's always difficult when you are chasing a big target like that," Pollock said after the match obviously trying to put the Sri Lankans at ease.

"Often what happens is that you either get really close or you lose a lot of wickets up front and the game sort of peters out into an easy victory for one team." Pollock said his side's batting, especially that of Graeme Smith and Boeta Dippenaar who put on 134 for the third wicket, was important to the victory.

Smith scored 99 and Dippenaar 89, their highest scores in one day international cricket, before Jacques Kallis cracked 53 off 26 balls. "Batting was an area we identified as a problem and it was great to see the guys rectify it," Pollock said.

"Partnerships were vital and Graeme and Boeta dug in and got us a good platform to work with. It allowed Jacques to come in and play with the freedom and to get 300 you really have to have batted well."

Drifting like a cork
Lanka can learn a thing or two from SA sports management
Bernie Wijesekera reporting from Johannesburg, South Africa

The Sri Lanka Cricket Board and the Sports Minister should take serious note of the way sports are conducted in South Africa. Perhaps we can learn a thing or two in proper management and sports development

Omar Henry, the chairman of the S. African selection panel is on contract with the United Cricket Board South Africa. He was a member of the S.A. World Cup team in 1992 (after apartheid). I was lucky to interview him. I am on contract with the UCBSA for one year, and work within its parameter, but no one else.

Q. What about your Minister of Sports.
No. He is paid by the UCBSA and does a full time job. Part time has no place. The other members of the panel are: Pat Symcox, Hugh Page, Haroon Loggart and Douglas Maku.

Q. Are they paid too?
Not a monthly salary, but afforded with out-of-pocket expenses. They are all committed and serve for the right reasons and not for their personal benefits. Promoting and developing the game to reach greater heights and to unearth talent among the under-priviledged not confining to one race, but for all races. S. Africa is a dominant force in rugby, football and cricket it's brought about due to professional management. The panel is picked once a year through nomination and answerable only to the UCBSA, not to any outsiders. If they are removed it's only by the controlling body.

Q. Are they changed at random. Then how could they work to a plan.
Today so many players are emerging from the under-priviledged. Mr Nelson Mandela is giving all encouragement for the UCBSA vision - not only for cricket but for all sports.

If the game has faced setbacks in recent times in Sri Lanka, it's due to petty politics, and the management being constantly changed - apparently the administration is in tatters. The Interim Committee at present runs its affairs, by men of integrity. But they themselves are not sure how long they will serve to map out a proper programme. They drift like a cork in the mid-ocean. How many times have the selectors been changed during this calendar year?.

If that is happening its bad to the game said Omar. Sri Lanka is rich in talent and it has to be harnessed properly. They should be given opportunities of playing (regularly) in S. Africa and in Australia on bouncy pitches, that too against good opposition. Not just one game, at least 3 to 4 times to gauge his performance - in fairness to the player concerned. There is no difference between the S.A. national team and the 'A' teams. Here again the selectors play a vital role. They have to map out and watch the games. How many of our local selectors adhere to this principle. One can't blame them. The Chairman of the panel is not a pro. like Omar.

Besides they have other commitments in their personal life, to attend to, and haven't the time to spot talent. Be it in the totems or in the paddy fields. Henry was watching the one day between Sri Lanka and Africa 'A' at the New Park Stadium on Nov. 23, in uninviting weather. Two coloured players impressed. Fast bowler Zondeki and wicket-keeper Chemi Tsolekile, the young stumper has the makings of Mark Boucher, the arcobatic world class gloveman. Zondeki was included for the first two one-day games against Sri Lanka.

The chairman of selectors Guy de Alwis was here, for the Tests. He would have seen how cricket selectors pick teams and how the game is managed by professionals. After seeing young Mubarak displaying his batting skills in the second Test, it really impressed them. Why was he not given an opportunity asked Omar and other knowledgeable circles here. Sanath Jayasuriya's injury was a blessing in disguise for the lad. Otherwise he would have been carrying the towel, like some of teammates, who had to return home without a bowl or bat.

Here again bizarre selection policy prevails. Imagine 17 players which included 7 fast bowlers. Some of them have not done their homework properly. How could they adjust themselves whilst on tour - Dilhara Fernando, plagued with no balls and wides, while Ruchira Perera overstepping the danger area, barred from bowling in the first Test. It was pointed to the tour manager by this scribe at the Wanderers nets of Ruchira, going over the danger zone. Aren't some of our seniors getting burnt out with so much of cricket to play. They need a lay off and a rest to get back their vim and vigour.

Immediately after this tour with a two day lay off, they take wings to Australia for a gruelling tri-nation series after this SBA. tour. This will be followed by the all important World Cup - here again the selectors are answerable. It could have been better to have given playing opportunities to the likes of Michael Van Dort, Kaushal Weeraratne, Dilshan than exposing our seniors, who are the main cog-in-the-wheel for the coming W.C. in South Africa. According to Omar, they are trying to get the correct formula for the W.C. by giving playing opportunities to young talent - Allan Donald and Jonty Rhodes are two good examples. Not they are over the hill to be in the Test arena, but they are concentrating on the World Cup.

But for the Lankan selectors believe in just putting old wine into a new bottle. Former Chairman selection committee Sidat Wettimuny, created cricket history at Lord's. He mapped out strategy to infuse young talent for the future. He had the play of getting a mixture of youth and experience.

It happened and worked in the 1999-2000 tour of Pakistan. Sri Lanka thrashed Pakistan to a three-nil one day whitewash and a 2-1 Test series in Pakistan. This scribe covered the tour. Wettimuny was there with Asantha de Mel to watch this great happening. Asantha was one of the members in the panel. All his plans fell on the wayside, when Sidat and resigned for reasons best known to him apparently due to petty power hungry politics in sport.

What has happened to the game since then, barring winning an odd one day series here and there. Let's bind together forget about the past issues and work for a common objective to revive the game for Sri Lanka to be among the best cricketing nations in the world. Today Sidat is concentrating in golf and making a name in another ball game at the RCGC greens. There are plenty here one behind the Wanderers Stadium, too. Pat Symcox, who is also a national S.A. cricket selector, says he's prepared to help Sri Lanka cricket in whatever way, because Sri Lanka is his favourite country - like going from one home to another home.

Wonderful Wanderers
By Ramil Abeynayake
There are four grounds in the world where cricketers relish to step out and entertain. Lord's in London is the ultimate experience. The MCG in Melbourne couples history and the modern game, in addition to providing accommodation to 110,000 spectators. The former Olympic Stadium is an awesome place. Eden Gardens, Calcutta has a similar capacity for the cricket crazy Indians, as the MCG. Since their re-admittance to international cricket ten years ago, the Wonderers in Johannesburg has moved in to complete the foursome.

The adrenalin flows at these venues. The whole atmosphere is electric and it lifts a player's performance by a few notches. Merely stepping onto the grounds gives the feeling that it is something special. The outfield is perfectly flat and the grass is a combination of Rye and Hybrid Couch. Grasses that survive a mild winter and the summer (provided plenty of watering is done). Obviously fertilizing and weed spraying is done regularly and systematically to ensure such a perfect playing surface.

For the Sri Lankans the going was tough. They get a thrashing in the Test match and too much did not go their way in the opening one day game. This is the quickest and bounciest track in the Republic and skills of batsmanship have to be of the highest quality.

Only Mahela Jayawardene negotiated the South African bowlers without too much hassle. Of those who walked to the crease from both teams, Jayawardene easily looked the most competent. He fell to a blinder of a catch taken by Herchelle Gibbs just when a big innings seemed forthcoming. Its once in a hundred innings the batter falls to such a brilliant reflex action catch.

Assessing the pitch on the day before the game, it was evident that the requirement would be pacemen and batsmen, and so seven batsmen were selected for duty. The toss was going to be very vital and so it did prove when Pollock won the toss and put Sri Lanka in. Jayasuriya would have done the same.

The sun is out by half-past-five in the morning in this part of the world at this time of year - just coming into summer. It provides reasonable time to have a perfectly dry surface for a ten o' clock start, but then, the groundsman had watered the pitch morning before and the deck was more like the first day of a test match.

It was OK in the air but once the ball hit the surface then the trouble. The ball seamed, bounced and often skidded at pace. After the opening spells the combined twenty nine runs, five wickets! They are 2 bowlers in form and they bowled superbly.figures of Pollock and Ntini read: 13 overs,

Prabath Nissanka was the bright spark for Sri Lanka. Back after a break of over a year due to injury, Nissanka bowled very briskly. Even Jacques Kallis was beaten for pace. He needs to brush-up his rhythm and that should come with more practice and match play.

The groundsman will have to re-think his preparation plan for one day internationals, particularly with many world cup games, including the final schedule for this venue. Overall, the day at the Wanderers was wonderful.

Back to Top  Back to Sports  

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.