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Aravinda points out flaws in LPL

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by Rex Clementine

One of our formators Rev. Fr. Irwin Morais (OMI) used to remind us that ‘end doesn’t justify the means’. Former cricket great Aravinda de Silva echoed similar sentiments discussing Lanka Premier League with Sunday Island. What does a religious who has taken the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience and a cricketer who loves cars and women (usually fast ones) have in common you may wonder. Well, they are both men who believe in excellence in everything they do and encourage lesser mortals like us to follow suit.

Lanka Premier League (LPL) last season was a grand success. Players, board, team owners, television companies, Anil Mohan and everyone made money (except media). But the system had some flaws. Aravinda may have been retired for nearly 20 years now but his cricketing brain is like that of Kerry Packer, streets ahead of others and certainly ahead of times. Meticulously he pointed some burning issues that is affecting the game.

“In most countries where franchise cricket is successful like in India, Australia or UK, the board runs the show. They work closely with franchises, keep renewing depending on how franchises fare. These franchises have been built over a period of time. One thing that is very clear in these countries is that there is transparency and cricketing policies are very clear. Transparency has to be a must moving forward. You can not have new owners popping up every time like mushrooms,” elaborated Aravinda.

Aravinda entered cricket administration barely weeks after his retirement as Vice-President to Thilanga Sumathipala in 2003. He put up a vibrant domestic structure, a provincial cricket tournament that former greats like Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene have claimed was the best they have played in. Not just the quality of cricket, but that tournament ensured that cricket was decentralized to provinces. It was a ten year plan, but there was some opposition from stakeholders like member clubs. The franchise tournament was mooted by Aravinda five years before Board of Control for Cricket for India had thought of the IPL.

“In a franchise tournament, the most important thing is transparency. We need to build up a credible tournament. The board should take control of things. While the owners build up their franchises, they need to ensure that the game develops as well. That’s the priority. We need to get our priorities right. Along with players, we need to develop our umpires, curators and everyone. Most importantly, the governing body needs to make decisions in the interest of cricket,” Aravinda noted. Basically he seems to be not a big believer in the idea that a third party should be making policy decisions.

Most agree with Aravinda’s theory of transparency. The draft that was held lead up to the second edition was flawed and a farce. Not only were several seniors snubbed, even the ones who had excelled in the recent World Cup did not get a look in. Instead, several players who were not big names even in domestic cricket got a break. Many eyebrows were raised! After a storm of protest, SLC stepped in to ensure there was fair-play.

“The selections need to be done in a proper manner. The process has to be clear. We have to have icon players. There should be a criteria to include international players. We can not have a system where owners can buy their sons to their franchises. That’s wrong. That should not happen. What’s the point of the board having the rights and approval from the ICC. You have to have credible people running the tournament. Otherwise how are we going to develop the game? The guidelines need to be clear and they need to be implemented. The governing body needs to give approvals for these moves. There should be approvals for player managers as well.”

In the IPL, all franchise owners are well known. There’s Mukesh Ambani owning Mumbai Indians, N. Srinivasan owns Chennai Super Kings while Kalanithi Maran is the key man at Sunrisers Hyderabad. But in LPL, barring a few, most owners are unknown. Their interaction with the media is little. Even SLC has complained saying that they can not reach certain team owners.

“There should be a screening process. Are you trying to play some fun cricket or you want to a build a platform where the system is credible, where quality cricket is played and it will help our cricket to move forward. Or do you want to have a carnival atmosphere. This is not a place for people to have fun. Our future cricket depends on this and we have to have a good foundation. If we do not have these, we will be going backwards,” Aravinda pointed out.

Aravinda is of the view that if the product called Lanka Premier League is marketed properly, you don’t have to go overseas to find owners. Big corporates like Maharajas, John Keells, Softlogic, Aitken Spence, HNB and Janashakthi will show interest. “I don’t think you have to depend on overseas owners. If you market this properly, give a product that is credible, if it has a good business proposition and if it is a win win situation for the cricket board and companies, I am sure people will come in. If you speak to leading firms, there’s lot of interest. This will help to develop the whole system,” Aravinda concluded.



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Four batsmen strategy backfire as Sri Lanka lose to Zimbabwe

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Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka scored a century but that effort wasn’t sufficient to take Sri Lanka over the line in the second ODI against Zimbabwe at Pallekele yesterday.

Rex Clementine
at Pallekele

Sri Lanka were flirting with danger having named just four specialist batsmen for the three-match series against Zimbabwe and set a target of 303 in the second ODI, the hosts managed only 280 for nine and lost the game by 22 runs here at Pallekele yesterday.

Sri Lanka’s recent problem in white-ball cricket has been their awful batting and it was bizarre to stick with just four batters most of whom were not in the best of form.

Questions had been asked about Dasun Shanaka backing himself to bat at number six as he had not achieved much as a batsman. His form too was not so great heading into the series. But he justified the decision with a maiden hundred that came off just 93 deliveries with seven fours and two sixes. But Sri Lanka needed more from their captain and could have probably got home with more cover in the batting department.

Shanaka had brought up his hundred by clearing the mid-wicket boundary and after muted celebrations attempted another six but failed to clear the long-off boundary.

Sri Lanka had a horrible start as they were reduced to 63 for four. Then Shanaka rebuild the innings adding 118 runs for the fifth wicket with Kamindu Mendis (57). Another 66 run stand followed for the sixth wicket with Chamika Karunaratne (34) but Sri Lanka were always playing catch up as no team had successfully chased over 300 runs at Pallekele.

Zimbabwe’s young seamers did a terrific job having taken wickets with the new ball and then the trio of Tendai Chatara, Blessing Muzarabani and Richard Ngarava came back to pull things back in the death overs as Sri Lanka needed 100 runs in 70 balls.

Despite packing their side with bowlers and the return of Dushmantha Chameera, who missed the first game having not been medically cleared to play after testing positive for COVID, Sri Lanka conceded 302 runs as Zimbabwe opted to bat first.

Chameera is the nation’s best quick and although he generated pace, he wasn’t able to claim any wickets.

Captain Craig Ervine was the star for Zimbabwe as he posted 91 off 98 deliveries with ten fours.

Zimbabwe got off to a good start with the openers adding 51 runs for the first wicket before Jeffrey Vandersay’s leg-spin claimed both Regis Chakabva and Takudzwanashe Kaitano. Chakabva was smartly stumped by Kusal Mendis. It was his first stumping in international cricket and Mendis inflicted another stumping when Vandersay lured Sean Williams forward. Williams had scored a hundred in the previous game.

Zimbabwe’s lower middle order had failed in the first ODI but yesterday they clicked with Sikandar Raza stitching some partnerships that were crucial. The sixth wicket stand between him and Ryan Burl was worth 41 runs while Raza had added 51 runs with Ervine.

Raza was last man dismissed for a well complied 56 that came off 46 deliveries with four fours and a six.

Pradeep claimed two wickets in the last over of the innings. Sri Lanka used up as many as eight bowlers but couldn’t prevent Zimbabwe from scoring a match winning total.

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Wellalage dazzles as Sri Lanka Under 19s stun Australia  

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Dunith Wellalage was adjudged the Man of the Match.

Skipper Dunith Wellalage produced his second five wicket haul of the tournament before scoring a decisive half century as Sri Lanka Under 19s beat Australia Under 19s by four wickets in their second Group ‘D’ match of the ICC Under 19 World Cup in Basseterre, St Kitts on Monday.

The victory helped Sri Lanka cement their top position in Group ‘D’ as they reached a target of 176 runs with 13 overs to spare.

Chasing the target Sri Lanka lost three wickets for 41 runs and it soon became four wickets for 49 when Sakuna Liyanage, who was the leading scorer of the previous game, was out hit wicket for just seven runs.

That was when Wellalage came up with his captain’s knock to keep alive hopes. He had two crucial partnerships, a 70 runs stand with wicketkeeper batsman Anjala Bandara and a 52 runs stand for the sixth wicket with Ranuda Somaratne. Wellalage scored four fours and a six in his knock which came in 71 balls. When he was out caught and bowled by Tom Whitney Sri Lanka had almost reached the target. Four balls later Raveen de Silva scored a boundary to seal the win.

While Bandara stroked 33 runs, Somaratne remained unbeaten on 32. He faced 35 balls.

Deciding to field first Sri Lanka Under 19s did well to contain their counterparts to 175 runs as spinners lead by Wellalage produced economical spells.

Wellalage was the pick of the bowlers as Australia were bowled out in the final ball.

In the fight to retain the lead in the Group ‘D’ points table, Sri Lanka commenced with pace-spin combination of Yasiru Rodrigo and Treveen Mathew and the latter took two quick wickets to disturb Australia’s plans.

Opener Campbell Kellaway anchored the top order to score a half century. He was the only batsman to resist the Sri Lankan spin attack as skipper Wellalage handled his bowlers brilliantly.

While Matheesha Pathirana took two wickets, Sadisha Rajapaksa accounted for one wicket. Shevon Daniel gave away just 10 runs in his six overs.

Sri Lanka will now meet hosts West Indies in the final Group ‘D’ match on Friday.

In the other Group ‘D’ match played on Monday West Indies showed their all-round dominance in comfortable win over Scotland.

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Moose Clothing Company partners as the “Official Overseas Team Sponsor of Sri Lanka Cricket”

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Moose Clothing Company is ready to partner with Sri Lanka Cricket as the Official Overseas Team Sponsor for multiple series throughout the year.

Moose Clothing Company, Sri Lanka’s ever versatile and youthful clothing brand is ready to partner with Sri Lanka Cricket as the Official Overseas Team Sponsor of Sri Lanka cricket for multiple series throughout the year starting with the Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe tour 2022.

As an ardent supporter of sports in Sri Lanka, Moose Clothing Company have stepped up on previous occasions to support the much-loved local sport of cricket when they signed up for the England Tour of Sri Lanka 2021 and the official Co-sponsor for the Sri Lanka vs South Africa tour in 2018.

Commenting on this thrilling partnership, Moose Clothing Company CEO Hasib Omar stated: “We are excited to come on board as the official Overseas Team Sponsor of Sri Lanka Cricket. We are confident that the partnership will be mutually beneficial for both the brand Moose Clothing Company and Sri Lanka Cricket.”

Having entered the Sri Lankan retail market in 2018, Moose Clothing Company already established itself as a cotton clothing brand for men and women alike and the brand has been recognized as the best new entrant brand of the year in SLIM Brand Excellence Awards 2020. Moose Clothing Company products are available at over 100 stores island wide. Moose Clothing Company is backed by a strong online presence through their flagship online store.

‘’Sri Lanka Cricket welcomes Moose Clothing on board to partner with us during the Zimbabwe tour of Sri Lanka, and are confident that Moose Clothing will take this opportunity to achieve international reach,” said Ashley De Silva, CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket.

Passionately driven by the vision to be an international clothing brand which delivers exceptional value, Moose Clothing Company products are sold in Africa, the Middle East and India, with plans to launch the brand in Europe and the United States in the near future. The company has a long-term goal of representing Sri Lanka on the global fashion stage.

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