Stop this intimidation
By Bernie Wijesekara
Cricket was a legacy built to last since its inception in the meadows of England to bring about understanding and togetherness after the game over a pint of beer.
But at present times it's no longer a gentleman's game due to lust and greed and to win at all cost. It may attribute to, too much of professionalism and money which is the root cause for most of its evils in its wake even deteriorating levels of sportsmanship. Those who handle the game at embryo stage should not only teach them the skills, but also to maintain sportsmanship on and off the field. First a "gentleman, then a cricketer". This should be the first lesson to their charges. It's not

happening in some quarters. The players go to the extent of intimidating the umpires with constant appealing not only the bowler or the 'keeper, by those behind the cordon. This is a regular trend which has gone unheard, unsung by the (coaches and managers) who run its affairs.

It's not confining only to schoolboys, but even among some national players, too. It attributes to weak management, who fail to give a dressing down. It did happen at the New Zealand-Cricket Board Academy XI first match at the NCC ground. The young academy bowlers, who failed to get an early breakthro' kept on appealing at every given turn even running upto the head umpire.

Apparently it was blatant intimidation. Even amiable Kaluwitharane, who was leading the team failed to take notice of this display by the youngsters in the team.
Even Jeff Crowe, the former Kiwi captain, who made a test 100 against Sri Lanka at the adjoining ground (CCC) agreed. Once the umpire says 'no', he is not going to reverse the decision. Play it in the correct spirit. At times the umpires, too are found wanting in their decision making. Hemantha Devapriya and Owen Mottau, who is handling the Academy squad, though belated should take remedial measures on their charges to refrain from unwarranted appealing. On a docile pitch the Academy attack was made to look cart horse. Here the bowlers have to earn the wickets with skilful bowling, but not by intimidating the umpires with constant appeals.

Devapriya, who served as understudy to Stanley Jaysinghe whilst on tour could have learnt much from him how to maintain discipline on and off the field. Constant appealing and apparently trying to 'bully' the umpire was one of them, he resented. Stan brought those players to task. The game cannot be played on mere Faith for its success. One has to work hard to reap the harvest.

Get foreigners to play for the national team
Sri Lanka rugby team's performance against Arabian Gulf, a team packed with expatriates proved woefully inadequate. The Arabian Gulf forwards though small in stature but had the strength, stamina, skills, plus fitness to outplay Sri Lanka. It exposed our limitations when the local players had to confront against Asian teams, sandwiched with foreign players.

The year 2006 Rugby Asiad will be held in Sri Lanka. The Rugby Union should think positively to include foreign players and draft them in advance to be on par with the IRB requirements (18-month qualifying period). Otherwise we are doomed. This was opined by former Sri Lanka No. 8 granite-hard Ajit Abeyratne. He later went on to coach the national team. He has followed coaching stints abroad and has the knowledge to impart the forwards skills to the players in the present squad.

Tikiri Marambe, a past stalwart, who served well from the base and later became the chairman of the selection panel endorsed the above view. Tikiri, after watching the Arabian Gulf game said without foreigners Sri Lanka can't make much headway even in the Asian region. When other nations in the region are utilising foreigners why not Sri Lanka, he asked.

By the time the Asiad is here, Priyantha Ekanayake probably, will be the president of the SLRFU. At present he's the vice-president. He should get the act-together, Tikiri said. Young and talented foreign players should be harnessed, with an eye for the 2006 Asiad. If we start immediately the qualifying period could be overcome. The controlling body should assist the clubs toward this end. Of course, with the support of the Ministry of Sports. Jamie Scott, the IRB Rep. in Asia for development said, 'every town in Sri Lanka should have a mini-rugby club. Families should be involved. Then sponsors will be too happy to sponsor.

All clubs should field mini-rugby (women's) rugby Under-21 over 35 teams. Then this beautiful sport will become a family sport. The recent S. Thomas' Mt. Lavinia mini-rugby carnival proved an instant success. There were more parents - especially mothers getting involved with their kids to promote the game at grassroots level. The sponsors Union Assurance has been the carnival for the last six years with men and material.

The Old Thomian RFU headed by Arjun Dharmadasa should be commended for its continuity . Another school which is promoting mini-rugby is Isipatana MV.
Mohan Balasuriya, the president of the SLRFU should start an academy with full-time coaches (not figure heads), who could impart the skills on and off the field.Each province should have a league competition.

Make rugby a mass sport. Then confine it to a selected few (clubs) to indulge in social rugby. If this is the trend then confine only to schools and clubs and forget international rugby. The State should get involved and give all support to the controlling bodies as done in other countries. This in turn, will help to promote the country's image via sport. In 1984, Sri Lanka rugby hit a purple patch winning the Bowl under Hisham Abdeen. Sevens rugby has taken a firm root worldwide since Webb Ellis, in 1823 with total disregards to the rules. Ellis tucked the ball in his arms and ran with it. In its wake originated the 7s game. Sevens rugby, too has a great following and its very popular in Sri Lanka. - BW

Chess championship
The All Island Age Group Chess Championship final event, conducted by the Anatoly Karpov Chess Club and sponsored by LOLC is scheduled to be held on May 2, 3and 4. All the provincial champions and some Indian players are billed to participate at this final tournament.

The award ceremony of the above chess tournament will be held at the main hall of Isipathana College on May 4 at 3.30 p.m. His excellency Mikhail G. Karpov, the Russian Ambassador will grace the occasion as the chief guest while the Indian High Commissioner and the Ministers of Education and Sports will also be distinguished guests.

The schedule programme- May 2 - First Round 8.30 a.m to 12.30 p.m. Second Round 2.00 p.m to 6.00 p.m. May 3 - Third Round 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. Fourth Round 2.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m. May 4 - 8.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. -MSA

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