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While the Sri Lanka team are reaching the greatest heights in world cricket, little is being done to improve the standard of the local umpires.
The umpires committee which is responsible for the men in white appears to be indifferent or ineffective. Seminars, workshops, and refresher courses conducted to improve the standard of umpires are seldom held now.
In addition opportunities for local umpires to officiate at International games at home have been lost due to bad planning, cricket sources say. This was evident when umpires were assigned for the recent Singer World Series tournament.
Two local umpires were assigned to be the stand-by and third umpire for the India-Australia game. The same two umpires were earlier assigned (along with two other umpires) to officiate at the ICC Trophy in Malaysia during the same period. Unable to officiate at two assignments on the same day, the umpires proceeded to Malaysia leaving the umpires committee to appoint the two ICC appointed umpires to act as the 3rd umpire and stand by umpire.
If the umpires chief planned out the assignments to detail, two local umpires could have performed the duties of the 3rd umpire and stand by umpire role and gained valuable experience as well as saved the BCCSL a tidy sum since the ICC appointed umpires are paid six to seven times more than the local umpires.
The ad-hoc manner in which things are done was exposed recently when the umpires committee chairman who was the liaison officer for the two ICC umpires and was supposed to meet them at the Airport was unaware until the officials had come and settled in their hotel.
John Player Gold Leaf driver, Jon Jones powered his way to the teams first U.I.M. Formula 1 World Championship win of the season in idyllic conditions on Lake Lugano, Italy.
Using his driving skills and powerboating experience, he overcame boat problems to hold off Finlands Perti Leppala in an intense battle that lasted for two thirds of the race. At the start, Anton Van Heerden rounded the turnbuoy first closely followed by Jones and Leppala. The race was halted on lap 4 due to Sugiharas stopped boat drifting on the raceline.
This was the opportunity Jones was looking for. As soon as the race was restarted he dived into the first turnbuoy just ahead of Leppala. On lap 26 Leppala overtook Jones who, within seconds, had the lead back in a brilliant maneuver.
John Player Gold Leaf F-1 team mate, Paul Blackburn, did not fare so well with his relegation to the back of the grid proving too much for him and finishing in eleventh place just out of the points.
The same was true for Abu Dhabis Humaid Bhakit, who did well to move from seventeenth place to seventh.
Championships Leader Guido Cappellinis gamble to start on the back of the grid, forsaking his pole position, backfired. Although quickly moving to third place, mechanical problems forced him to make running repairs, losing six laps in the process and finally finishing thirteenth.
Joness victory moves him to third place in the World Championships, just nine points behind Michael Werner who was forced to pull out of the race following boat damage.
The John Player Gold Leaf team arrived in Gallipoli on September 11, fresh from their victory in the seventh round of the U.I.M. Formula One Powerboat World Championship in Campione last Sunday. The team will have no time to relax as extensive repairs are needed in time for Saturdays qualifying session.
The John Player Gold Team Chief Mechanic, Frank Lynch, remained optimistic, It is always difficult when the races directly follow each other. I dont think we are going to get the repairs done to Pauls race boat. This shouldnt be too much of a problem as the spare performed pretty well last Sunday. The priority is to sort out Jons mechanical problems, which is still quite a task.
After his victory last weekend Jon Jones is now lying third in the World Championship, just nine points behind second place man, Michael Werner. With sixty points still available, Jones is looking to quickly close the gap, Michaels boat suffered badly in Campione and certainly will not be ready for this weekend, which means he will have to revert to his spare. Knowing Michael as I do, he will still be very well prepared and I expect another great battle.
John Player Gold Leaf team mate, Paul Blackburn, is hoping to get some extra practice in his new boat, It has very good front line speed, but I have to get used to its cornering, which is different from my normal boat. A lot depends upon the water conditions in Gallipoli as this boat needs calm conditions to perform well. I really hope it is, because I am desperate to get a podium finish before the season ends.
Kandy SC avenged their two defeats by CR & FC in the Carlsberg League Rugby Chamapionship by turning tables on the Longden Place Club in the last 10 minutes and defeating CR & FC by 7 points (1 goal) to 6 points (2 Penalties) to retain the Clifford Cup for the Second year in succession on Sunday at Nittawela.
Kandy on this day was experiencing perfect weather conditions till about half an hour before the kick off when the rain came down making open rugby impossible as the ball was wet and conditions underfoot water logged. Inspite of this CR & FC, who are famous for their run and pass game opted to run the ball with their speedy threequarters, but were stalled by some terrific tackles by the Kandy backs at which their Fijian Centre Tonio Quro excelled. Kitioni Ratudrada Kandys other Fijian, playing as a flanker made maximum use of the wet weather to send some high up and unders which the CR full back Nalaka Weerakkody could not cope with and was seen knocking on and dropping the ball to the delight of the Kandy players who took full advantage. But still CR & FC exerted their full authority during the major part of the game and continued to run the wet ball with amazing grace eventhough they cold not put the finishing touches by scoring tries until the last ten minutes of the game which Kandy SC dominated.
During these exchanges CR & FC fared better and even ran the wet ball creditably, but scoring by both sides became impossible and a few penalties that were awarded to both sides were kicked astray by CRÕs Nalaka Weerakkody and KandyÕs Upul Wijesiri. This deadlock was broken during the latter part of this half when CR, full back kicked the wet ball correctly off a penalty to take CR & FC to a 3-nil lead which they hold on to till half time.
Inspite of these handicaps CR & FC increased its lead to 6-nil with another penalty conversion by Nalaka Weerakkody then began the never say die fightback by the Kandy forwards who took play into CRs twenty two and forced several scrums and penalties close to the CR goal line during the last ten minutes during which period KandyÕs forwards Priyantha Ekanayake, Asoka Jayasena and Kitioni Ratudradra were at their best and off one of these ploys the Kandy threequaters ran the ball with determintation which saw a long pass going to winger Imthie Marikar who thundered his way to score a try by the corner flag. But still the match was anyoneÕs with the scores at 6-5 in favour of CR & FC and even Gamini Fernando, the President of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union said the conversion of this try could be difficult from the touch line especially with a wet ball and a water logged field. But KandyÕs fly half Nalin Dissanayake who took this difficult conversion in trying conditions, made an astonishing conversion to the surprise of everyone.
With about five minutes of play left to take Kandy SC to a 7-6 lead. The last few minutes of the game was electrifying with CR & FC fighting hard to score and Kandy SC clinging onto the 1 point lead and the match to end in a dramatic win for Kandy SC
Joseph Kenny crewed by Prasanga Kariyawasam, emerged overall champions at the sailing championship in the Enterprise event conducted by the Yachting Association of Sri Lanka (YASL) and sponsored by Brown & Co. Ltd. for the Suzuki Vitara Trophies at Bolgoda.
Kenny and Kariyawasam won both the mornings and afternoon races with ease defeating last years champion Asitha Tennekoon, crewed by Hans Svendeson in the first event and the Tennekoon brothers Avantha and Shehan in the second.
It was good to see a large number of participants including those in the Optimist class with a father and two sons also racing against each other.
Race no 1 - Joseph Kenny/Prasanga Kariyawasam, Asitha Tennekoon/Hans Svendesen, M. U. L. Jayaratne/W. N. D. Bandara (Navy) K. Gunatilleka, W. A. Upul, Shehan Tennnekoon Avantha Tennekoon.
Race No 2 - Joseph Kenny/Prasanga Kariyawasam, M. U. L. Jayaratne/W. N. D. Bandara (Navy), Asitha Tennekoon/Hans Svendesan, Shehan Tennekoon. Avantha Tennekoon, K. Gunatilleka, W. A. Upul (Navy).
Optimist race - Victor Olmin, Andreas Lanaham, Aruna Amunugama, Roberts Hendricks, Philip Olmin.
GP 14 race. Olaf Kronham/K. Ruth, Anil Gunawardena/Michella Gunawardena, A. Aramavawatta/N. Rajapaksa.
The managing Director of browns Group, Suraj Fernando was the chief guest and gave away the awards
Spin twins - Muttiah Muralitharan and Jayantha Silva - bowled Sri Lanka to an overwhelming innings and 77-run victory over Zimbabwe with one day to spare in their 1st Test match at the Premadasa Stadium yesterday.
It was Sri LankaÕs eighth test victory in their 67th test match and also the 5th victory on home soil. YesterdayÕs historic victory was the first win against Zimbabwe in four test matches, and also the first ever innings victory recorded by Sri Lanka after gaining test status.
Jayantha Silva, playing his second test, finished with a match bag of 7 for 35, while Muralitharan also had a match bag of 7 for 61. which included a career best 5 for 33 in Zimbabwes 2nd innings. It was 6th time Muralitharan had taken 5 wickets in a test innings
Rain delayed the start of play by over two hours yesterday. Following on at 204 runs behind, Zimbabwe began cautiously with openers Grant Flower and Mark Dekker interested only in survival. Dharmasena drew first blood for Sri Lanka, when he snapped up Dekker caught by Jayasuriya at short leg. Soon after, new batsman Craig Wishart shouldered an arm ball by Jayantha Silva and had his bails disturbed.
However, it was Muralitharan who struck a double blow in the afternoon, when he sent back the Flower brothers in successive deliveries; Grant Flower misread a Muralitharan delivery to be bowled for 27, after which Andy Flower prodded the next ball to be caught by Mahanama for zero.
Skipper Alistair Campbell was joined by Guy Whittal at this stage, and defied the Lankan spinners with resolute batting, to take Zimbabwe to 94 for 4 at the tea break.
Soon after the tea break, Muralitharan triggered ZimbabweÕs collapse when he got rid of Skipper Campbell caught in the slips by Mahanama for 26. Campbell faced 123 balls and batted for 133 minutes.
With the dismissal of Campbell, the Zimbabweans were again struggling for survival. The left arm, right arm spin combination, Jayantha Silva and Muralitharan proved too much for the Zimbabweans. They were finally bundled out for 127 runs.
Zimbabwe lost their last six wickets for just 29 runs.
Scoreboard Sri Lanka - 1st innings - 349 (Arjuna Ranatunge 75, Romesh Kaluwitharana 71, Paul Strang 5/106). Zimbabwe - 1st innings - 145 (C. Wishart - 51, Chaminda Vaas 4/73, Jayantha Silva 3/10, Muthaih Muralitharan 2/28). Zimbabwe - 2nd Innings G. Flower b Muralitharan 27 M. Dekker ct. Jayasuriya b Dharmasena 20 C. Wishart b J. Silva 03 A. Campbell ct. Mahanama b Muralitharan 26 A. Flower ct. Mahanama b Muralitharan 00 G. Whittal ct. Mahanama b J. Silva 13 C. Evans lbw b J. Silva 1 H. Olonga ct. Mahanama b J. Silva 00 P. Strang ct. Vaas b Muralitharan 03 A. Whittal b Muralitharan 11 H. Streak not out 03 Extras B-6 LB-4 W-1 NB-4 15 Total all out 127 Fall of wickets: 1-35, 2-42, 3-65, 4-65, 5-98, 6-99, 7-102, 8-102, 9-113, 10-127 Bowling: C. Vaas 12-1-34-0, A. Gurusingha 2-0-4-0, A. de Silva 2-1-1-0, K. Dharmasena 14-7-19-1, M. Muralitharan 20.3-4-33-5, J. Silva 19-12-25-4, S. Jayasuriya 4-3-1-0.
Recuperating after surgery, the Times Sports Editor met Neville Abeygunawardene the veteran soccer coach and sports critic to solicit his views on some of the darker issues in our management of sports. Never mincing his words, Neville answered our queries with his usual clarity and candor and we quote him verbatim.
Q: With all our sports failing at international level, how do you view our success at cricket.
A: The image of our cricket projected at international level is certainly an achievement we would be justly proud of. It is not a result of a sudden upsurge or upshot, but a relentless commitment by its past officials to bring the sport in par with the worlds best. Unfortunately in most of our other disciplines, selfish officials have exploited the sport as a way of living and to enjoy perks, position, publicity and go places often with the spouses and children. Thank the stars for keeping cricket distanced from the Sports Ministry and the NOC.
Q: What makes you point a finger at these two institutions.
A: While the Olympic disciplines are mere cannon fodder at Asian and world championships for over two decades and the NOC shamelessly unconcerned over the decadence, the Ministry of Sports has ever been lazy, lousy, lethargic and often ludicrous in their approach to the control and directions on matters of sports administration.
Q: AreÕnt the sports laws strong enough to remedy this situation.
A: Legislation is one thing, its application is another. To many who are aware, the Ministry is a safe haven for those who excel in trickery and foolery, quite apart from its blissful ignorance in the finer art of sports promotion.
Q: IsÕnt the Ministry of Sports making every effort to clean up the mess.
A: Pardon me, only a neurotic will subscribe to that view. The NOC and its hierarchy under the previous government spent liberally and lavishly on tamashas and globe trotting, with complimentary tickets offered to ministers and other VIPÕs to attend the Seoul Olympics and the Barcelona Olympics, while denying this facility to our only olympic medalist Duncan White when he appealed to the NOC for official accreditation to attend the olympics. So were many of our past olympians denied this rare opportunity which they richly deserved. None who enjoyed this offer, including the ministers and their lackeys were worth a spike in the running shoes of these past international athletes. Far from cleaning the mess the present Sports Ministry is wedded to these fakes and fibsters.
Q: Does not the Minister receive advice from the National Sports Council.
A: Having served for a brief period in this body, I know what kind of a farce it is. An aging political loyalist who is known more for his steadfast servility, guides this conglomerate, only to satisfy the Minister and not to serve the sport. His is the combined role of Nero, Goebells and Eichmann, depending on the situation.
Q: Are you suggesting these bodies to be mere eye-wash.
A: Not merely eye-wash but completely wash-outs
Q: IsÕnt the Hon Minister an affable person ever willing to listen and learn.
A: Indeed he is an amiable person and ever willing to give his ear, not to proper and prudent advice but to upstarts and panjandrums around him. The covert removal of that unimpeachable disciplinarian and a man of immense knowledge in sports Vijitha Fernando from NAASU, having organized and conducted the largest ever International contest on our soil, spending from his own wallet, and similarly the removal of another brilliant sportsman Don Victor who had only weeks before his axing got the verbal approval of the Minister to bid for the Asian Athletic Championships to be held in Colombo with an assured advance payment of 10 million rupees. This is only a grim reminder of the machinations of those around the Minister.
Q: What are your views on the present cricket crisis.
A: If the MinisterÕs bark and bite at the local cricket authorities for a lapse in protocol has resulted in the resignation of its head Upali Dharmadasa, it is most unfortunate. There seems to be no mala fide in this lapse at all. An over reacting - over anxious sponsor wanted to be in the centre of the limelight and had wittingly or unwittingly slipped in the process. I am sure the Minister will be gracious enough to understand the sponsorÕs concern and re-assure Dharmadasa of his continued support. No doubt it is a serious lapse in protocol, but there isÕnt an iota of pre mediation or precipitance in the act.
Q: It is reported that the Ministry has called for the credentials of Dharmadasa and if so it only gives a vindictive twist to this most unfortunate episode. Credentials are looked into before appointments are ratified by the Ministry and not when some embarrassment is caused.
A: There are hordes of officials in National Associations whose sports credentials could be written on the back of a stamp and still find room left over. Being human, sometimes protocol is unwittingly overlooked. When the Minister alighted on the stage in a flash at Lahore at the World Cup Awards, none bothered about protocol, neither SB or Bhutto, so why make an issue of this. We have just got over the most unkind and unjust elimination of Ana Punchihewa, the one person who did so much to make us world champions and now comes another brilliant person who fashioned the retention of that title offering to quit, making us poorer in the eyes of the world. Dharmadasa has taken the rap and as a fine gentleman offered his resignation, but in the absence of an inkling of any malevolence, let the Hon. Minister say carry on Dharmadasa. Comparatively this lapse is a drop in the ocean, when the Sports Ministry itself is so much deaf and dumb to serious irregularities in sports administration. As recently reported, inquiries are withheld - justice delayed - files missing and a host of other wrongs committed regardless, with the Sports Ministry turning a nelsonian eye. So why make Dharmadasa the sacrificial lamb.
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