By M. Shamil Amit
All arrangements have been finalized to conduct the 2010 inter-provincial cricket tournament which will usher in with the limited over tournament due to get underway on February 6.
Besides the limited over tournament which is scheduled to end on February 21. The SLC will conduct the T20 which will be the next tournament that is due to begin on February 24.
The completion of the T20 final which is scheduled for March 7 will be followed by the four day league tournament slotted to begin March 18 and the final to be played from May 6 to 9 at the Pallekelle Stadium.
Six teams Wayamba, Basnahira North, Basnahira South, Ruhuna, Kandurata and Sri Lanka Cricket Combined XI will contest in all the three tournaments. Apart from the Sri Lanka Cricket Combined XI the players to represent the other five teams have been completed.
Each team comprises 18 members with Jehan Mubarak (Wayamba), Thilina Kandamby (Basnahira North), T.M. Dilshan (Basnahira South), Upul Tharanga (Ruhuna), Kumar Sangakkara (Kandurata) and Hans Fernando (SLC Combined XI) leading the teams.
The six teams comprise the cream of cricketers in the island which includes the present national team members who will be available only for the first two tournaments.
Five teams beside SLC Combined posses the top players while SLC Combined has been allocated to players who performed well in the domestic cricket tournament and youngsters who are members of the present Under 19 world cup team who are on national duty in New Zealand.
Six of the 15 players from the Under 19 squad have been named in the SLC Combined XI but missing in the list are three other players who has been consistence in the world cup tournament namely skipper Chathura Peiris, Akshu Fernando and Dhanushka Gunatilleke.
The trio was in the forefront of the Sri Lanka Under 19 team. Incidentally Akshu who was sidelined for no fault of his has been ignored again. He has shown his capabilities in no uncertain terms.
The bungling by the junior selectors who failed to recognize his talent almost ruined his chances. Akshu virtually was an also ran when the final team for the South Africa and World cup tour was selected.
He was sidelined and never given an opportunity to prove in the Tri nation tournament between Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh held in Sri Lanka. That was despite him hitting a half ton in the warm up match against Bangladesh played at Pallekelle.Akshu was included in the last minute when his exclusion was highlighted and flew to South Africa. He missed the first two matches and proved the selectors wrong when he made 51 against South Africa.
In New Zealand he saved his side who were struggling on 32 for 5, from embarrassment in the semi final match against Australia as he rescued with a fighting knock of 52.
Chatura and Dhanushka too are two players with potential and if the aim of the selectors is to encourage and support players of this calibre. Then the question arises why they are being discouraged.
These omissions could be a blunder like the mistake that the so called junior selectors made when selecting the final 15 for the under 19 world cup. Let’s hope that justice will be meted out to this trio.
Meanwhile there are three matches down for decision on day one with two to be played in the outstation and one in Colombo. The Galle International Stadium will see Sri Lanka Cricket Combined taking on Ruhuna.
Wayamba and Basnahira South will clash at Welagedera Stadium. The match at the Colts ground is between Basnahira North and Kandurata.