by Reemus Fernando
Ahan Wickramasinghe and Kawshitha Kodithuwakku cracked blistering knocks as Royal, Mahinda, St. Thomas’, Matara, St. Anthony’s, Wattala and St. Peter’s registered victories in the Under-19 Division I Limited Overs tournament Tier ‘A’ and ‘B’ matches on Saturday.
Ahan Wickramasinghe scored unbeaten 92 runs to set the stage for Royal to record six runs victory over Gurukula in 31-overs a side encounter at Reid Avenue.
Wickramasinghe put on unbroken 110 runs stand for the fourth wicket with Kavindu Pathirathne as Royal amassed 210 runs in their allotted 31 overs.
In reply, Gurukula had their skipper Kemira Nayanatharu and Sajitha Chamod scoring quick fire knocks to take the match to the wire.
Wickramasinghe, who top scored with 92 runs for Royal is the leading scorer of the Tier ‘A’ tournament as he has accumulated over 200 runs in two matches.
Kodithuwakku’s 97 runs, inclusive of nine fours and five sixes, laid the foundation for Mahinda to reach a target of 231 runs with five overs to spare.
While half centuries by Hirantha Jayasinghe and Harindu Jayasekara helped St. Thomas’ Matara beat St. Anne’s by six wickets, Nipunaka Fonseka and Vinuda Liyanage scored half centuries in St. Peter’s 125 runs win over Dharmaraja.
Meanwhile, in traditional encounters St. Sebastian’s and St. Joseph’s earned first innings honours.
Royal win by six runs at Reid Avenue
210 for 3 in 31 overs (Uvindu Weerasekara 19, Ahan Wickramasinghe 92n.o., Kavindu Pathirathne 53n.o., Sadisha Rajapaksha 22)
204 for 8 in 31 overs (Neluka Heshan 28, Rashmika Mevan 33, Sithija Chamod 47, Kemira Nayanatharu 50; Sonal Amarasekara 2/42, Gishan Balasooriya 3/33)
St. Thomas’ beat St. Anne’s by six wickets at Kurunegala
155 all out in 47.1 overs (Risitha Perera 66, Thrimalsha Silva 21; Sachira Rashmika 4/16)
156 for 4 in 45.2 overs (Hirantha Jayasinghe 60n.o., Harindu Jayasekara 58)
Mahinda beat Thurstan by three wickets at Galle
230 all out in 50 overs (Dananja Silva 37, Bawantha Jayasinghe 71, Punthila Kumara 21, Lakmal Perera 19; Subanu Rajapaksha 3/34, Navod Paranavithana 3/36, Kushan Madusha 2/40)
231 for 7 in 44.5 overs (Kawshitha Kodithuwakku 97, Dhanuja Induwara 21, Sandew Induwara 27, Navod Paranavithana 19, Rashmika Madushanka 19; Upul Hettiarachchi 5/35)
St. Peter’s beat Dharmaraja by 125 runs at Bambalapitiya
265 for 7 in 50 overs (Shanuka Galagoda 24, Shanshay Gunathilaka 39, Nipunaka Fonseka 63, Lahiru Chethaka 35, Vinuda Liyanage 64n.o.; Sadeepa Rathnayaka 2/81, Upendra Warnakulasuriya 2/41)
140 for 8 in 50 overs (Pulindu Perera 61; Chamelker de Silva 3/15)
St. Anthony’s beat Devapathiraja by five wickets at Galle
207 all out in 49.1 overs ss(Jeewaka Shasheen 73, Sasanka Nirmal 23, Matheesha Saranga 19; Gihan Sathmika 2/14, Shan Aniketh 2/31)
211 for 5 in 38.2 overs (Gihan Sathmika 50, Romesh Suranga 44, Avishka Tharindu 43n.o., Sadun Rexmotiar 29, Kaveesha Dulanjana 19; Chaminda Sandaruwan 4/42)
St. Joseph’s V Wesley at Campbell Park
223 for 2 overnight 319 for 4 decl. in 80.3 overs (Shevon Daniel 164, Sheran Fonseka 73, Yesith Rupasinghe 55; Thenuka Perera 2/50) and 45 for 1 in 15.1 overs (Dinal Anuradha 26)
156 all out in 66.5 overs (Sahil Dias 39, Anudith Wickramasinghe 23; Dunith Wellalage 6/56, Lahiru Amarasekara 2/46)
St. Sebastian’s V Richmond at Moratuwa
166 all out in 82 overs (Bihanga Mendis 31, Sukitha Prasanna 17, Sandesh Fernando 42; Amshi de Silva 2/49, Tharinda Nirmal 3/34, Nalaka Jayawardana 2/36) and 152 for 5 in 36.5 overs (Yashan Avishka 36, Sukitha Prasanna 62, Chakila Perera 20n.o.; Amshi de Silva 2/15, Kavindu Nirmana 2/16)
8for no loss overnight 97 all out in 36.1overs (Bhanuka Manohara 24, Chehan Subasingha 23; Crishan Fernando 3/15, Kalana Sandeepa 3/21) and 71 for 1 in 28 overs (Bhanuka Manohara 29n.o., Thamindu Pradeeptha 26 n.o.)
When your best brains call the shots
by Rex Clementine
There’s a feeling that the national cricket team has turned things around in white ball cricket after some humiliating experiences in the last seven years where there were whitewashes in plenty and failure to earn automatic qualifications for ICC events. Sri Lanka’s come from behind win in the Asia Cup in UAE is definite indication that the team has certainly made a leap forward. A few people were quick to take credit for the team’s success. As they say, victory has thousand fathers but defeat is an orphan.
There are some individuals who have enjoyed Sri Lanka’s recent success but haven’t gone onto claim credit. Former captain Aravinda de Silva and his Cricket Advisory Committee comprising Roshan Mahanama, Kumar Sangakkara and Muttiah Muralitharan certainly deserves much credit for revamping the cricket structure and introducing some drastic change.
One of Aravinda’s committee’s main decisions was to bring in youth for white ball teams. The young team wasn’t covering themselves in glory at the initial stages and the idea was even frowned upon. However, with constant exposure and with Dasun Shanaka chosen as the new captain, the team started to compete and earlier this month in UAE hit a purple patch. To win five games in a row was quite an achievement and when you think that three of those wins were against India and Pakistan, world’s number one and two ranked teams, you realize how special this was.
There was also a new fitness regime that was introduced around that time. It became a bone of contention with several players becoming ineligible for selections after failing fitness tests. It helped that Sri Lanka had a Head Coach in Mickey Arthur who valued fitness immensely. This resulted in players taking fitness seriously and the consequences of that were less injuries and improved performances.
Restructuring of the coaching department by depending heavily on local talents was another area that was done by the Cricket Advisory Committee. It was not only the national team that was looked at but dedicated coaching staff for under-19, development squad and the ‘A’ team were timely moves.
Another decision taken by them was introducing a new payment scheme for players whereby a performance based system was introduced. Although it was challenged at the start, the stakeholders bought into the new system as it was on merit rather than seniority. The Cricket Advisory Committee’s tenure was short lived but the structures that they put in place were vital in reviving the fortunes of the national cricket team.
Not all parties agreed with the changes that were introduced but they were needed. The Asia Cup win was Sri Lanka’s first major series triumph in eight years. If Sri Lanka wishes consistency on the cricket field moving forward, we need to make most of some of the best brains that we have in the game. Credit should go to Sri Lanka Cricket as well for agreeing to take a back seat and allowing their former captains to call the shots on vital matters in a bid to make the national cricket team competitive again.
Junior Development Committee commences Youth Awakening 2026 ahead of next Youth Olympics
The Junior Development Committee (JDC) appointed by the National Olympic Committee (NOC) is launching its operations under the program “Youth Awakening 2026” to identify and support young sportsmen and women of the highest caliber with a focus to produce star class athletes and increased success for the Sri Lanka National team in the international arena.
“Youth Awakening 2026” being the first of its kind looks to provide young athletes with consistent and continuous mentoring and training through a comprehensive threefold strategy adapted by the Junior Development Committee, by way of Programs, Direct Athlete Support and Funding.
“When it comes to high performance, we take the top athletes in Sri Lanka. Although they are top in Sri Lanka they are far below against the rest of the world and the strategy put together by the JDC would be the answer that would raise the standard of sports in Sri Lanka and allow our athletes to compete with the rest of the world” says Chairman of the Junior Development Committee of the NOC Shirantha Peiris.
Through Programs created and developed to promote fundamental principles and values of Olympians in Sri Lanka, Athletes could look forward to being connected with trainers, nutritionists and sports psychologists who would play a key role in creating a healthy mindset and a positive approach towards their education, sports, and career.
Young High Potential players are offered a unique advantage with the ‘Direct Athlete Support Program’ designed to identify and provide opportunities aimed to facilitate their development and expose them to the next level of their chosen pathway through School Placement programs and holistic sports training. Two interesting developments of the program include a ‘Health cover’: where all JDC contracted athletes will be provided with a free of charge medical cover for the duration of their contract; as well as a ‘Medal incentive funding program’ that would promulgate state funded grants or corporate funded incentives to athletes who showcase true potential to win a medal in the international games.
The JDC takes pride in this unparalleled and one-of-a-kind program that is fully self-funded thereby reiterating its ethos which is to uplift athletics in Sri Lanka. Development of merchandise, marketing international competitions to attract sponsors, sustainability initiatives are a few steps taken towards direct funding.
While the JDC, through “Youth Awakening 2026” will truly awaken athletics in Sri Lanka to its true potential, Sri Lanka will see a continuity of top-notch athletes being produced making it an unceasing revolution. This movement is an ever advancing one, that would resonate throughout; in the face of Youth Olympics, Youth Paralympics, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games etc. which presents itself as an excellent opportunity for corporates to add to their story and join hands with this exceptional initiative by dedicating themselves towards transforming the sports scene in Sri Lanka.
Men’s Ashes 2023 to begin on June 16 at Edgbaston
Men’s Ashes 2023 will get underway on June 16, with the first Test at Edgbaston. The last of the five Tests will begin on July 27 at the Oval, with Lord’s Headingley and Old Trafford hosting the three in between. These are the same five venues that hosted Ashes 2019. ECB also confirmed that the 2023 World Test Championship final will be held at the Oval in June, while the 2025 final will be hosted by Lord’s. The Women’s Ashes meanwhile, will begin on June 22, with one five-day Test match at Trent Bridge. Australia and England will then play three ODIs and three T20Is – the last of which will be played on July 18. Edgbaston, Lord’s and the Oval will host women’s Ashes T20Is for the first time.
“The Ashes series are among the most significant sporting events in world sport and we are looking forward to these highly anticipated contests in England next year, Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley said.
“There is no bigger challenge than retaining the Ashes away from home. There is huge excitement from our teams as they look to write themselves into Ashes folklore.
Australia will also travel to England for a T20I series early next month in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup Down Under. Following the multi-team event, Australia then host England for a three-match Dettol ODI Series in Adelaide (November 17), Sydney (November 19) and Melbourne (November 22).
“While these series are on the horizon, we’re excited for the cricket immediately ahead this summer as our men’s team host England across two highly anticipated Dettol T20I and ODI Series either side of the T20 World Cup.”
Before the Ashes, the men’s side will host Ireland for a Test match at Lord’s, starting on June 1, 2023. The two sides last played a Test at that venue in 2019. England will also play Ireland in three home ODIs – at Headingley, Trent Bridge and Bristol – from September 20 to 26.
“As a player, there’s no doubt that Test cricket is the absolute pinnacle of our sport. We were fortunate to play a Test against England at Lord’s back in 2019 – which was a memorable occasion for players and fans alike – so the news that we will be returning to play at Lord’s next year is very welcome,” Ireland Test skipper Andrew Balbirnie said.
“That match against England in 2019 was the last Test we have played, so we are excited to be returning to play the red-ball game next year. It’s one of four Test matches we are scheduled to play in 2023, which is so important for such a relatively young squad. There is no better place to really learn, develop and test your game as in multi-day cricket,” he added.
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