Under-19 Division I Tier ‘B’ Final
by Reemus Fernando
One of the positives the premier Under-19 cricket tournament witnessed during the Covid 19 curtailed season is the opportunity the teams got to play in two Tiers in each Division. The Under-19 Division I tournament will witness its second final today (2) when Mahinda College, Galle meet Devapathiraja College, Rathgama in the Division I Tier ‘B’ title fight at the NCC ground. The Tier ‘A’ final between Royal and St. Joseph’s was scheduled for Saturday (1).
Devapathiraja who were promoted to Division I only a couple of years ago did remarkably well during this improvised tournament consisting of 18 teams. When some big time cricket playing schools, namely Dharmaraja, Thurstan, St. Sylvester’s and St. Thomas’, Matara failed to go beyond the league stage, Devapathiraja concluded the league stage as runners up in Group ‘Z’ and knocked out Isipatana and Dharmasoka to reach the final.
However, for the team captained by Sudeera Weeraratne it will be an acid test today as they encounter a team inclusive of some formidable players in the junior arena. Weeraratne will also not be short of formidable players and will bank on Pawan Sandesh and Jeewaka Shasheen for batting consistency. The duo have scored over 300 runs each and have maintained averages of 55 and 61 runs respectively. Slow bowlers Weeraratne, Sasanka Nirmal and Irushka Thimira are the players to watch in the bowling department.
Mahinda are the favourites with Sri Lanka Under-19 player Navod Paranavithana bringing in loads of experience to the final. Skipper Paranavithana will strengthen the batting line up with Kaushitha Kodithuwakku, Danuja Induwara, Rashmika Madusanka and Sandew Induwara. Paranavithana also excelled in the bowling department for Mahinda during this tournament. Kavindu Lakshan, Subanu Rajapaksha and Kushan Madusha are the bowlers who have done well during the tournament.
Mahinda concluded the league stage as runners up to St. Peter’s in Group ‘X’. Their only defeat in that phase was at the hands of St. Peter’s. They reached the final beating St. Joseph Vaz’s College, Wennappuwa and Ananda College in the quarter-final and the semi-final respectively.
Navod Paranavithana (Captain), Rashmika Madushanka, Kawsitha Kodithuwakku, Sandew Induwara, Dhanuja Induwara, Shakya Sampath, Kavidu Lakshan, Osindu Kavindya, Dinura Kalupahana, Subanu Rajapaksha , Kushan Madusha, Kosala Udayanga, Sithira Helitha, Hiruna Gallage, Danindu Chamikara, Chethiya Gunasekara, Shehan Hasaranga, Ranmina Hettiarachchi, Mahisha Chandupa, Nikil Jayaweera.
Danushka Denagama (Coach), Avishka Dilshan (Asst. Coach), Nishantha Kumara (MiC)
Sudeera Weeraratne (Captain), Irushka Thimira, Dinitha Prabanka, Pawan Sandesh, Jeewaka Shasheen, Sasanka Nirmal, Tharindu Rukshan, Matheesha Saranga, Darshaka Sandeepa, Sandaru Theekshana, Chaminda Sandaruwan, Pathum Shaminda, Pradeep Rangana, Hiran Chamikara, Chanuka Sulakshana, Simash Dilunja.
Ranjan Lasantha de Silva (Coach), Ranjith Kumbalathara (MiC)
Independent tribunal clears Gunawardene
An independent Anti-Corruption Tribunal has unanimously cleared former Sri Lanka player Avishka Gunawardene of two charges against him under the Emirates Cricket Board’s Anti-Corruption Code, allowing him to resume participation in cricket with immediate effect.
The detailed decision will be announced to the parties in due course and remains subject to appeal. The ICC (acting on behalf of the ECB) will consider the written reasoned decision in full before making any further comment.
Gunawardene was charged with:
Article 2.1.4 – Directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, instructing, persuading, encouraging or intentionally facilitating any Participant to breach Code Article 2.1.
Article 2.4.5 – Failing to disclose to the ACU (without unnecessary delay) full details of any incident, fact, or matter that comes to the attention of a Participant that may evidence Corrupt Conduct under the Anti-Corruption Code by another Participant.
KJP and Dimuth different styles, contrasting leaders
Dimuth’s successor is Kusal Janith Perera, one of the finest batsmen that we have.
by Rex Clementine
Sri Lanka’s selectors have been ruthless axing as many as six seniors for the upcoming tours of Bangladesh and United Kingdom where they will play T-20 and ODI series. The national cricket team in limited overs cricket in particular has been struggling to make an impact in the last four years. Already forced to play the qualifying tournament of the T-20 World Cup, Sri Lanka is in the borderline in the limited overs championship as well and unless they get the house in order, they will have to qualify for the 50 over World Cup as well in 2023.
In recent times it has been proven that there are young talents good enough to take up the challenges of international cricket and throwing them to the deep end needs to be appreciated. But at the same time rather than doing as many as six changes, you wonder whether there should have been smooth transition rather than total changes.
Captain Dimuth Karunaratne has got the sack. Now, there was one reason for Dimuth to be appointed ODI captain in 2019, just before the World Cup. The team was in tatters and there was rampant infighting. Dimuth was chosen to lead the side despite not having played in an ODI for more than four years.
It worked as Dimuth was able to bring the side together and into the bargain sorted one of the major issues the team’s batting unit was facing. This was a time that Sri Lanka were getting bowled out without utilizing their 50 overs. With the captain occupying one end up, Sri Lanka were able to sort that problem. The 97 he scored against the Aussies at The Oval was a class act playing against a formidable pace attack.
He’s been in superb form as well having accumulated 427 runs in three innings against Bangladesh in the just concluded Test series that included a double hundred, hundred and a half-century.
Dimuth’s successor is Kusal Janith Perera, one of the finest batsmen that we have. His seniority, him able to own a place in the side and fearless approach all stand in good stead for him. However, looking at KJP from a distance, he gives you the impression that he is an introvert. When such a person is given the additional responsibility that’s going to only affect his game. Brian Lara is a classic example. Fabulous player but utter failure as captain.
KJP also had failed a fitness test that would have made him ineligible for the tour of West Indies. But before the final selection was done he was injured. It remains unclear whether KJP has passed the fitness test or he has been given an exception.
Another player who probably deserved to be in the side was Nuwan Pradeep. Used only for limited over games in recent times, Pradeep has done a decent job both bowling at a good pace and remaining economical. Pradeep has lot more to offer for the team.
Thivanka’s record breaking spree continues
Bags South Asian record with third best performance of the world
by Reemus Fernando
Former Maris Stella College, Negombo high jumper Ushan Thivanka produced yet another record breaking feat in his bid to edge closer to Tokyo Olympic qualifying standards and immediately dedicated the victory in Texas to his polio victim mother on Sunday.
The Texas A & M Commerce University scholarship holder cleared 2.30 metres, the top third height cleared in the world this year to win the high jump event held at a championship in Texas. In clearing the height he also broke the South Asian regional record held by India’s Tejaswin Shankar who cleared 2.29 metres in 2018.
Thivanka is in a record breaking spree this year having started with Sri Lanka National Indoor record and then breaking the 16-year old outdoor National Record held by Manjula Kumara. On Saturday (USA time), Thivanka was the sole competitor in his winning height and he made it in his third attempt to further improve his Sri Lanka record.
“I am extremely happy to have achieved this feat. I dedicate this victory to my mother. It is my Mother’s Day gift. She has done a lot for me. I have arranged a friend of mine to send a surprise to her though it is not the Mother’s Day here yet,” Thivanka said in a telephone interview with The Island before embarking on a long journey back to his University.
“Our target was to achieve the direct Olympic qualifying standard. I concluded the event after clearing the 2.30 metres mark in consultation with the coach because there was a strong wind which made it difficult to hold my swinging- leg,” said Thivanka.
The World Athletics set a tough qualifying standard for the Tokyo Olympics raising the bar to 2.33 metres, a height which was once considered beyond the reach of South Asians. While 13 athletes will be selected from direct qualifying method, 19 others will be chosen according to ‘Road to Olympic’ ranking positions.
Though only two other high jumpers have cleared better heights in the world this year, Thivanka’s position in the ‘Road to Olympic’ rankings is below the positions of possible athletes’ quota places yet. Analysts were optimistic that he would improve the rankings within the next two months.
“We are not in a hurry as my coach Rock Light is very much optimistic that I could reach the qualifying standard before the cut-off date,” said Thivanka.
Thivanka said that he was fortunate to be trained by Rock Light and also thanked all those who helped him reach where he is today including his former coach Suranjith Fernando.
Olympian and Asia Games medallist Nagalingam Ethirweerasingham who has followed Thivanka’s progress in the USA closely was the first to predict that the champion athlete would break Manjula Kumara’s record before June this year and strive for an Olympic berth.
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