Date, Month 1999
Army who have been dominating the boxing scene in Sri Lanka but lost last year's nationals, are hoping to bounce back in winning the Layton Cup on June 2,3 and 4th at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium. Boxing commencing at 5.30 p.m. each day.
Coming back into the ring will be the Navy after a lapse of four years who will be the dark horses this year and Prisons who will be also making a comeback after three years.
The other boxers in contention will be from Police, Veyangoda, Mirigama, Arethusa, Nugegoda, Peradeniya, YMCA Colombo and Kandy, Ratnapura, Seevali, Kalutara District and Schools, Vidyartha, Dharmaraja and St. Sylvester's.
This meet will serve as the first trial for the SAF Games to be held in Kathmandu in Nepal from September 22 to October 4.
The Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) of Sri Lanka is exploring the possibilites of obtaining the services of a foreign coach to train Sri Lanka's pool.
Entries will close on Tuesday June 1st with Col. Jagath Jayasuriya, Secretary ,ABA at No 53/2, Temple Road, Kalubowila, Dehiwela.
World Champions Sri Lanka were made to eat humble pie at Taunton, Somerset, when they were beaten by 157 runs, after a record-breaking 316-run partnership between Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, for the second wicket. Sachin Tendulkar, who massacred Kenya for 140 runs couple of days earlier, missed another century by 98 runs on this batting paradise, trapped by Sanath Jayasuriya for 21.
The margin of defeat though unpalatable is factual. "Luck" or "Providence" or "Good Fortune" whatever you call it, was Sri Lanka's constant champion during the match. Ranatunga was blessed with winning the toss but fortune smiled only after India's score stood at 324 for 1.
The prediction of international experts, including this writer, that the wicket, would encourage seam bowling fell flat. There was, no doubt, slight movement off the seam for a couple of overs but the wicket behaved perfectly for one-dayers thereafter.
With the wisdom of hindsight I am inclined to believe that Taunton, Somerset being in the south-west of England, is subjected to the warm air currents that blow across the English Channel. This writer commenced his professional cricket career in Penance, Cornwall, which is not very far from Taunton. I do now recall that it was these warm air currents that attracted holidaymakers to neighbouring resorts such as Plymouth, Torquay and Bournsmouth. This could well be the secret of the Curator being able to prepare a nice firm wicket quit unlike those at Lord's, Worcester and Northampton.
Be that as it may, I find it very difficult to fathom the reason for young Upashantha being given the new ball in preference to the experienced Wickramasinghe. Predictably his opening over included a wide and a new ball. After two overs for 13 he was banished by a disgruntled Ranatunga to find his bearings to the remote.
Outfield where the youngster's nervousness was made obvious by his faulty fielding. Ranatunga brought on Wickramasinghe and they both fell from the frying pan into the fire! The fast bowler's warming up process, during the first over, gave away 15 runs. Mercifully he soon settled down and temporarily held the Indian pair of Ganguly and Dravid in check. Initial fears of a 'seemer' vanished and the vast crowed thereafter witnessed strokeplay of the highest vintage. Off-drives of majesty, crisp cuts, hooks and pulls of immense power were on display as the World Champion's bowlers huffed and puffed. Fours and sixes rained, whilst at times singles were disdained, in the greed for the strike!
The Indian 50 came in 7 overs, the 100 in the 17 th over, 150 in the 27 th over and onto 324. This Providence intervened. Muralitharan, the only bowler who kept the Indian run-machines guessing fell and fumbled in attempting to take a diving catch in the outfield. He soon recovered his balance, retrieved the loose ball and scored a direct hit at the stumps to run out Dravid for 145 runs. His century came off 101 balls and the record-breaking partnership of 318 runs bettered the previous best of 275 between Azharuddin and Jadeja. Ganguly went on and on and on. On Dravid's dismissal Gunguly went berserk! Bowlers dreaded a call by Ranatunga to have a bowl and looked askance! Vaas, Wickramasinghe, Upashantha and even Muralitharan were butchered mercilessly. Murali's initial 7 overs cost a mere 21 runs.
The last three overs gave away 39 runs! India enriched herself by 129 runs in the final 10 overs and by 201 runs in the last 20 overs! This was a leather hunt in the temperate climes of England. But it also brought back painful memories of the early sixties when this writer suffered at the hands of the Nawab of Pataudi, Chandu Borde, Sardesai, Jaisimha, Hanumant Singh, Farook Engineer & Co. as they plundered centuries at will off the Ceylonese bowling in the scorching heat of India! There then also existed a belief that most Ceylonese had lost height by a few inches due to wear and tear of legs at the end of the tour!
It would be a gross injustice to make only passing mention of Gunguly's and Dravid's doings. It should not be interpreted as flattery or exaggeration to say that both batsmen played their strokes based on classical lines in the time honoured fashion. Having witnessed such orthodox batsmanship my thoughts yearn for the Huttons, Graveneys, Boycotts,Worrells, Weekes, Walcotts, Merchants, Kripal Singhs, Chandu Bordes, Neil Harveys and Imtiaz Ahameds of bygone years!
When India amased 373 for 6 Azharuddin was not unaware of the potential in Sri Lanka's batting. With 'blasters' Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluvitharana to exploit the fifteen-over restricted period, he installed only two slips for his fast bowlers. But Jayasuriya committed suicide in the third over when he went for a single that wasn't there and Srinath ran him out with a direct hit at the stumps. Kaluvitharana joined him in the dressing room few minutes later. But by then the writing was on the wall for Sri Lanka. Without malice or disrespect to anyone from the Arjuna Fan Club, Aravinda Fan Club, Mahela Fan Club and even the Mahanama Fan Club topping 373 was a distant dream, Without the services of Jayasuriya and Kaluvitharana!
Atapattu showed us glimpses of his exquisite drives, one of which could not have been bettered by that maestro Sathasivam himself! Dravid, deputing for Mongia, gave him a life but a Sri Lanka victory was out of the question.
Trying to make amends for recent failures Aravinda attempted nobly to go for the runs in a do-or-die effort. But most bowlers are aware of his partiality to the hook and refused to feed him. In fact he had two swishes at deliveries not quite suited for the stroke and was lucky to survive. He also did get the blessings of the one above when Umpire David Shepperd negatived a snick that was taken by Dravid!
The man in form Mahela Jayawardena opened his scoring with an audacious drive. Then Mohanty moved one in, off the seam, and he was ruled leg-before for 4, much to Mahela's consternation. As a promising young cricketer who has only just appeared on the international cricket scene Mahela would do well to remember that "the umpire's word is law" and abide by it! That is the golden rule the game of cricket and sportsmanship should not be devalued!
Mahanama and Ranatunaga delayed the inevitable end and the latter appeared resigned to it, as he demonstrated openly by not responding to calls for quick singles and twos by Mahanama!
Ranatunga's deeds with the bat do not warrant much time nor space. Not for that matter do those others who left for the World Cup with tongue in check statements ! If the hierarchy of the Cricket Board genuinly wishes to make progress in the game than it is time to once again start from scratch we should seek dedicated, disciplined officials and not those seeking jaunts abroad,cocktail parties, shopping sprees and social status! Sri Lanka's cricket appears to be on the wane, regrettably. Rich talent is freely available but cricket politics has created a pall in the air.
Physical fitness, dedication, discipline should be the cornerstone for success. Resorting to 'black magic', 'mantrams', 'charms', 'devil-dancing', 'witch-doctors' etc, etc., should be left to those who are 'non-cricketers'. Press reports, prior to the departure of the Sri Lanka team, invoking the support of the supernatural made interesting reading. But my appeal is to leave all "witch-doctors" in their jungle surroundings with their brethren, Please, please find Sri Lanka cricket another Dave Whatmore!
Visa for whom?
Rover learns that a cricket board official has applied for a visa for himself, his family also has requested for another five visas for his cronies. The question being asked is whether this is to watch cricket or go missing?
To Hell with it, the Sri Lankan cricketers were seen at 1 a.m. in the lobby of the hotel they were staying just before the World Cup opener against England. What say you Manager and Coach.
The wife of a leading athletic coach was seen fuming about the non-arrival of her husband from Qatar while the two competitors arrived on schedule. She had been heard telling another athletic coach of note that she had heard that the coach and his pupil had gone to England presumably to watch the opening game in the Cricket World Cup between Sri Lanka and England.
A group of about 15 supposed to go to England to watch the World Cup cricket tournament were to have met at an appointed place at Maitland Place. Knowing that the cat will be out of the bag, to everyone's suprise they had decided at the last moment to go to the airport on their own. Rover learns.
Cook in a soup
A cricketing family Rover learns had taken a cook to England to make Indiappa and pol sambol to a group of 23. Who foots the bill Rover wonders.
UK rep assaulted
Sri Lanka's cricket representative in UK was assaulted by a top member of the Cricket Board in England at a site of the World Cup over an argument.
On a complaint made tothe London Police, Rover learns that the official was dragged out of the commentators box to record his statement.
Escape to Europe
Some senior Sri Lankan cricketers, Rover learns, will not be returning to the country after the last first round match against Kenya on Sunday. They'll be making a tour of some European countries like France, Sweden and Germany where they won't be recognised.
Was this pre-planned to hide away after failing to win the World Cup.
Please send your comments and suggestions on this web site to