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30th May 1999

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Out you go!

Critics demand new blood as Lanka's Cup hopes vanish

By Amal Jayasinghe

imageFor many Sri Lankan cricket fans the writing was on the wall - or rather the television screen - before their country's humiliating exit from the World Cup.

Sri Lanka lost all six previous tournaments shown on the Swarnavahini television station since September 1996 and which is also showing the World Cup.

Sri Lanka has not won a single tournament shown by Swarnavahini but last year won two tournaments shown by rival stations.

"It is ridiculous to blame the television station for Sri Lanka's poor performance." said Swarnavahini's veteran cricket commentator, Palitha Perera. "There is no need to look for scapegoats."

Skipper Arjuna Ranatunga conceded that his 1996 Cup winning team was out of the World Cup after his side was crushed by 157 runs by India on Wednesday.

"It was one of the worst days in Sri Lankan cricket that I have ever seen," he admitted while refusing to stand down.

And for many fans the defeat was symptomatic of the current crisis in Sri Lankan cricket.

Some irate fans telephoned the cricket board and abused the operators.

Perera said a scientific study of Sri Lanka's form in the past two years showed a clear decline and blamed the authorities for not arresting the trend.

"In November last year I said we cannot go on like this. We must change the driver and keep the bus," he said referring to the captaincy of Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to victory in 1996.

Perera also lambasted the squabbling in Sri Lanka's Board of Control for Cricket. Board Ch. Exec. Officer, Dhammika Ranatunga said before the tournament that team morale suffered a setback as the board management was suspended by a Court ruling following a controversial election in March.

The management took on a Pakistani psychologist to salvage morale but did not appear to have clicked judging by their dismal performances at the World Cup in England. 

Commentator Perera agrees that squabbling in the Board affected the team performance. 

"When parents fight what do you expect the children to do."

"There was no discipline. No progress. There was a decline for the past two years in our batting, bowling and fielding," he said. "We had lost the fighting quality of our players."

"Anyway, this is not the end of the road. We can rise like the phoenix, but we must pump in new blood. Have new strategies. Our board must adopt new techniques. They must act now."

Perera said those who made constructive criticism had been branded as "unpatriotic" and also blamed the media for hyping the national team after the team's 1996 Cup win.

However, for most Sri Lankans the latest disappointment was not devastating.

"Our expectations were modest," said Elton Ebert, a stockbroker at the Colombo Stock Exchange. "So, the disappointment is less."

We're out, but I won't quit, admits Sri Lankan captain Ranatunga

Defending champions Sri Lanka are out of the World Cup, skipper Arjuna Ranatunga conceded on Wednesday after his side were crushed by India.

But he said he would not resign because of the debacle. Ranatunga, speaking after his side's 157-run group A defeat, said: "It looks like we are out ... we can't do anything about it.

"It was one of the worst days in Sri Lankan cricket that I have ever seen".

But he said he would not quit over Sri Lanka's poor defence of its 1996 title

"It was really pathetic to see how our fast bowlers bowled today" he said. "Why should I go? I don't think I'll retire. It's up to the selectors."

Narahenpita where police sportsmen worked

My Police Memories
By S. Sivendran
(Retd. Snr. Supdt. of Police)

In July 1963 I was transferred from Pettah to Narahenpita Police Station as O.I.C. Administration, as most of the police sportsmen in Colombo Division were attached to Narahenpita police station to facilitate them to attend sports practices at the police grounds which was in the Narahenpita police area.

imageThe ASP in charge of Narahenpita was T.S. Bongso who was earlier my ASP at Kandy. He was a man of modest ways who used his private car Austin A-40 for his official duties. He had three brothers in the police, namely inspector T.B. Bongso, a big-made soccer player and referee whose daughter Shrahi Bongso was the National Putt Shot and Discus Champion. Chief Inspector T.N. Bongso, who was a great rugby enthusiast and CR&FC supporter, whose son is Faisal Bongso, a broadcaster and compere and the last of the Bongsos was an Inspector attached to the Police Technical Branches.

The OIC of Narahenpita Police was Inspector V.M.P. Jayatileke who rose from the ranks and was a competent crime investigator. Once in his weekly instruction class to the men he emphasised the importance of politeness when answering the telephone and said, in the morning you must say, "Good Morning, Police Station Narahenpita Sir". In the afternoon "Good Afternoon Police Station Narahenpita Sir," in the evenings "Good Evening Police Station Narahenpita Sir and in the night "Good Night Police Station Narahenpita Sir!!!" S.I. George Mathangaweera, a batchmate of mine too was attached to Narahenpita as OIC Crimes. 

Havelocks SC where I was a member then, BRC and Colts CC came within the Narahenpita police area. During this period was my good friend Maurice Anghie, a tough fly half, who played rugby for Royal College and who was playing for Havelocks against whom I have enjoyed playing many a match. One day he had an argument with Wijeyabahu Wijesinghe, a Member of Parliament of the ruling party at the Havelocks Club which resulted in the M.P. ending up with a fractured jaw. Police made inquiries and Maurice was charged in Mount Lavinia Courts for causing grevious hurt which caused a lot of embarrassment to all of us but eventually everything ended well when both parties forgot their differences and made peace with a lot of giving and taking like true sportsmen.

During my days at Narahenpita Police I stayed at the Inspectors' Mess at Bambalapitiya, a beautiful red brick colonial building overlooking the police rugby grounds. 

In this building there were residential rooms for bachelor Inspectors and Sub Inspectors on the top floor and in the ground floor there were the bar and lounge, billiards room, dining room, kitchen and servants' rooms.

The officers who lived there were Inspector Tony Mahath whose name was synonymous with CID, and took a great deal of interest in the affairs of the Mess even though he was a complete teetotaller and today he is an Al Haj having been to Mecca many times. 

He was the Mess Secretary and later President, and used to organise several Mess nights and in addition the annual ''Police Dance' during the Christmas season which was the most popular and colourful dance looked forward to by the elite in Colombo.

Once for a "Mess Night" he requested me to organise the cabarets, as I too was in the dance committee. I had the good fortune of witnessing and meeting several cabaret artistes when they were performing at several dances and the Jay Sea show at the Mount Lavinia Hotel when I was serving at Mount Lavinia. I invited Mrs. Deutrom who sang and danced, Collie Van Ryke, whose stage name was "Pepita" who too sang and danced and Rhonda Wickremasinghe, a cabaret artiste who specialised in "Salome - the dance of the seven veils" to perform at the Mess Night.

It was a packed dance floor with all the police officers, their friends and partners enjoying every minute of the night and during the early hours of the morning when all were in high spirits the cabaret aritstes took the floor. Mrs Deutrum and "Pepita" sang and danced into the hearts of the audience and finally came Rhonda with all the lights knocked off with only the spot light falling on her doing the dance of the seven veils, removing the veils of her body one by one. By the time she came to the last veil she virtually had nothing on her and Tony Mahath appealed to me to ask her to stop at that stage and she complied with still a veil on. Amidst protests by the audience, these dances in the good old days went on till day break with a lot of revelry.

The others who resided at the Mess were Inspector R.S. De Silva of the CID who later died in a car accident when he was SP in charge of Nuwara Eliya. Inspector Lyn Taylor, Inspector Ponnuthurai, a vegetarian with sober habits who could stomach all our antics with a smile and worked in the Police Technical branch with his family living and schooling in Chavakachcheri. Inspector S.R.W. De Silva, SI Rodney Aluwihare, SI Nihal Weerakkody, SI Vere de Alwis, who came on transfer from Dambulla with a monkey named "Jimmy". SI John Jacob, SI Neil Ratnayake, SI T.K. Jayasinghe and SI Gamini Weerasinghe.

The Mess was then patronised by most of the members of the inspectorate who were great gentlemen, which added colour and humour to the atmosphere, such as Jerry Paul, Roy Selladorai, Nathanials, Raja Eliyathamby, Ruban Kahawita, Charlie Sanders, S.L. Silva, P. Ramanathan, Nizam Kariapper, Percy Ekanayake, H.P. Jayasooriya, C.P. Jayasooriya, Hubert Bagot, Lyn Taylor, Kinkie Mendis, Vernon Ehan, K.B. Rosella, J.W. Jayasooriya, Chandra Jayawardane, A. Selvarajah, Ronnie Paul, Malcolm de Crusze and Dougie Gunaratne to name a few.

I was privileged to be the President of the Inspectors Mess for three years in 1980, 1981 and 1982, during which period I organised two police dances at the plush Hotel Ceylon InterContinental at which my friends Dalrene Arnolda, Frankie Ferrera and his wife Rose Marie performed. It was also during this period that the Fort Mess at Bristol Street where the present Commercial Bank is built was shifted to a new building by the banks of the Beira Lake adjoining the Rowing Club which is a pleasant and peaceful retreat for the hardworking inspectorate.

Navy in hand fought win 

Navy pulled off a hard fought 1 goal to nil win over Army in their Bristol League Division 1 tournament encounter played at the City League grounds, Slave Island.

In another game in the same division Police beat Pettah United by 4 goals to nil at the M.H. Mohammed Playground, Air Force beat Maligawatta Youth 2 nil, Wanathamulla Youth drew 1 all with Negombo Youth, Jupiters SC beat Old Bens 4-2 in Negombo, Hyline SC beat New Young Wennappuwa by 4 goals to 2 at the Bogambara Stadium, Red Diamond SC Kandy beat Java Lane SC 2-1.

The Saunders vs Cooray SC and Renown vs Ratnams matches were not played.

Panadura easy winner in zonal athletics

Panadura Education division emerged champions in the annual Inter Education Sports Festival of the Kalutara Zone held at Kalutara. Panadura aggregated 362 points while Kalutara finished as runners up with 288 points. 

Kalutara BMV swept the board winning the netball under 15,17 and 19 titles with Pothupitiya MV Wadduwa winning the boys under 15, 17 and 19 titles and Mahanama MV Walana Panadura winning the under 15, 17 and 19 girls volleyball titles.

Results - Netball-under 15- Kalutara MV, Tissa MV- Under 17- Kalutara MV, Miriswatta MV, Dodangoda 

Under 19- Kalutara MV,Gnanodadaya MV. - Volleyball - Boys under 15- Pothupitya MV, Wadduwa MMV, - Under 17 - Pothupitiya MV, Sri Sumangala MV. - Under 19 - Pothupitiya MV, Sri Sumangala MV.

Girls' under 15-Mahanama MV, Miriswatta MV, - Under 17 - Mahanama MV, Miriswatta MV, - Under 19 - Mahanama MV, Beruwala MMV,

Elle-Girls' under 19 - Katukurunda Roman Catholic School, St. Mary's Junior School Maggona. Boys' under 19- Bolossagama MV, St. Vincent's Junior School.

Football - under 17 - Tissa MMV, Muslim MV. Under 19- Holy Cross College, Muslim MV.

Cycling- Boys' - Chandana Sri Nath Fernando (Nalluruwa Sri Seevali MV).

Girls' - M.M. Anusha Luckmini (Miriswatta MV).

Mini marathon - Boys' - G. Ruwan Kumara de Silva (Wadduwa MV). Girls - T. Nirmala (Bombuwala MV).

Athletics Boys' Under 11 - H.S. Kusan Ernaga Fernando (Aluthgama MV).- Under 13 - K. Nipura Thursara Fernando (Horethuduwa Sri Chandrasekera MV)

Under 15 - Mohammed Rimzan (Sri Sumangala MV).

Under 17 - A. M. A. Lahiru Rangana (Kalutara MV).

Under 19 - K.A. Gayan Malaka (Aluthgama MV). Under 21 - G.A. Charitha Dharshana (Aluthgama MV).

Girls' under 11 - H.P. D. Iresha Kalhari (Wadduwa MMV).

Under 13 - M. Lalanika Perera ( Sri Sumangala MV).

Under 17 - Chalani .J. Ponnamperuma Arachchi (Sri Sumangala MV).

Under 19 - K.K. D. Asha Surangi (Miriswatta MV).

Under 21 - A.Thisaru Desika Cooray (Good Shepherd Convent, Kalutara).

Singer- international 'sevens' in Kandy...

By Bernie Wijesekera

In the past Up - country was hailed as the fortress of outstation rugby with many teams taking to the scrum in the local tournaments. But at present its only Kandy SC, the main participants doing proud to the Hill Capital.

This year Kandy SC will be celebrating their 125th anniversary amid pomp and pageantry during the latter part of 1999. Fittingly, Singer Sri Lanka, who is doing much for the promotion of rugby and for its development has decided to sponsor an international Asiad 'sevens' where nine teams will scrum down. This was revealed to The Sunday Times by Dr. Sarath Kapuwatte, in association with Rizvan Omar, Malik Samarawickreme, Leslie de Soysa and Malath Fernando at a briefing held on May 24 at Nittawela.

It will be staged on Sept. 4 and 5 and has received the blessings from the Rugby Union. According to a senior source of KSC, Capt. Harsha Mayadunne, Secretary SLRFU, made a personal trek to Nittawela and was happy with the arrangements including security.

This is the first time that a tournament of this nature is being held among the Asian countries, unlike the Cathay Pacific H.K. 'sevens', which is not confined to Asian countries alone. This augurs well for the promotion of the sport in the Asian region. It will be staged at Bogambara.

The following teams will participate: South Korea, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Japan, India and Sri Lanka. Kandy S.C. will organise it with the assistance of the Rugby Union.

Singer Sri Lanka headed by its sport promoting chairman, Hemaka Amarasuriya, who helped in a big way for CR&FC, when they were celebrating their 75th anniversary with a sponsorship package for an international club tournament. Now they have decided to sew up with Kandy S.C., the only club drawn from the outstations playing in the Carlsberg 'A' league championship.

Besides CR&FC, KSC is the only unbeaten team in the ongoing league championship. Their first-leg tie against the Red Shirts in Colombo on June 5 is bound to be a real block- buster.

Pepsi and Gold Leaf, too have come to the fore to assist the Hill Capital Club, to promote the game, said Dr. Sarath Kapuwatte, Ravi Gunawardena Brand Manager (Ceylon Tobacco) and Country Manager (Pepsi) T.S. Venkateswaran was also present at the confab. 

Leslie de Soysa stated that the KSC hierarchy has taken all measures to curb hooliganism in rugby at Nittawela. A strong Police presence backed by video camera, will be there to spot any untoward happening. 

That means the past is forgotten and no repeat of a Black Sunday? You are right. I can assure you it will never happen again. KSC will take back to their avid fans the fun to rugby - street promotion via Pepsi.

A public address system and DJ Music at matches. Discotheque (free) after the matches. After the game the match will be shown on a giant screen in the evening.

It will be a happy family get-together for everyone to bring back nostalgic memories. That's what sport is all about, but not festering over the final outcome.

Yohan Abrahams will handle the social aspects after the game. 

The D.I.G. Kandy, Sirisena Herath, SSP Gamini Navaratne, H.Q.I. Saliya Silva and O.I.C. Katugastota, will streamline the security arrangements. They will be supported by Ranjith Jayaweera and Malath Fernando, No stone will be left unturned.

Standing ovation

This was evident at the Kandy S.C.-Army match last Sunday at Nittawela. It turned out to be a rousing contest where everyone enjoyed to the end. This match was played in a carnival atmosphere. The scoreline was no indication.

The gutty soldiers in the end received a standing ovation all round. Any newcomer, who was there to witness this game may have come to the conclusion that the Army has won the match. Brig. Jupana Jayawardena, who watched this game will testify to this effect. Well done Army!

Also a 'Big Thank You', for Ref. Nizam Jamaldeen, who did an excellent job with the whistle.


Mr. Sri Lanka on May 31st
By P.P.Perera

The Mr. Sri Lanka Junior and Senior and Leo Classic Open event organised by Leo Fitness Club Kalutara will be held at the Kalutara Town Hall on Monday May 31 at 5 p.m. Cash prizes, Medals and certificates will be awarded to the winners, Secretary E.C.R. Srimal Fernando said. Fifteen will compete in the Leo Classic Open event. 

Rangika carrom champ

Rangika Sanjeewani of Our Lady of Victories Convent Moratuwa and Chamil Cooray of St. John's Nugegoda won the girls' and boys' under 14 junior singles titles respectively at the 14th Federation Cup Carrom championships held at the Sri Lanka Carrom Federation headquarters at the Racecourse. In the girls' under 15 final Rangika of Our Lady of Victories, Moratuwa beat Thilini Dinesha of Anula Vidyalaya 25-12, 25-0 while Chamil Cooray beat M.N.M. Nazar 25-23, 16-25, 25-23. 

New AAA Directory

The Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) has decided to revise the Technical Officials Directory of 1995. It has also been decided for the very first time to issue identity cards/record book for all qualified officials. In order to make this project fully comprehensive, full bio-data including name and date of examination passed, officiating experience should be forwarded to Rohan Amarasinghe, Chairman of the officials committee AAA Headquarters, at No. 7, A, Lower Grand Stand, Reid Avenue, Colombo 7 by fax, post or hand delivered before June 30. Only applicants who forward the above information will be included in the revised Directory of Technical Officials. 

Holding criticizes Lara

Former West Indian speedster Michael Holding, now a respected TV commentator has marked February 22nd, the day Brian Lara was re-appointed as captain, as the saddest day in the history of West Indian Cricket. In an article published in a newspaper holding says, "It was a shocking decision and all those responsible should resign. Being captain of West Indies is a huge honour and a huge job. It needs a big man to do it, someone well-rounded as an individual. Brian Lara is not. He is a spoilt child. He has been spoilt by his adoring fans in Trinidad and now thinks he can do whatever he wants." "I really believe Brian needs psychiatric help. Lara is not a leader of men. He thinks of himself as big, and the rest of the players as small. If we cannot find an alternative to Lara, who has so many faults, maybe it's time for West Indies to take a Sabbatical from International Cricket and come back in four or five years." (MF) 

Siddons calls it a day

Sheffield Shield's highest run-getter Jamie Siddons played his final first class game for South Australia in March this year. An aggressive right hand batsman Siddons is considered to be the best batsman never to have played for Australia. The South Australian batsman toured Pakistan in 1988 but contracted an illness which cut back his international career. A brilliant player of spin bowling Siddons was also a very good slip fielder. (MF) 

Bucknor honoured

ICC umpire Steve Bucknor had the rare honour of becoming only the second umpire to receive a National Grid Bronze Medal Award. The award is given for standing in 40 Test Matches. Englands David Shepherd was the first to receive the award. (MF) 

Cover Costs at any Cost 
By Marlon Fernandopulle 

Live and Uninterrupted was the promise but the television coverage of the World Cup is far from that. Live no doubt but the interruptions are irritating and disturbing to the viewers. With a number of advertisements inserted between overs on many occasions the first ball of the over is bowled. Wickets have fallen and viewers have missed the action. Replays of the last ball of the over is rarely seen as advertisements are hurriedly inserted soon after the ball is bowled. The TV station also failed to show the presentation ceremony and post-match interviews of Sri Lanka's game against South Africa. When the Sri Lanka-South Africa game was over the India-Zimbabwe game was on and heading for an exciting finish. However the station decided to call it a day instead of televising this game. Poor show! Viewers have called and complained to the station, but to no avail. In fact an officer of the TV station replied one caller, asking him whether he is a businessman and if he is so he will know that they have to cover costs. So viewers beware it's not Live and Uninterrupted but cover costs at any cost! 

Top post for Nehrujee

The Executive Committee of the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) has appointed L. Nehrujee the Secretary of the Nuwara-Eliya Football League and Deputy Mayor of Nuwara-Eliya as the Chairman of the International Affairs of the FFSL. Nehrujee is an old boy of Holy Trinity College Nuwara-Eliya and President of Young Birds Sports Club and President of the Nuwara-Eliya District Cycling Association. His appointment was made under the chairmanship of Manilal Fernando, the President of the Football Federation and Vice President of the Asian Football Congress. 

The role of a spinner in limited overs cricket

Limited overs cricket has throughout been very cruel to bowlers at all levels of the game. No distinction can be made between fast bowlers seamers and the slow men, spinners as they are widely known. But why is that a spinner unless he happens to be a Kumble, Muralitharan or a Saqlain, somehow not been able inspire confidence among most of the captains?

Sometimes one wonders if the role of spinners in limited overs cricket has diminished in these days of power-hitting and due to the emphasis on packing the side with medium pacers. It is true that most of the teams over the years have not placed much confidence in the spinners even though the truth is that more than a few slow men have held their places over time.

It would be naive to assume that a spinner has a limited role to play in limited overs cricket. How does his stock fall and that of the fast bowler rise just because it happens to be limited overs cricket? In Test cricket, they seem to enjoy the same status.

Spinners made no impact in 1983 World Cup and there was not much role until the next event was held in the sub-continent in 1987. Most teams preferred two spinners and suddenly there was recognition for the slow men in the world of limited overs cricket.

When the World Cup travelled to Australia and New Zealand in 1992, once again the seamers dominated the scene but it was the off-spin of Dipak Patel that made news. In a tactic that baffled the Cricket World, he opened the bowling against Australia, South Africa, West Indies, India and Pakistan, where no spinner made any impression. Patel finished with an economy rate of 3.10 conceding just 245 runs in 79 overs.

Patel proved that there was a role for the spinners in limited overs cricket. He stood tall amidst a galaxy of established bowlers and being a spinner meant that he was the only one from this tribe. He did very well with his tight bowling, specially when operating with the new ball.

Then the World Cup travelled to the sub-continent and once again the smile returned to the faces of the spinners. There was success for Muttiah Muralitharan, Anil Kumble, Paul Strang, Shane Warne and Mushtaq Ahamed. They may not have set the stands afire. But they all figured in the list of leading wicket takers. Even Sanath Jayasuriya excelled for Sri Lanka, which ultimately won the World Cup.

It took a long time to break the myth that spinners were of little use in limited overs cricket. A quality bowler whether fast or slow, was bound to make his presence felt. And with time, as the tactics changed it became increasingly important to have variety, and spinners had more and more opportunities to find a place in the team.

To many, a spinner may look innocuous but his wicket taking ability is not in any way inferior to that of the pace bowler. The fact that a spinner adds variety is in itself a quality that cannot be ignored.

It is widely known that a spinner has more access up his sleeve than a medium pacer. The sheer variety allows the captain such a wide choice to go for. An off-spinner, leg-spinner and a left arm spinner can be used according to the pitch, situation and the opposition and it is this wide range of attack that makes the spinners such significant men.

Look at someone like Shane Warne. He can baffle the best of the batsmen with his guiles, from the top spinner to the flipper and the googly, not to ignore his big leg spinner which curls in and often beats the man from behind his legs.

Anil Kumble can be a terror if the ball is bouncing, he can be unplayable, at times even shocking the batsmen with a bouncer or two or one which whips past the defence to crash into the stumps.

Have you ever spoken to the victims of Saqlain Mushtaq? They would be too embarrassed to talk about it as they often play the wrong line and look like novices.

What of Muralitharan? Well, he can make the ball turn even on a sheet of glass. The deformity in his bowling arm gives him a definite edge and the respect he commands is a subject of envy on the circuit.

A spinner is far more versatile in what he has to offer than a medium pacer. A leg-spinner can change the course of the match in a matter of one over and Warne has often given a demonstration of this. Saqlain is a bowler one can safely count on in any conditions and one can't remember more than a couple of occasions when he has been clobbered.

Muralitharan and Kumble have proved expensive on a few occasions but then they have also proved to be match winners. A match winner, that is what a spinner is in the opinion of many critics. More often than not, spinners are known to perform an have shown greater consistency in whatever they do, restricting or striking. 

A spinner by instinct loves a battle when it involves the mind. It is not easy to master a spinner in any grade of cricket and one has to be watchful in limited overs cricket too where the spinner is all the more aware of his limitations.

In the case of a fast bowler, or a medium pacer, a batsman can use the speed of the ball to his advantage. Even a mishit or an edge flies to the boundary and thus prove expensive. It is also difficult to plug the gap because the medium pacers generally find it difficult to bowl to their field. Not that the spinners do not stray, but the probability of a medium pacer going off the mark happens to be greater. 

Normally a spinner does not bowl as many wides and no balls as a seamer, which can be crucial in close matches. Now with the change in the no ball rule according to which runs scored off a no ball are in addition to the one run for the no ball, this aspect become more important.

A spinner can be difficult to hit, for the simple reason that it requires skills. A batsman has to use his feet to upset the ryhthm of a spinner and to do that he needs to step out repeatedly. A medium pacer has to be played from the crease but similar tactic against the spinner can prove disastrous.

To score against a spinner batsman has no option but to attack. Unless you are good at playing the sweep, it is not easy to work the ball if the spinner is on target. Accuracy is always the strong point of a spinner and that makes it tougher for the batsman.

By Ramesh Joseph

Proud Native proves a handful

By Ismail Khan 

D. Nicholas's Proud Native being in the cold storage for more than a few months and having finished 10th to Night Flight on 12/5 at York came back with blazing colours to take the Achilles Stakes, a listed event at Kempton Saturday last beating such good horses as Almaty and To The Roof. Off a rating of 121 and carrying 9.3 the P.D Saville owned 5 year old ridden by Alex Greaves, the only lady rider in the race, hit the front a furlong out and beat Frankie Dettori ridden Almaty quite convincingly. To The Roof held in to take 3rd place. It was Proud Native's 9th win of his career and now he goes onto Royal Ascot's 6 furlongs sprint blockbuster. 

Follow him whatever the odds laid on him. D. Nicholas thinks the 6 furlongs journey is well within his reach and why not go for it while the iron is hot. Yes why not?. Kempton began the evening meet programme on a solemn note, Ardent hammering home the advantage in weight to beat off sustained efforts by Harmony Hall to take the £5000 Apprentices Handicap over 9 furlongs, Farmost finishing 3rd of 12 starters. Harmony Hall who was banked off an opening in the homestretch could go one better if sent over a mile which is his pet distance. Michael Stoute's Seige got off the mark in style when ridden by Tony Quinn. He zoomed up over the final furlong to collar Pink Cristal and Quiet Millfit. 

NCC to promote aqua sport

By Bernie Wijesekera

Nondescripts Cricket Club the century-old club with a great tradition for cricket, has also decided to promote yet another sport- swimming.

The pool will be ready by mid- July '99 "a brainchild of my predecessor Chanaka de Silva" said the newly elected president of the NCC, Leslie Hewage to the Sunday Times. Hewage, who served as sectretary under Chanaka de Silva said it was his brainchild along with Elmo de Silva to make it a reality. Elmo de Silva a highly acclaimed architect is also a vice -president. It must be mentioned that when Chanaka took over the reins and during his 3-year tenure did a fantastic job to uplift the club's image further, he added.

The club's Ex- Co was prepared even go to the extent of amending its constitution with a view to afford Chanaka de SIlva, to continue as president of the club and complete his good wirk. He was not prepared to hang on, but made way for another to take over, he added. Today he serves the club as an ordinary committee member and helps the club with his expertise. He has played the game at the highest level and has the acumen for administration. He put the club's finances in a sound position, with his strategy, Hewage said.

Q- Now that you are the president, what are your plans? 

A- Well, I will continue the good work of my predecessor for the betterment of the club. Further I've got an experienced committee and with an unstinted team effort nothing is impossible. Secretary Lionel Gunasekara, is a glutton for work and even has the ability to serve at a higher level. He hails from a cricketing stock. Fittingly the former secretary Nimal Ranchigoda is now a vice -persident along with Ranjit Fernando, who is a senior vice -president. 

The club has not forgotten the past greats who made a great sacrifice with their own men and material for the Maitland Place Club reign in the local cricket scene. They will not go unheard unsung. 

This is one reason that the membership decided to honour legendary club member Vernon Prins as the patron. Despite years rolling by, he still actively participates in club activities, Hewage added. It was during his era that the old Thomian led the club with distinction to be tagged as the champion club, and also won the Andriesz Shield - the major tournament. With players like Rienzie Perera, Roy Abeysekara, Asoka Perera, Stanley Jayasinghe, Fred Perera, Brian Peiris and late Jimmy Vanderkoen, etc. 

Today, the club gives playing opprtunities to talented youngsters, mostly drawn from less affluent schools, to go places. With the addition of the swimming pool to its wings to cater for its membership, NCC should reach greater heights under amiable Hewage, who is a staunch supporter of sport with his experienced committee. There is no club politics and bonhomie prevails at all times. This was the cornerstone for its success in the past and its being continued to date.

The noble game is all forlorn

By Nalin Fernando

The English cricket hierarchy hoped that hosting the World Cup series in England would bolster the flagging image of the game in the land where it all began. This desire seems only partially satiated.

Unfortunately, a few negative aspects are appearing in their plan of action especially when the matches are played in staid and picturesque country club cricket grounds, the veritable nurseries of the sport. Colour television shows it all.

It is in these arena's of traditional sporting rivalry that the basics of decorous spectator enjoyment of the noble game are observed with religious fervor. 

British gentry sit in the summer sun in cultivated somnolence and the crack of willow on leather is punctuated by polite voices murmuring "good shot, sir" followed by the gentle slap of palm upon palm to acknowledge bat and ball artistry.

Alas, during the last few encounters in the World Cup calendar it has not been so. 

Hoardes of foreigners have invaded these exclusive gardens, raucous voices of peculiar accents have rent the air, horrible wooden devices have rattled and flags and banners waved violently jolting sleepy squires lounging on milk - white benches in the tiers and even rousing rooks resting in majestic oaks bordering the grounds.

The final act of this unbecoming scenario is in the refreshment marquee erected on the manicured lawn beside the pavilion.

In the days before World Cup, brawls were held in these venerated meadows of cricket worship, the luncheon fare was in the order of cold cuts, hot pies, bangers with English mustard and cucumber sandwiches with gentle ladies passing the slices of home- made fruit- cake.

Now, it is reported mobile kitchens outside the grounds are serving curried neck-of-lamb, cray-fish gumbo, sheep- tongue ' burgers and assorted meats in mealy gruel.

By gad, the pity of it all. Worcester and Hove may well be Colombo or Calcutta.

The ICC- 1999 Cricket World Cup Official Magazine

Explosively beautiful and highly informative

It is not every book or magazine that you can lose yourself in over the cricket season with many other diversive distractions during the same season and the official cricket magazine of the World Cup 99 is so fascinating and absorbing that it left me breathless.

The skills of the writers are evident. They are loud and clear and often very frank, unique and yet so professional. There is a highly recommended and enjoyable collection of articles covering many aspects of the game and its history. The magazine is a complete and comprehensive guide to all aspects of the World Cup 99 and leaves nothing to imagination. The World Cup details have covered from just about every conceivable angle.

The magazine is for those who can read between lines, play, hear, observe, view, dial, digest or even scream. There is plenty for thought provoking. Timing can be everything that add value to literature on any subject, let alone cricket. This is a completion of a detailed book and not of a magazine that one comes across seldom. The battle between 12 countries, their anguish, hopes, goals, aspirations and frustration at aiming for the top- most coveted title in One-Day International tournaments, is bared to the point. No doubt, they all become history in just few weeks time when the last set of bails are picked up at the Finals. However, for the moment the sparks are flying high. This magazine by any name is above all, the best. It may not be the exquisitely bound coffee-table volume but left alone, it is a class of its own with no parallel on the subject.

There are several books and magazines, brochures and miles and miles of print on the World Cup but this is the official magazine put up by the England and Wales Cricket Board who are the sponsors of the World Cup 1999. The Chairman of the ECB, Lord MacLaurin, makes a splendid foreword, befitting the pages to follow.

The book deals with the uphill task of unfolding the magnitude of work undertaken to host this event which has even put the World FA Cup in the freeze. Twelve teams, 36 warm-up matches, 42 matches and their scheduled venues is no easy task even for brilliant organisers, let alone the unprecedented feast of cricket that ultimately result.

All 12 countries have been introduced in glowing terms, identifying their potential in the World Cup as well as introducing the new crop players as 'World Cup Virgins' in page 113. However, on Sri Lanka, I was taken aback on the caption 'Ranatunga has some very fine qualities but is also single-minded. On certain issues, he will not change to please other people.' Few years back this type of report would never have been heard of nor seen in print as Ranatunga was held in high esteem as the flawless captain.

I hold nothing against him but on the system that brought pressure on him and trust he will ride out of it. However, Muttiah Muralitharan gets star-billing which he richly deserves. One particular aspect stands out for Sri Lanka as captured by David Hopps of the The Guardian when he pays tribute to Sri Lanka and her cricket-crazy nation as well as the scenic beauty of the island and goes on to say 'The joy communicated by Sri Lanka's cricketers during a deeply troubled decade has been a testament to the strength of the human spirit.'

The magazine also hints at South Africa being the favourites to win the World Cup but believe me, Pakistan is going to come from behind and snatch it up.

I still see the Imran Khan lustre shining on the Pakistan team. One look at Wasim Akram, Imran's prodigy, is as big as life. Akram is a better captain than Imran as he has more cordial access to the team mates and behaves as one and not as their captain and he is able to draw out their confidence to play as a team.

In short, he is a big brother to them whereas Imran was tough and non-committed. I pick the Bangladesh team as the best outsider to win the next World Cup. They are so bright, team co-ordinated and eager and their innocence is outstanding. No rumpus, no grumbling and each umpire decision taken with a smile. They spoke very highly for their country. Zimbabwe was outstanding in their fielding and South Africa better keep improving and not allow them to overtake this speciality.

I am privileged to write this review in the face of women being admitted to Lord's, a hitherto male-dominated Mecca of cricket as well as the Women's Cricket Association of England merging with the England and Wales Cricket Board. They are members of the International Women's Cricket Council at which I represent women's cricket of our country. Like England, we too hold Test status and are qualified to play in the Women's World Cup 2000.

I was also amused to see on page 109 a photograph of the VIP holding on to the World Cup 96 and who is responsible for the cricket disaster of our country and whose name has not been referred to. Is it a right royal snub because of the WORLDTEL scandal? The analytical survey of the previous World Cups rating given as an insight to the reader on the rating of each country is something that has to go into print.

How the countries faired{tc "How the countries faired"} England 1975 Semi-finals 1979 Runners-up 1983 Semi-finals 1987 Runners-up 1992 Runners-up 1996 Qtr-finals South Africa 1992 Semi-finals 1996 Qtr-finals Sri Lanka 1975 Group Stage 1979 Group Stage 1983 Group Stage 1987 Group Stage 1992 Group Stage 1996 Winners Zimbabwe 1983 Group Stage 1987 Group Stage 1992 Group Stage 1996 Group Stage Australia 1975 Runners-up 1979 Group Stage 1983 Group Stage 1987 Winners 1992 Group Stage 1996 Runners-up New Zealand 1975 Semi-finals 1979 Semi-finals 1983 Group Stage 1987 Group Stage 1992 Semi-finals 1996 Qtr-finals Bangladesh First time participation this year Kenya 1996 Group Stage Scotland First time participation this year India 1975 Group Stage 1979 Group Stage 1983 Winners 1987 Semi-finals 1992 Group Stage 1996 Semi-finals West Indies 1975 Winners 1979 Winners 1983 Runners-up 1987 Group Stage 1992 Group Stage 1996 Semi-finals Pakistan 1975 Group Stage 1979 Semi-finals 1983 Semi-finals 1987 Semi-finals 1992 Winners 1996 Qtr-finals 

Sri Lanka's woes continuing in cricket

Wednesday, 26th May, 1999, was a day when all Sri Lankan Cricket fans watched in hope, as their team took on the Indians. With defeats at the hands of the English and South Africans, the World champs has let the opportunity diminish to have another crack at the coveted trophy. The victory over Zimbabwe was a welcome relief. But it was not convincing.

So Wednesday came along, and, what a Black Wednesday it turned out to be. Whatever the Indians touched turned to Gold. For the Sri Lankans it turned out to be just the opposite. Take Jayasuriya's run out. He took risk where nine out ten times most fast bowlers would have failed to hit the stumps down. Srinath has to get to the ball, pick it up and throw down the stumps on the turn. He did not have even a second to balance himself. It was a bull's eye throw. The "death bells" began to toll for the Sri Lankans.

The toss has been vital in most of the first round games. The team batting second has had a distinct advantage so often. Even that was not to be on that day. Ranatunge's decision to put the opposition in did not work. After an early wicket Rahul Dravid and Saurav Ganguly took complete control.

It was a classic batting display. The ball came on to the bat at a benign pace. Vaas, Upashantha and Wickramasinge could get no pace or movement off the seam. Vaas has looked good most of the time in the earlier games. That Wednesday he provided "cannon fodder" to Ganguly and Dravid. They have been enjoying themselves at this World Cup. They continued having fun with the helpless Lankans.

Both Ganguly and Dravid are very sweet timers of the ball. In addition they hit the ball strongly. Another common feature is they both play the ball perfectly through the V. A full flow of the bat, arms extended, with perfect placement. 

That track at Taunton without much steep bounce was tailor-made for their type of play. The short boundaries added to the bargain and didn't they make merry. Since the first World Cup of 1975 it was the first time a triple century partnership was posted in a one day international.

With 373 runs on the board the Indians knew that it was a very uphill task for their opponents. Spurred by that Jayasuriya run out their bowlers stuck to the task of bowling a good line and length. They are a steady attack and on their day could well restrict the best of teams. As the Sri Lankan middle order attempted to attack, Robin Singh efficiently picked up five wickets.

Sri Lanka's fielding took a nose dive in the six months leading up to the World Cup. They worked their way back in the lead up games against the counties and also in the earlier games against England, South Africa and Zimbabwe. It all fell apart against the Indians. 

Three possible catches were grassed. India gave a more compact display on the field. Naturally, they smelt victory all through the 43 overs they were on the field.

With the first round completed, the two teams who have impressed most have been South Africa and Pakistan. Its no surprise that the South Africans are up there. They show constant progress and improvement. For quite a time their name has been bandied to be favourites to win the World Cup.

Out of nowhere Pakistan have leapt up in the past three months. Now they are not far behind the "Proteas" on current form.

Both teams have many similar qualities. They play attacking cricket for a start. Their teams have the all-round type of player, so very vital for the one day game. They are strong in pace bowling and have the bowlers who can dismiss a batting line-up. 

They boast of a fine blend of youth and experience. Both teams are astutely led by two men who know a lot about their job. There is one area in the game where South Africa are ahead of their rivals. That is in the fielding department. No team in the world fields consistently well as they do. Fit, agile, strong and athletic they are a pleasure to watch on the field.

These are the two teams that many fancy as favourites for the finals. The South Africans, since the last World Cup, have collectively achieved their success through planning, preparation and commitment. The Pakistani's were in some disarray twelve months ago. They have bounced back thanks to the arrival of three youngsters, Shoaib Akthar, Azar Mahamud and Mohomed Razak. Now Waqar Younus and Mustaq Ahmed carry the drinks and watch from the sidelines. Three great finds in World Cricket.

For Sri Lanka its time to take a long hard look at their game and all that contributes towards keeping it ticking. Since the tour of England last year, their woes have continued to mount. They simply cannot let it go on happening.

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