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5th September 1999

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Dream to nightmare

Going into the one-day final against Sri Lanka the scene was set for a fairytale ending but, as often happens in sport, it became more of a nightmare.

At stake was the Aiwa Trophy, a world record-equalling streak of 12 games without defeat, Geoff Marsh's last game as one-day coach and, for me, I was equalling Allan Border's 273 games for Australia in the yellows.

For us it was a day we'd like to forget. All facets of our game were not up to standard while the locals excelled and confounded the critics with a terrific all-round performance.

Sometimes it is just meant to be, much in the same way we squeezed past South Africa in the World Cup semi-final.

Moments before the toss Tom Moody came up to me and told me he thought he wasn't fit enough to play after his system responded adversely to anti-inflammatory medication the day before.

Worse was to follow when our 12th man Damien Martyn tripped and fell when trying to rush out some drinks to a thirsty and knackered captain.

He sprained his ankle but, much worse, he damaged his pride as he lay spreadeagled on all fours in front of the boys and the crowd.

Our batting was impatient but credit must be given to the Sri Lankan bowling which was disciplined and their agile, sharp outfielding enabled them to keep the pressure on. Under the guidance of fielding coach Trevor Chappell and team coach Dav Whatmore, the Sri Lankans look a strong, tight unit - a direct contrast to the one that disappointed in England in the World Cup.

The bowling and fielding from our point of view wasn't up to the recent, lofty standard and, being realistic, it had to happen eventually because we had been absolutely outstanding in the previous 11 games.

Losing was a letdown but we gained many positive points out of the experience.

The impressive entry of Andrew Symonds into international cricket was important for our future.

And the sight of both he and Ricky Ponting prowling the inner circle is worth paying the admission price alone in Australia.

Symonds' composure under pressure was very evident as was his shot selection and his bowling has potential.

Adam Gilchrist again was outstanding with bat and gloves. He continually got us away to an excellent start in our innings, enhancing his claim as the most destructive batsman in one-day cricket.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect came in the form of Jason Gillespie. He looked tremendous, causing all batsmen problems with his extreme pace, extra bounce and relentless pressure on top of his great focus and determination.

The future for "Dizzy" will be similar to the path Glenn McGrath is following. Together they will form crickets most lethal opening pairing for years to come.

The time has come to switch over to Test match cricket, with the specialist one-day guys on the plane home while the Test boys settled into Colombo a couple of days ago.

A player's worst nightmare came to haunt Ian Healy and Matthew Hayden when their bags were lost in transit - supposedly in Hong Kong - for their first couple of days here.

With tours being on a tight schedule these days we have only one lead-up game before the First Test in Kandy, making it a really tough decision as to who to leave out.

I expect this series to be tough, with Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda De Silva likely to return for Sri Lanka, adding experience and technique to their squad.

The wickets no doubt will be low and slow, suiting their spin attack and batting, which can be inferior on bouncing, seaming wickets.

If the Test strips do turn, we are well equipped to cope with Colin Miller, Stuart MacGill and Shane Warne.

If "Funky"' Miller does play, let's hope he does well so he can give us all five minutes rest from his favourite pastime of recalling the day he hit Curtly Ambrose for two sixes while smashing 42 in Antigua.

- Taken off The Daily Telegraph, Australia


Anthony Charles Exhibitions

Renowned martial artist Anthony Charles will conduct two exhibitions on Sunday, September 5 at Ja-Ela and Negombo.

Anthony of 'Blood Sport' fame will demonstrate various methods of fighting coupled with his 'art' which is mainly centred around kick-boxing.

The first exhibition is scheduled at 2.30 pm at the Rasanga Rangahala in Ja-Ela while the other is programmed at 5.30 pm at the Jayani Higher Educational Centre in Negombo. Anthony's feats include becoming the runner-up in the 1998 British Open Tournament and entering the final round of the European Cup the previous year. No entrance fee will be charged to witness these exhibitions. (RN)

Meet Peter Roebuck

All members of the Sports Media Association of Sri Lanka are requested to be present at the Old Wesleyites Sports Club at Campbell Park on Tuesday Sept. 7 at 6.30 pm to meet Peter Roebuck, the well-known cricket writer from England.

He will arrive in Sri Lanka on Tuesday, September 7 to cover the Test series between Sri Lanka and Australia.

This function will be sponsored by the Old Wesleyites Sports Club.

Junior Squash Nationals

The Sri Lanka Junior Squash Nationals for boys and girls under 11,13,15,17 and 19 conducted by the Sri Lanka Squash Federation will be held from September 15 to 19.

The first round upto the quarter-finals will be played at the S. Thomas' Indoor Stadium courts while the semi-finals and finals will be played at the Trans Asia Hotel Courts.

These championships were scheduled to be held last month but was postponed due the A/L examination.

The Sri Lanka team to participate in the International Junior Age Group championship hosted here will be picked after the Junior nationals.

The Age Group championships will be held in Sri Lanka from October 16 to 19 with Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and India participating.

National School Games

The National Schools Games which commences this weekend will be conducted in four stages, the first in Badulla, the second in Kandy. Matale/Gampola, the third in Colombo and the fourth in Matara.

The first stage will be held in Badulla from September 4 to 6, the disciplines being volleyball, chess, body-building, kabaddi, table tennis and gymnastics.

The second stage will comprise, netball, karate, judo, wrestling, hockey, football and physical training to be held in Kandy/Matale and Gampola.

Colombo will conduct stage 3 from Septemberr 18 to 20 in basketball, tennis, boxing, swimming, cycling, carrom and elle.

The final stage will be conducted at the Uyanwatta Stadium at Matara from September 27 to 30 in track and field events.

Annual Golf Classic

The Sri Lankan Airlines Annual Golf Classic championships which promises to be as exciting as before will be held on Saturday and Sunday October 9 and 10 at the Royal Colombo Golf Links at the Ridgeways.

This Classic is an amateur tournament conducted in accordance with the rules of golf adopted by the royal and ancient golf club of St. Andrew's and the local rules of the match committee.

As usual, an attractive array of prizes including first and business class air tickets, trophies and a holiday package is on offer.

This is the fourth in the series of annual, international amateur golf classics that SriLankan Airlines has initiated to develop Sri Lanka as an international golfing-cum-holiday destination.

Participants will be from USA, UK, Japan, Kuwait, Dubai, Oman, Thailand, India and Pakistan. A mini tournament will be conducted at the Victoria Golf Club, Rajawella on Thursday, October 7.

Athletic Seminars

The Chairman of the Officials Committee of the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA), Rohan Amarasinghe will be conducting two more Technical Officials' Seminars in Anuradhapura. One seminar will be in Sinhala while the other will be in English, which will benefit the participants from Vauniya and Trincomalee.

Both the seminars will be held on September 11 and 12 at Vivekananda College, Anuradhapura, while the Technical Officials' examination will be held in late October in six district centres.

Interested participants from Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa should contact K. P. Gunapala or R. G. N. Chandrasekera on 025-35498/21135 while the participants from Vauniya, Trincomalee should contact T. M. Devendra on 024-22272 or Vimalarajan or A. S. Gunarathnam on 026-22723 for further details and registration.

Hewage heads GSS Volleyball

SSP, Upali Hewage of the Depot Police was elected as President of the Government Services Volleyball Federation at its Annual General Meeting held recently.

D.F.A.P.Jayakody of the Colombo Municipality was elected Vice President with Joe Jayawardena as Secretary.

W.B. Walisundera of the Prisons was elected Assistant Secretary with S. Jinadasa also of the Prisons Department was elected as Treasurer with K. Wijemanne of Police Sports Club as Assistant Treasurer.

Schools Hockey Sevens

The Seethadevi Balika MV organised an All-Island Under-19 boys and girls seven-a-side hockey tournament which will be held on September 25 and 26 at the Police Park, Kandy.

Entries will close with the Principal, Seethadevi BMV., A. P. D. Sumanasekera on September 15 and should be confirmed on telephone, 08-234435, 077-802745. The draw will be held on September 15 at the College Hall at 10 a.m.

ACC spreads its wings

By Bernie Wijesekera

The Asian Cricket Council's aim is to help develop among the emerging nations and spread its wings and popularise the game.

This was revealed by the newly elected Chairman, Mujeeb-ur- Rehman Khan, at a press briefing after the general meeting, held at the Hilton Hotel.

Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, who takes over from Sri Lanka's Thilanga Sumathipala, is also the Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board.

The ACC was formed in 1998 - Sumathipala was its first chiarman and did an excellent job with his committee. It also culminated in the first Tri Nation Test series betwen India Pakistan and Sri Lanka.. Pakistan became the first winners in the final played in Dhaka.

The Asian Test Championship is the first of its kind held in the world and a rare milestone in the annals of test cricket.

The tournament itself was played at four venues to attract spectator interest. In all probability a Test World Cup may become a reality in the near future.

ACC today, is an affiliate of the ICC and a major partner in the world's controlling body. The ICC has given a grant of £250,000 to the Asian CC for its development plan, to help emerging nations.

Q - In what way are you going to help them? A- We will improve their cricketing structure. Firstly with technical coaches. Organising domestic tournaments - including among the schools. Help them with competent coaches. ACC will also help with its infrastructure, he added.

Countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Maldives etc., have taken to the game in earnest.

My predecessor, your energetic young chairman Thilanga Sumathipala, has sown the seeds. Now its wings have been spread to West Asia where Oman, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have gained admission. They are associate members.

In the Asian region - three nations have already held their own against the other cricketing nations - India Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The trio have won the world Cup and a pride to the cricketing fraternity in Asia.

The newly elected secretary, Khalid Aziz, told the Sunday Times, that the next ATC championship will be held in April 2,000, in Bangladesh. It will be a four nation contest, with the fast improving Bngladesh being included.

Aziz said much attention will be focused on the Youth Asia Cup. The future of the game lies in them and the ACC will do its best to help them with men and material.

The outgoing chairman, Thilanga Sumathipala, thanked all those who helped him during his tenure. The ACC is the major body in the Asian region. The Constitutional reform that was initiated, with an eye to develop the game at grassroots level.

He wished that the new committee headed by Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, will continue its good work and be the catalyst in the world of cricket with its consistent performances.

He had a special word of thanks to Mr. Jagmohan Dalmiya and the ICC staff for ungrudgingly helping to make that AC a reality and the president of the BCCI Mr. Raj Singh Dungarpur and PCB chairman, Mr. Khalid Mahmood for their support and experience to fulfil his mission. Saliya Ahangama (secretary) and Trevor Rajaratnam are two past officials of the ACC.

Dickie never depended on electronic eye

The talking point among the cricketing circles is the sub-standard umpiring at the just concluded triangular series between Australia, India and Sri Lanka held here. In the end Sri Lanka beat World Champs Australia handsomely.

There are no two words that Sri Lanka outplayed the Aussies with a tremendous team effort with their new-look team sans the old brigade, under Sanath Jayasuriya. In this final, the umpiring was found wanting. Was it human error or a blind eye shown by the gentlemen in the long coat? Well, our umpires are amateurs, aren't they? But they must act without fear or favour.

Warnapura who was giving commentaries had this to say, 'Sri Lanka was in the box seat and could have won without any outside assistance'. He was compelled to make these comments after some dubious decisions.

Apparently, it may happen in other countries, too, some may say. But why should we repeat it here, is the question posed by knowledgeable critics.

Bird, the legendary international umpire states in one of his columns in his autobiography: He is totally against the umpires putting it to the third umpire regularly for decisions. You are the best judge - the man on the spot. Act according to your conscience. You may make a human error, then don't try to off-set with another mistake. - B.W

Two neutral umpires for home Tests soon

By Marlon Fernandopulle

Outgoing Sri Lanka Test Umpire Ignatius Anandappa is of the view that very soon two neutral umpires will officiate in Test matches instead of one.

Retiring after serving as an umpire for a record 36 years Ignatius Anandappa strongly believes that plans are already underway to this effect and fears that it will further limit the exposure of local umpires.As an alternative umpire Anandappa calls on cricket's governing body the ICC to increase the cadre of umpires from two to four in order to give more opportunities and experience to local umpires .

A product of Maris Stella College Negombo, Ignatius captained his Alma Mater in cricket in 1953/54 and later on represented Negombo CC in the Sara Trophy tournament. He joined as an umpire in October 1963 and continued untill he retired a few months ago.

In a wide ranging interview with the Sunday Times the bespectacled umpire spoke of his days as an umpire and recalls some memorable moments.

Excerpts from the interview:

What was your first International Match?

My first International was an unofficial Test between Sri Lanka and the West Indies which was led by Alvin Kalicharan.The match was at Galle and I was partnered by Alan Felsinger.

In how many Test and One day Internationals have you officiated?

Seven Tests and forty three one day Internationals

What was your first Test and any memories of that game?

It was the second Test between Sri Lanka and Australia at the Premadasa Stadium.It was also Muralitharan's first Test and I remember being part of his first victim(Mcdermott was ruled out LBW)

Any other memories you recall during your career as an umpire?

I remember the incident where I revoked a decision against New Zealand captain Martin Crowe.Asanka Gurusinghe appealed after taking a catch at forward short leg.I ruled Crowe as out but the batsman did not move and indicated that Gurusinghe took it off the ground.I walked to my collegue T M Samarasinghe for some advice(which was not very encouraging) and later revoked my earlier decision (which was well within the laws of the game) admitting that it was a mistake.Match Referee at that game S.Venkataragavan now a leading ICC Umpire congratulated me for acting with great courage.

Could you recall any embarassing moments or incidents?

Yes,the 2nd Test between Sri Lanka and New Zealand at the SSC grounds in 1993.As usual I came very early for the game and was climbing the stairs of the SSC pavilion with my partner K. T. Francis when a high ranking Cricket Board official informed us that the Ex-co decided that KT had been replaced for today's game with the stand-by umpire.We were shocked at the sudden decision and I volunteered to stand down. But KT and a few others insisted that I stand for the game.

Any regrets as an umpire?

Missing the opportunity to be the first Umpire appointed to the ICC panel is something I regret very much.I had a very good chance of being an ICC umpire (which is the goal of every umpire today) but failed to make it due to a personal problem that I had at that time.But thanks to the help of God I overcame the problem and made it to the Test Panel subsequently.

You have made it to the Test Panel but never to the ICC panel?

This is mainly due to the short sightedness of the Umpires Committee of the Cricket Board.They should have a policy where all 6 umpires of the Test Panel are rotated in the ICC panel instead of having the same two umpires every year.Only last year that they changed an ICC umpire.If this trend continues local umpires in the Test panel will not get the chance of being an ICC umpire despite being of the same standard.

Do you forsee any changes of the neutral umpire concept?

Yes, according to well informed sources very soon two neutral umpires will be officiating during home Tests limiting the local umpires International exposure further,unless the ICC increases the cadre of umpires from two to four.

What are your future plans ?

I hope to help the Association of Cricket Umpires in whatever way possible for the upliftment of Umpires because that is where I started my ABC of umpiring.Infact the Interim Umpires Committee together with the Director of Umpiring have planned to appoint retiring umpires as match referees and umpire managers at selected games to evaluate umpires.I hope to serve in this capacity,now that I have retired as an officiating umpire.

Apprentice Beech comes of age

By Ismail Khan

Apprentice riders who get allowances are normally at an advantage in weight but there was one rider, an apprentice who did not need an allowance although on regulation he got a 7 pound pull over others and he was non other than Andrew Beech who booted home a double at Epsom last Monday, at a Bank Holiday meet.

Opening out in the Tokyo Trophy Nursery Handicap over 7 furlongs taking Queen's Bench for trainer Ben Hanbury he doubled it up with Stoppes Brow in the last event the Cicero Handicap over a Mile and 114 yards. It was superlative riding by this youngster that got the day. It is very rare an apprentice gets home a duo in all-comers events' and this boy looks something special. He also had a hand in the finish of the second event the principal race of the day, the Tote Bookmakers Sprint Handicap Stakes where he fought it out tooth and nail riding Angie Baby who finished runner-up to Emma Peel (Dettori).

Promotion drive for veteran cyclists

Former Sri Lanka's champion cyclist, Sam Keil together with Anthony Symons covered over 720 kilometres on their promotion drive for veterans' cycling.

On August 2 both Sam and Anthony started their journey from Dehiwela to Hikkaduwa where the duo recruited six in the formation of the Veterans' Cycling Association.

From Hikkaduwa they cycled to Hambantota through Hunugama and Ambalantota and paid a visit to Mount Calvery at Hiniduma, covering 152 kilometres and thereafter rode to Bandarawela which was a 133 kilometre ride, on August 6 on the third run.

The fourth run was from Bandarawela to Nuwara-Eliya, a distance of 52.62 kilometres on August 8 and continued on their fifth run to Kandy on August 10, a distance of 86 kilometres.

On August 12 Sam and Anthony rode from Kandy to Habarana, a distance of 69 kilometres and followed it up to Anuradhapura, a ride of 63.17 kilometres and stretched it up to Maho on August 16th, a distance of 71.45 kilometres.

August 17 was a rest day and on the next day they rode to Kurunegala which is a distance of 45 kilometres and on August 19 they rode to Colombo, a distance of 93.3 kilometres through Polgahawela, Alawwa, Mirigama and Gampaha.

This tour was sponsored by Michael Ellias of Walkers Tours and Mohan Raj, the Director of Atco Refrigerators (Pvt) Limited.

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