The Sunday Times on the Web Sports
2nd August 1998

Front Page|
Editorial/Opinion| Business| Plus |
Mirror Magazine

Front Page
Mirror Magazine

Zuper Zizou

Inspired by the two goals scored by Zinedine Zidane of France in their World Cup final against Brazil, former Trinity and Matale hockey star Christy G.Wijeratne was inspired to pen the following ditty:

All hell broke loose on the 'Twelfth Night'
Old Shakes' best efforts would've only looked trite
No words could express the French delight
On winning the World Cup - Soccer's might.

The architect of that win and entire campaign Generalling at mid-field and attacking as 'Number Ten' An athlete supreme and a star beyond compare When the corner kick rises you'll find him there.

Our hero Zinedine Zidane - A story of rags to riches Still with the common touch - not lost to commercial clutches His soccer artistry will e'er in our hearts remain Vive Le 'Zizou" (the 'Zuper') Zidane!

Proper planning needed for cricket

By Bernie Wijesekera

At one time the Sri Lanka Cricket Board had to scrape the floor to find funds. It's not so today. The Board is rich and powerful with a favourable bank balance.

The present CB administration headed by Thilanga Sumathipala, must be prudent when it comes to spending. There should be proper planning and professional skills in administration. A mere show of hands is not the answer. There should be constructive discussions before approval.

It is given to understand that an official of the CB is due to go to England for a month to study the wicket patterns in the centre of cricket in preparation for next year's World Cup to be held there. It's going to cost the CB a big amount of money and a drain on its coffers. What is the guarantee that the pitches are going to be the same when we embark our mission to defend the title which Sri Lanka won in Lahore (in 1996).

In the past administrators never sent an official to study the ground conditions. The weather patterns in England takes its cycle. This saying aptly fits. 'Yesterday is Memory, today is Known, but tomorrow is Unknown.'

There are quite a number of past Sri Lankan cricketers now domiciled in England who could help the CB toward this end. Gehan Mendis, Indrajit Coomaraswamy, Asitha Jayaweera, Dr.M.Sivaratnam to name a few, who have been playing in England and are keen students of the game. If the CB has no confidence in them then the hierarchy should do well to get the services of Aravinda de Silva, who had a successful stint with Kent and has played in all the venues that are being earmarked for next year's World Cup.

Just to send an official to give a report on the pitches is like carrying coal to Newcastle. This is the talking point among club circles today.

Past administrators like Robert Senanayake, Dr.N.M.Perera, Gamini Dissanayake, would have never endorsed a proposal like this, even if its coffers were overflowing with a favourable bank account.

Even the events at Galle Esplanade, in the recent Nidahas Trophy triangular tournament comes into questioning. Did the authorities study the weather pattern prevailing in the country this part of the year before inviting teams to tour the country? It's sad the Kiwi tour and the Nidhas Trophy triangular and the on-going S.African 'A'tour too was hampered by wet weather. How could one give that much needed exposure to our young prospects in these conditons. This is a colossal waste of funds.

This money, could have been diverted to some meaningful development programme. Officials going on tour are not going to help the game. But if they do so it has to be meaningful. Otherwise it could be done on a fax message and save valuable foreign exchange.

The late Gamini Dissanayake, who did much to help the game as president during his tenure put the icing on the cake for Sri Lanka to gain ICC status with his oratory. He told this scribe it's easy to do politics than run the affairs of the Cricket Board today, unlike my predecessors. It gave much food for thought.

He further stated that the past officials had made a great sacrifice with their own men and material for Sri Lanka to achieve their ultimate objecitve.

The youthful president of the Cricket Board Thilanga Sumathipala, should take note of the late Gamini Dissanayake's comments. He has the courage and must act without fear or favour. As late Duncan White, when interviewed by me, said about officials holding office, "Dont hang on for too long. Do what is correct and get out for others to continue, its good work".

The Cricket Board, must be lauded for their magnanimous act of helping the forgotten heroes of Sri Lanka, in the autumn of their lives, with financial assistance, that too in their hour of need. It's a great humanitarian act. Even the poor NCC groundsman Junaid, who is struggling to eke out a living was not forgotten. Others, who deserved for contributing for the uplift and development of the game, were rewarded with the Golden Jubilee Award for the services rendered.

'It's far better to give a single flower, when a man is alive than giving a wreath when he's dead. This is what the CB has done. A big thank you to them!

In turn the past heroes are prepared to help the CB in whatever capacity, if required, with their abundant experience on and off the field for further development of the game.

They have made their mark through this great game of character building. They are now prepared to give something back to it. To be old is great, but it takes lot of time.

It should do well if the CB makes use of them by eschewing from petty politics in sport which is the bane in most sport bodies today.

Epasinghe set the ball rolling in Sinhala

By. Dr. Sanjiva Wijesinghe

Listeners recognise his voice over the airwaves more readily than that of many a national politician.

For over a quarter century, Premasara Epasinghe has been the man who has conveyed the doings of Sri Lanka's cricketers to millions of this country's listeners. Although cricket, introduced during the British colonial era, has been played in this country for over 150 years, the game remained the preserve of the English-eductated folk even after independence was achieved in 1948.

Cricket after all was a Brown Sahib's pastime - the game was taught mainly in our 'English' schools, matches were given prominence in the sports pages of our English language newspapers, and cricket commentaries were only carried over the English services of Radio Ceylon.

To the vast majority of Sinhala and Tamil-speaking citizens of this country, cricket remained foreign.

It was only in the late fifties that Radio Ceylon decided to broadcast cricket commentaries in Sinhala and Tamil.

At that time the main interest was in inter-school cricket. The only international games that we played were when English and Australian teams played Test matches against each other and on the way would play a one day "whistle-stop" game against a hastily picked national side.

It was during this era that Premasara Epasinghe began his journalistic career as a freelance reporter for Lake House. His cricketing background - he'd been a talented wicket keeper/batsman, representing Nalanda College and Vidyodaya University before going on to play first division club cricket for Saracens, NCC and Bloomfield - coupled with a fine command of both English and Sinhala, stood him in good stead. Over the years his descriptive and well balanced articles on the cricket scene proved popular with the sporting public.

In 1957 when Radio Ceylon felt that the time was ripe to introduce cricket coverage in Sinhala, it started the ball rolling with a commentary of the annual Ananda-Nalanda match. Some years later Epasinghe - who by then had served as teacher, cricket coach and prefect of games at his old school, Nalanda - was called on to present a weekly ten minute spot over the Sinhala service entitled Sports Magazine - the first prominent programme in Sinhala devoted entirely to sports.

Epasinghe's first big break as a cricket commentator came when Radio Ceylon Chairman Livy Wijemanne entrusted him in 1971 with the task of doing the first live Sinhala commentary on the annual Royal-Thomian match - an encounter which since 1879 has been a highlight of the school cricket season. At a time when the Sinhala language did not have the terminology to describe cricket - how for example does one translate terms such as fine leg, silly mid off and full toss into an Asian language? Epasinghe and his colleagues had to make up new words as they went along.

The words they coined - a fine term, Kasiye Vasiya for the toss of the coin at the start of a game and uda panduwa for catch and other terms.

Says former Sports Minister K. B. Ratnayake, "A good commentator's task is to describe, not to criticize - there is a world of difference between comentating and merely commenting on a game".

When Epasinghe goes overseas - to Pakistan, South Africa, England he carefully studies the region in which matches are played - and always introduces something about the city and its culture into his commentary.

Says Epasinghe, "People listening in can hear but not see - so you have to paint the scene for them. You have to bring the listeners to the site of the action so they can see what you are seeing and feel the atmosphere you are experiencing".

Sid Barnes took the Aussie Cricket Board to courts

By Bruce Maurice

Sidney George Barnes was a great character. He played for NSW. and Australia as an opening batsman from 1938 to 1948. He was also a man who never took things lying down if he knew that he was not at fault. It was for this reason he was forced to take the Board of Control to courts when they dropped him from the Test side when he was at the top of his form. He was vindicated by the courts and the Board never forgave him for the humiliation that he caused them to suffer. He was picked to play in a Test against the West Indies in 1951, but was "not approved" by the Board for "reasons other then cricket".

In 1952-'53, the South Africans toured Australia and Barnes was determind to play against them and also get picked for the 1953 tour of England and then call it a day. He even turned down a lucrative offer to cover the '53 tour of England for a newspaper.When he was not chosen for the tour he accepted the offer to turn writer.

When the '52 -'53 season began he was chosen to play in the first Sheffield Shield match against Queensland, but he failed with the bat making only 20. In the return game he had made 30 and was getting back into form. But then he played a careless stroke and was out. Barnes badly needed a big innings and it came in the next match against the South Africans. He made 43 and 79 not out and the tide now began to turn in his favour. The next match for N. S. W. was at Melbourne against Victoria and the side for the 1st Test was to be announced after the last day's play. When he strode out to bat, Barnes could feel a century flowing through his veins. But just as much as he was determined to do well, his "Friends" on the Board were praying that he would fail. He made 150 and then threw his wicket away. This innings rocketed his aggregate to 400 and his average to 75 per innings. Barnes thought that that should seal his place at least for the 1st Test. But it did not. The selectors then delayed naming the side for twenty four hours. This was to give the Board time to vet it. And that was obvious. From Melbourne the side travelled to South Australia and Barnes did not know what was in store for him. He was in his hotel room unpacking his bags when the bombshell dropped. There was a tap on the door and when Barnes opened it, a man poked his head in and asked, "Have you got anything to say?" Barnes not knowing what he meant, replied with a counter question. "About what?" This man was from the Press and he stared at Barnes for almost half a minute in utter disbelief. "About not being picked" the reporter said. Barnes made no comment but thanked him for the information. Barnes slumped on his bed. "Too sad to laugh if off. Too old to cry it off." With that Barnes knew it was the end of the road for him. Barnes had engaged the former boxer Peter Murphy, the best masseur in Australia as his pysioptherapist. On one occasion when Murphy was giving him a rub down, he told Barnes, "Sid, if I kept goats I would not let them in the same street with those blokes on the Board. Because the goats would complain about the smell."

And now to that famous "twelfth man episode." The game was against South Australia and as Barnes knew it was "stumps" for him, he decided to stand down and give Ray Flockton, a very promising youngster, a chance. So Barnes became 12th man, and he decided to be the perfect 12th man. So he decided to stage a little act and discussed the matter with Arthur Morris, Keith Miller (who was the Captain) and the other players as well and they all agreed. So the gear that Barnes had to take onto the field was arranged. A brush and comb, mirror, a vaporiser, an iced towel, some cigars and a radio set. When the first break for drinks came, Barnes went onto the field with the steward dressed in this best suit complete with carnation and carrying all this paraphernalia. The clapping and cheering that greeted him was deafening.

He then pulled out of the side when it went to Western Australia, but decided to play in the return game against South Africa at the S. C. G. This he decided would be his last first class game and he wanted to say "good-bye" in front of his home crowd. He batted at No:8, made a few runs and then threw his wicket away. The standing ovation that Barnes got as he walked off was a reception that lived in his memory until he breathed his last.

Sid Barnes never failed to read what was written about him in the papers. In one county match in England, he made a century and Bradman made a "duck". The next day he bought all the papers expecting to read about it. It was one of his finest knocks - at least that is what he thought. No way.

Not a word about his hundred. All the newspapers were about Bradman's "duck". In the second Test at Sydney against the M.C.C. he and Bradman put on 405 for the 5th wicket before Bradman was out, for 234. When Barnes reached this score, he deliberately threw his wicket away when he spooned a catch to be caught by Jack Ikin off Alec Bedser.

Sid Barnes also took a sadistic delight in annoying Alec Skelding, the former English umpire and never missed a chance when he got it. Skelding for his part would have strangled Barnes with his own intestines if he got half a chance.

When Australia played Surrey at the Oval in 1948 and Surrey were batting, a dog strayed onto the field. All the players tried to chase it off but not Barnes. He flicked his fingers, whistled and when the dog got close to him caught it, shoved it into Skelding's arms and said, "here Alec, now all you need is your white stick and dark glasses." And there was Alec Skelding walking around carrying an unasked for legacy in his arms until the dog was shoed off the field. When Australia batted, Barnes was rapped on the pads and he himself knew that he was plumb out. But before going he decided to annoy Skelding who was standing at the bowlers end. Before the appeal was made, he told Skelding, "You are not going to give me out for that?" "Yes I am." said Skelding lifting his finger. "Where are your dark glasses?" asked Barnes. "Walk and I don't want any cheek from you," said Skelding. "Where is your white stick?" asked Barnes. "Walk." said Skelding. But Barnes was not yet finished. "Where is your guide dog?" was Barnes' next question. And Skelding replied. "Got rid of him this morning for yapping. Just the way I am getting rid of you. So bugger off."

Cricket Board honours Bertie Wijesinghe and others

There had been times when a prophet was not honoured in his own country. But the cricket board hierarchy, headed by Thilanga Sumathipala, must be commended for honouring forgotten heroes be it cricketers or otherwise, who contributed much for the upliftment of the game in the country.

They were remembered for their heroics and were presented with awards. They were the ones in the past, like farmers committed to work from dawn to dusk, for Sri Lanka to gain ICC status. It was due to their dedication and devotion that the present generation of cricketers are reaping a rich harvest on and off the field.

Bertie Wijesinghe, the versatile sportsman from S.Thomas' was one of them. Bertie, richly deserves this, as he has committed his entire life for 'king cricket', in various capacities on and off the field. Ironically he, too like few others never received the invitation on time, to attend the main function earlier held at the Oberoi, to coincide with the Nidahas Trophy tournament.

But the sturdy allrounder played for the SSC and Sri Lanka along with the likes of late F.C. de Saram, Lucien de Zoysa, C.I.Gunasekera, Mahes Rodrigo, Stanley Jayasinghe, Gamini Goonesena, Ryle de Zoysa and others.

On July 22, Bertie along with some others, who missed the initial ceremony were duly honoured at a simple ceremony held at the BCCSL headquarters.

The C.B. president, firstly apologised to them if there was any lapse or delay in delivering the invitations on time. Two wrongs will not make a right. Besides Bertie, there were veteran groundsman, Junaid of the NCC, Lionel Mendis, the former coach of Ananda and this scribe to receive the awards. The officials of the CB, who were present at this simple ceremony were:- Abu Fuard, B.N.Jurangpathy, A.R.M.Aroos, Carlton Bernadus and Shammi Silva.

This ceremony brought nostalgic memories. It was nice to see a senior official walking up to Bertie saying 'Good evening Sir'. Apparently he was not paying pooja, but in recognizing Bertie's contribution for the promotion of the sport in various capacities.

Bertie, was one of the finest products from S.Thomas', who wielded the willow with gusto. He was a coach par excellence, administrator, a senior sports journalist, a teacher, cricket commentator along with his old buddy late Lucien de Zoysa.

The duo were highly admired. While serving at Trinity he was also the curator at the Asgiriya Stadium and won much admiration for the preparation of pitches.

His last assignment was at the SSC in a similar role. Ironically had to move out for reasons best known to himself.

A firm disciplinarian with his simple ways he won admiration and respect.. His adage was 'no-nonsense'. Bertie had the vision to do what was correct and never succumbed to outside pressure.

He has a storehouse of knowledge, like many others not holding office in the CB due to the four letters V.O.T.E. But, he is still prepared to serve in a voluntary capacity, given the opportunity. He has the other four letters in the bottom of his heart - L.O.V.E., for the game that helped him to go places in life. Now the, ball is in the BCCSL courts. - (BW)

Thushal wins Baron de Livera Trophy outright

Sri Lanka's Windsurfing champion, Thushal Gunawardena won the first and third races and emerged the overall champion to win the Lanka Sports-Ruzen Challenge Trophy at the Mid-Summer championships held at the Lagoon at Airport Garden Hotel at Seeduwa.

-Thushal also won the Baron de Livera challenge trophy as the best Sri Lankan for three years running and became the outright owner of the trophy.

-Lalin Lalendra who beat Thushal in Race No. 2 was awarded the Airport Garden Trophy while Priyantha Gunawardena, the younger brother of Thushal was awarded the Carlsberg Trophy for finishing as second runner-up.

The races were also co-sponsored by Frank Ulamar for Aqua Dynamic .

The winds were strong enough for the organisers of the Windsurfing Association of Sri Lanka to conduct the three races without a hitch.

Over 35 participants came under the Starter's orders which was the highest number for a long time.

The official results of the three races.

Race 1- Thushal Gunawardana, Lalin Lalendra, Priyantha Gunawardena, Franchaise Fernando, C.Anton Peiris, Sankasiri de Silva.

Race2 - Lalin Lalendra, Thushal Gunawardena, Priyantha Gunawardena, Franchaise Fernando, Sankasiri de Silva.

Race 3 - Thushal Gunawardena, Lalin Lelendra, Priyantha Gunawardena, Franchaise Fernando, C.Anton Peiris (AF)

Inter Provincial Netball Central vs NWP final

By Annesley Ferreira

Central province will meet North Western province in the Netball finals in the 24th National Sports Festival conducted by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. Southern Province won the third place defeating Sabaragamuwa by 53 goals to 38.

In the run-up to the finals, Western Province beat North Western province 51-17, North Central Province gave a walk over to Southern Province. Uva beat Sabaragamuwa 56-26 and Central Province beat North Central Province 23-1

Semi finals

Southern Province lost to North Western Province 62-29, Central Province beat Sabaragamuwa 59-33.


K.A.C.N.Alexander of the Sabaragamuwa Province was picked best boxer at the meet concluded at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium. Western province won the everall championships.

Light Fly weight 48 Kgs. K.A.C.N. Alexander (Sabaragamuwa), D.D.C Ranasinghe (Western Province), W. Prabadha (North Western Province)

Fly weight 51 Kgs. U.M. Perera (Western Province), R.M.B. Ratnayake ( Central Province), N.H. Jayasundera (North Western Province).

Bantam Weight - 54 Kgs. R.M.U. Bandara ( Central Province), M.M.Paris (North Western Province), A.B. Weeraparakrama ( Western Province).

Feather Weight - 57 Kgs. K.A. Rajapakse ( Western Province), H. M. P.S. Bandara ( Sabaragamuwa), S.M.N.R. Ratnayake ( Uva)

Light Welter Weight - 63.5 Kgs. S.P.S Jayatilleke (North Western Province), K.L.S. Anthony ( Western Province), D.J. Weeraratne (North Central Province)

Welter weight - 67 Kgs. R.K.S. Prasanna (North Western Province), A. P.N. Bandara ( Central Province), R. Marikkar (North Western Province)

Light Middle Weight 71 Kgs. A.P.S. Premachandra (North Western Province), G.D.S. Wijesinghe ( Western Province), K. A. R. Kasturiarachchi ( Sabaragamuwa).

Middle Weight 75 Kgs. S.Kiribanda (North Western Province), M.K. Marikkar (Western Province).

Light Heavy weight 81 Kgs. A. Silva (Uva), W.P. Rajapathirana, (Sabaragamuwa)

Presented on the World Wide Web by Infomation Laboratories (Pvt.) Ltd.

Return to Sports Contents Page

Sports Archive

Front Page| News/Comment| Editorial/Opinion| Business| Plus | Mirror Magazine

Hosted By LAcNet

Please send your comments and suggestions on this web site to

The Sunday Times or to Information Laboratories (Pvt.) Ltd.