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A team mate, a brother and a dear friend

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Chairman of selectors Pramodya Wickremasinghe and Consultant Coach Mahela Jayawardene in conversation during last year’s T20 World Cup

Rex Clementine in Bangalore 

Decorated Army General Shavendra Silva some time back was appointed as the Chairman of the National Selection Committee. The role of this committee is to oversee the appointments of selection committees to all sports that are under the Ministry of Sports. He didn’t have many issues dealing with the appointments, but when it came to cricket there was a bone of contention. The Cricket Advisory Committee moved full steam ahead backing Pramodaya Wickramasinghe while the National Olympic Committee raised objections. NOC argued that while there’s no issue with Wicky being part of the Selection Panel, it was pointed out that Chairman of Selectors had to be a person of stature, preferably a former captain. There were heated arguments. Aravinda, MJ, Sanga and Murali came to Wicky’s rescue. Not only have they shared the same dressing room, Wicky is also a dear friend to some of our legends. Friend in need is a friend indeed, they say. Some of these legends consider him as a brother. It could be interesting to find out whether any legend has business interests with Wicky?

Battle hardened General Silva having spent decades on the war front is known for his no-nonsense approach. But when Ara, MJ, Sanga and Murali backed their man, even he mellowed. He observed that whether there could be better cricketing brains than the foursome. He let them have it their way. Alas, not only General Silva, all the cricket loving public have been let down. In the corporate world, for a business to thrive you put professionals in charge and not your friends. Why the legends did otherwise is a serious question. No one is infallible though.

The legends may counter-argue that they had Hobson’s choice but to name Wicky as SLC had sent just a few shortlisted names as selectors. Wicky had already served in the previous committee so he had an advantage to be named Chairman. But hang on, have the legends followed protocol in all their dealings? They have taken many shortcuts and made the SLC Executive Committee dormant. So why make an exception when it comes to a key position that is so vital for the well-being of the game. Well, grapevine has it that they wanted someone trustworthy.

Another chief selector would have vehemently opposed paying peanuts to an Angelo Mathews or a Suranga Lakmal. With Wicky it was possible. The end result, the premature retirement of Lakmal. The consequences of his departure will be soon felt. Lakmal will keep bowling for hours from one end maintaining great discipline. There was enough motivation for Lakmal too as he was nearing the 200 Test wicket mark. There are eight more Tests this year and Lakmal could have extended his career. But legends paid Lakmal a pittance.

In a bid to keep the home fire burning, Lakmal accepted a generous County Cricket offer. Sri Lanka’s loss is Derbyshire’s gain.

A bull in a China shop is less troublesome than our Chairman of Selectors. Also, don’t forget that Sanga and MJ were the very guys who fought for the pound of flesh when they were players. Today, under their watch players have been treated shabbily. Some Managers at SLC draw higher salaries than our Test captain. That’s the greatest insult done to the institution called Sri Lankan captain. With a 35,000 USD annual retainer, Dimuth Karunaratne is the lowest paid Test captain in the world.  Each Legend took home a cool  100,000 USD above annual retainer when they were players. There’s no better example for poacher turned gamekeeper than our legends. They may argue that they were among top ten ranked players at their time. Well, so is Dimuth.

Soon the current selectors’ terms will end. Let’s have a system where the board advertises the post of selectors and let’s chose from the applicants rather than picking your mates and business partners.

The blunders of the current selection committee are far too many. We have a dollar, gas, fuel and electricity crisis. Like others, cricket crisis too will deepen. The selectors are solely responsible for the status quo. Anyone in his right mind will not play Dinesh Chandimal in T-20 cricket and overlook him for Tests. The selectors’ reading of the game is that bad. Uncle Percy would do a far better job.  The selectors have avoided the media like the plague and never once have called a press conference to explain their decisions. That maybe a good indication of their guilt.

We need some competent people running the show. Not friends or business partners of legends.



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Anuga, Rajindu shine with centuries

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Under 17 Division I Cricket  

by Reemus Fernando  

Wesley’s Anuga Pahansara and Rajindu Thilakaratna of S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia scored match defining centuries as their schools reached the quarter-finals of the Under 17 Division I cricket tournament yesterday.

In the pre-quarter-finals played yesterday, St. Joseph’s, De Mazenod, St. Anthony’s (Wattala), Moratu Vidyalaya, S. Thomas’, Wesley, Mahanama, Gurukula, St. Benedict’s, Mahinda and St. Peter’s registered victories to confirm their places in the quarter-finals of the Division I tournament.

Anuga Pahansara’s century was crucial in setting up the stage for Wesley to post 240 runs before off spinner Rashmika Amararathna and left-arm spinner Jathon Wieman joined to reduce St. Sebastian’s to 117 runs at Moratuwa.

For S. Thomas’ Thilakaratna anchored the batting line up with an unbeaten century (101 runs in 132 balls, 13x4s, 1×6) and put on a fourth wicket stand of 116 runs with Dineth Goonawardena for them to record a five wickets win over President’s College at Kotte.

The day’s lowest score came in the match between St. Joseph’s and Holy Cross as paceman Maanasa Madubashana and spinner Yenula Dewthusa rattled the visitors for 43 runs at Darley Road.

Match Results  

St. Joseph’s beat Holy Cross at Darley Road  

Scores: 

Holy Cross 43 all out in 28.2 overs (Akash Gamage 15; Maanasa Madubashana 4/16, Yenula Dewthusa 3/09) 

St. Joseph’s 46 for 2 in 8 overs (Sahan Dabare 22)  

De Mazenod beat St. Servatius’ at Kandana

St. Servatius ’ 139 all out in 44 overs (Risinu Kithnuka 36, Raveen Kavintha 28n.o.; Jude Shenal 3/37, Thareen Sanketh 3/25) 

De Mazenod 143 for 1 in 30 overs (Kenul Dhananjaya 82n.o., Janith Karindra 22, Hasintha Dasunpriya 30n.o.) 

St. Anthony’s (Wattala) beat St. Sylvester’s at Lake View Scores: 

St. Anthony’s Wattala 148 all out in 48.3 overs (Shehara Dewthilina 21,  Chamod Sandeepa 47, Dilanka Madushan 29; Kashyapa Dissanayake 2/35, Thimira Liyanage 4/24, Nimesha Silva 3/31) 

St. Sylvester’s 126 all out in 30.3 overs (Yoshitha Isuranga 47, Dilanka Madushan 3/36, Chamod Sandeepa 3/16) 

Moratu Vidyalaya beat Thurstan at Moratuwa  Scores: 

Moratu MV 289 for 6 in 50 overs (Hasindu Senanayaka 41, Deneth Sithumina 87, Dulen Silva 48, Malith Fernando 22, Shehara Fernando 49n.o.; Thanuga Palihawadana  

Thurstan 244 for 9 in 50 overs (Kaushala Balasooriya 30, Thanuga Palihawadana 53, Vihas Thewmika 85; Vihanga Nethsara 4/40, Malith Fernando 4/44) 

S. Thomas’ beat President’s at Kotte  Scores: 

Presidents 226 all out in 47.1 overs (Dinal Induwara 61, Tanuja Rajapakse 55, Punsara Nethmina 29, Kaveesha Yashmika 25; Achintha Rumean 3/35, Darien Diego 2/21, Kavindu Dias 2/39, Dineth Goonawardena 2/40 

S. Thomas ’ 227 for 5 in 47.3 overs (Rajindu Thilakaratna 101n.o., Dineth Goonawardena 48; Sanithu Nethmina 4/50) 

Wesley beat St. Sebastian’s at Moratuwa  Scores: 

Wesley 240 for 8 in 50 overs (Anuga Pahansara 104, Senila Senarathne 36, Rukshan Tharanga 29, Manuth Samarakoon 28; Malindu Daham 2/43, Maheesha Sithum 2/44) 

St. Sebastian’s 117 all out in 42.4 overs (Vihanga Theekashana 47, Venuth Kavimira 28, Rashmika Amararathna 4/07, Jathon Wieman 3/17, Ravindu Sigera 2/29) 

St. Peter’s beat Maliyadeva at Kurunegala  Scores: 

St. Peter’s  247 for 8 in 50 overs (Dilana Damsara 68, Nethan David 35, Ethan Ransiluge 27, Ovin Salgadu 23, Erosh Peterson 27, Sasindu Silva 29n.o.; Thaveesha Balasooriya 3/45, Vinuda Mapa 3/52) 

Maliyadewa 205 all out in 48.5 overs (Sandeepa Bandara 66, Vinuda Mapa 42; Lashmika Perera 2/26, Dilana Damsara 3/35, Salith Gallage 3/49) 

 Mahanama  beat Prince of Wales at Moratuwa   Scores: 

Mahanama 243 for 9 in 50 overs (Dulnith Sigera 59, Gimantha Dissanayake 56, Sithika Kulathunga 24, Uden Rajapaksha 22; Prince Fernando 4/40, Nishel Hewajulige 2/24)

Prince of Wales 159 all out in 39.3 overs (Rivith Jayasuriya 54, Kenul de Zoysa 39, Oshan Maneesha 24; Dulnith Sigera 2/20, Osanda Muthugama 4/20, Sihan Karunarathne 2/25) 

St. Benedict’s  beat Vidyartha at Kotahena  Scores: 

Vidyartha 167 for 9 in 50 overs (Pubudu Tharaka 23, Nishmika Kaveesha 57n.o.; Mevan Dissanayake 3/25) 

St. Benedict’s 168 for 1 in 49.2 overs (Dumindu Yehen 38, Yohan Edirisinghe 22, Sharujan Shanmuganathan 23, Onesh Michael 29n.o.; Kalana Kumarasiri 4/23) 

Gurukula beat St. Anthony’s (Katugastota) at Wattala Scores: 

Gurukula 261 for 8 in 50 overs (Thathsara Eshan 80, Pasindu Dilshan 37, Daham Vimukthi 28, Janith Mihiranga 42n.o.; Tharusha Dasun 2/57, Senura Abeysekara 3/37) 

St. Anthony’s 127 all out in 34.1 overs (Januka Bandara 34, Dinura Oshan 30; Tharusha Kodikara 3/31, Hiruna Fernando 3/18) 

Mahinda beat Maris Stella at Galle Scores: 

Maris Stella 187 all out in 47.5 overs (Levin Fernando 55, Mineth Fernando 31; Arosha Udayanga 4/20, Senuka Dangamuwa 2/31, Nikil Jayaweera 2/29) 

Mahinda 188 for 5 in 35.1 overs (Nikil Jayaweera 52, Dineth Pahasara 32, Senuka Dangamuwa 50n.o.; Hasthika de Silva 2/27, Ramith Bandara 2/18) 

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Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo join UAE’s ILT20

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Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Nicholas Pooran are the latest big names from the Caribbean to sign up for the UAE’s International League T20 (ILT20), along with Sri Lanka’s Dasun Shanaka, England’s Ollie Pope and Afghanistan’s Fazalhaq Farooqi.

The league also said that its six franchises – owned by Reliance Industries, Kolkata Knight Riders, Capri Global, GMR, Lancer Capital, and Adani Sportsline – have finalised contracting players through the “directly acquire players” option, though the details of who has gone to which team is not yet known.

Some of the other latest signings up for the ILT20 are: Will Smeed, Rehan Ahmed, Jordan Thompson, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Bas de Leede, Chris Benjamin and Bilal Khan.

The ILT20 is set to begin in January next year in the UAE and is competing with South Africa’s T20 League for players.

On August 8, the ILT20 had announced its first list of signed players which included Andre Russell, Moeen Ali, Wanindu Hasaranga, Alex Hales, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Jordan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Dawid Malan, Sunil Narine, Evin Lewis, Colin Munro, Fabian Allen, Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Dushmantha Chameera, Akeal Hosein, Tom Banton, Sandeep Lamichhane, Rovman Powell, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Lahiru Kumara, Seekugge Prassanna, Charith Asalanka, Isuru Udana, Niroshan Dickwella, Kennar Lewis, Ravi Rampaul, Raymon Reifer, Dominic Drakes, Sherfane Rutherford, Hazratullah Zazai, Qais Ahmad, Noor Ahmed, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Naveen-ul-Haq, Dan Lawrence, Jamie Overton, Liam Dawson, Richard Gleeson, James Vince, Saqib Mahmood, Ben Duckett, Benny Howell, Blessing Muzarabani, Sikandar Raza, Brandon Glover, Frederick Klaasen, David Wiese, Ruben Trumpelmann, Colin Ingram, George Munsey, Paul Stirling and Ali Khan.

Each squad of 18 will have two players from Associate countries and four players from the UAE.

There have been suggestions that the space for Pakistani players in the league might be limited because franchises owned by IPL owners were wary of picking them for worries of a backlash in India. One ILT20 official said the franchise owned by Lancer Capital – the Glazers family that owns Manchester United – were still hopeful of signing up some Pakistan players, though the official acknowledged that not getting the NOCs from the PCB might be the obstacle. The PCB said in a statement last week that two Pakistan players had applied for NOCs to play in the league but were not granted them because the board expected the players to be involved in Pakistan’s home season.

The 2023 edition of the ILT20 will have 34 matches – all the teams will play each other twice, before four playoffs, including the final – spread across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.

(Cricinfo)

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Bowlers, Balbirnie steer Ireland to comfortable win

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Josh Little, Mark Adair, Curtis Campher and Gareth Delany picked up two wickets each before Andy Balbirnie’s 46 off 36 balls broke the back of a 123-run chase to give Ireland a five-wicket win in the second T20I in Belfast. The hosts now lead the five-match series 2-0.

Afghanistan opted to bat first for the second time in two games but their innings never really took off. Both openers – Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Usman Ghani – were back in the pavilion by the third over. At the end of ten overs, they were hobbling at 62 for 4. The second half of the innings was no different and they finished with 122 for 8. Extras, with 19, the second-highest contributor.

Afghanistan needed early wickets to put Ireland under pressure but Balbirnie ensured that didn’t happen. The target was never going to challenge Ireland, and Afghanistan’s sloppy fielding made their task even easier. That meant despite a late wobble, they won with an over to spare.

For the first time in his T20I career, Rashid Khan went wicketless in back-to-back games. After none for 25 in the first T20I, he ended with none for 27 from his four overs today.

On what Mohammad Nabi described as a dry pitch at the toss, the Ireland seamers found movement as well as extra bounce with the new ball to pick up three wickets in the powerplay.

Adair struck with the first ball of the second over as Gurbaz sliced a full delivery to short third. In the next over, Little got one to jag back in to Ghani. The batter was looking for a cut but was cramped and ended up chopping the ball onto his stumps.

Ibrahim Zadran walked in at No. 4 and tried to up the scoring rate. He took on Barry McCarthy, hitting the seamer for three fours in his first over. In the next over, he steered Campher to the deep-third boundary for his fourth four in nine balls. However, a stunning catch from Andy McBrine cut short his counterattacking knock. Ibrahim tried to loft Curtis over wide long-on on the final ball of the powerplay but ended up miscuing it towards deep midwicket. McBrine sprinted in from the deep and put in a full-length dive to take the ball just above the ground, leaving Afghanistan 41 for 3 at the end of six overs.

Afghanistan needed a partnership to stabilise the innings; instead, they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Najibullah Zadran started in his usual positive manner, reverse-sweeping McBrine for a four, but ended up uppercutting Campher straight to deep point soon after. Nabi didn’t last long either and holed out to long-on for 9 against Delany.

Hashmatullah Shahidi did occupy one end but struggled for timing throughout his 42-ball 36. Ironically, when he nailed a reverse sweep, it went straight into the hands of deep point. With Rashid failing to provide any fireworks, Afghanistan could manage only 22 from the last four overs.

Ireland lost Paul Stirling early in their chase and were 8 for 1 after three overs, but Balbirnie struck four fours in the next 11 balls to calm the nerves. A couple of overs later, he swept Mujeeb Ur Rahman in front of square leg for the first six of the match.

Along with Lorcan Tucker, he added 65 off 54 balls for the second wicket; Tucker’s contribution was 19 off 20 balls. Mujeeb eventually broke that stand when Balbirnie attempted a fine sweep but the ball lobbed up off the back of the bat and Gurbaz pouched it.

With 42 required from as many balls, Nabi brought himself on for the first time in the 14th over and made an immediate impact. In the space of four balls, he sent back Harry Tector and Tucker. But his second over, which featured four leg-byes, went for 13. That left Ireland with 20 needed from 24 balls. Fazalhaq Farooqi and Naveen gave away only 12 in the next two overs, with Farooqi also dismissing Campher. But George Dockrell kept his calm. On the final ball of the 19th over, bowled by Farooqi, he chipped a full toss over wide long-on to seal the game with a six.

Brief scores

Ireland 125 for 5 (Andy Balbirnie 46, Lorcan Tucker 27, Mohammad Nabi 2-15) beat Afghanistan 122 for 8 (Hashmatullah Shahidi 36, Ibrahim Zadran 17, Mark Adair 2-12, Curtis Campher 2-13) by five wickets

(Cricinfo)

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