Injury continues to plague Murali
Hardly a day passes on the International cricket scene without there being a report on an injured player. Muttiah Muralitharan who injured himself on his thirtieth birthday last April has since had a horror run. As he chased a ball as fast as he could, at the Adelaide Oval last Wednesday, he jerked to a sickening halt. It was evident he had hurt himself.

On a day when Captain Sanath Jayasuriya's cricket brain was in a twist trying to work out which bowler to bring on, Murali's spell was brilliant. It prompted one of the commentators to say that it was the best spell in the current VB series. I have no hesitation to second that. Even the two overs he sent down on one leg were effective!
Fortunately the injury is not overly serious but it is of concern as the World Cup is less than a month away. Pulasthi Guneratne flew back home, to rest before the World Cup.

This Australian summer has seen a continuous trek of players visiting physio's doctors and surgeons. The list of Englishmen who have suffered are too many to mention. Australia are without Shane Warne and Jason Gillespie at present and Glen McGrath bowling half fit. Elsewhere, Sachin Tendulkar was missing as India were severely caned by New Zealand. Little or nothing is heard these days of the mighty Brian Lara. Those are some of the names that come to mind.

As much cricket is being crammed in to these final weeks leading up to the big event, has it been overdone is the question. The Sri Lankans have had very little breathing space since they toured Morocco last October. Defeats in South Africa and Australia and loss of form has meant that it is tough to rest players. The Australians can afford that luxury as they have such powerful second string players.

Dr. Richard Stretch, Director of the University of Port Elizabeth's Sports Academy and Chairman of the United Cricket Board's medical committee, has researched cricket injuries at provincial and national level for the past four years. He believes that there is no substitute for a player knowing and understanding how far he can push his own body. The competition to keep your place in the team and the earnings that will be lost often outweigh all. Many also genuinely want to serve the team. As Muttiah Muralitharan did, he knew the twelve deliveries left in his allotted spell meant so much to the team. In the end his effort was futile.

The World Cup means the best of each country vying to win the once-in-four-year championship. Should a dozen or so of the best are not available or half fit, then it will take much of the glamour off the games. The relevant teams will also be handicapped. It is up to the management of each team to realize what the ultimate goal is. That is to perform at best at the World Cup.

Ratnayake's classy performance
Mohan Ratnayake was the toast at the Ridgeways of the Royal Colombo Golf Club after he clinched the President's Trophy with 2 rounds of 73 and 64 totalling 137 nett. Doc. C. Thurairaja, the popular sports star of yesteryear and presently the President of the RCGC presented a handsome award to Ratnayake who had to be drawn out from a crowd of pals who were not only felicitating him but also seeking autographs. Lallith Ramanayake and Iskander Sarudin tied for 2nd place with excellent scores of 130 each.

Lacoste contest
A small but very competitive field took off in the "A" Division Classic. Lallith Ramanayake was outstanding with 39 points while the rest of the competitors messed around getting lost and found in distressing areas of the course. Sung Soo Kim, the extremely popular Korean was beaming all afternoon after he was judged 1st runner-up with 35 points.

Ratnayake again
That man Mohan Ratnayake once again was unmatchable and he got himself streets ahead of a very competitive field to match 43 points and the "B" Division Classic. His score was the best for the day and he collected a special award. Cavalier Kumar Mirchandani straight from the Janak Hirdaramani clinic was in good nick from the first shot off the first too. Surprisingly he distanced himself from the familiar out of bounds territory and saw very little water through the 18 hole round. He was deliriously happy with 39 points and his shot by shot description of play was exceptionally interesting and drew a sizeable pack of listeners.

"C" division
Smiler Nimal Ranasinghe and hefty Saman Premasiri gave cause for recognition by the Handicap Committee. Striking 39 points each Ranasinghe was declared the better of the two and Premasiri was deprived of his first victory in 13 months. The weekend was packed to capacity and the course was given a rough time. The pond boys picked a harvest and they very wisely engaged a few extra hands to cope with the rush of visits to water. The season of goodwill just concluded took heavy toll of a substantial number of wayward strikers stricken with dehydration.

"Perali" Golfers
Over a few Carlsberg's at the pleasurable 19th the chat took shape over excessive shots and longer walk during the happy 4 ball encounter on Sunday with special attention to strayers. This special pack of "porali" golfers stray all over the course and sometimes some of them need the assistance of a Compass to return to the fairways.
It has been calculated that these special guys move 25% more yards than the reasonably good golfer.

As the crow flies the Ridgeways is 6400 yards long from 1st tee to 18th hole but the strayers walk 8000 yards causing a helluva exhausting physical burden on their frames. Golf is such a delightful game that no strayer moans of the extra gruelling yards but lives another day to relate the descriptive story of the odd good shots he had in 108 strokes. A harvest of them take more than a century of strokes each to complete the course averaging 6 strokes per hole striking 8000 yards in 240 gruelling sun riddled minutes.

Rugby gets a big boost for three more years
By Bernie Wijesekera
To uplift the game of rugby, the Rugby Union must get the maximum out of this Caltex sponsorship. This will be done with a view to help the game to enjoy for a better tomorrow said the Managing Director of Caltex Lubricants, Kishu Gomes, at the Caltex Touch Down Awards ceremony, held at the Hotel Intercontinantal.

Gomes said, different organisations are supporting cricket. They are pumping money with good intentions. But companies need not give preference treatment for cricket alone. There are other sports, too that deserve encouragement via sports the country could get worldwide recognition. This was the reason why Caltex have come forward to help many deserving sports.

Rugby is a popular sport in Sri Lanka and there is a great following here. Though it has not being enjoying much success in the international scene during the last year Caltex are still proud to have joined the pack in 1999 with a sponsorship with the SLRFU. It will continue with the package for three more years to develop the game.
Forget about the past, but start afresh. Give the game a better professional outlook. The players, too have to show more commitment he said.

The Caltex Touch Down Rugby Awards 2002 is done with a view to inspire the clubs and the players. The year 2003, should be a better year for Sri Lanka rugby with top foreign players taking to the scrum said the president of the SLRFU Harsha Mayadunne. It will generate more excitement among the clubs at competitive level. He thanked Caltex, for coming forward in their hour of need with this sponsorship.

It will be laudable if Caltex could inject with more lubricant when the national teams are on tour. Harsha, called upon the new officials who will be elected to office at next month's AGM to make good of Caltex support to promote the game to reach higher levels. The Sri Lanka Army for the second successive year was adjudged the most popular team.

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