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Awful planning leaves Sri Lanka in mess  



By Rex Clementine

President J.R Jayewardene in July 1981 pardoned underworld kingpin Gonawala Sunil, a convicted rapist.  Just a reminder that Presidential pardons were nothing new. The government didn’t stop there. Sunil was made a Justice of Peace. Thirty years later, Sri Lanka’s selectors borrowed a leaf out of the ex-President’s book. They appointed Kusal Mendis as the national cricket team’s vice-captain less than a year after he was arrested and released on bail for causing a motor accident in Panadura killing a 64-year-old man.

SLC gave thumbs up while Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa ratified it. Today, all three would not touch Mendis with a barge pole.

Into the bargain, Kusal had lost his place in the side. He was out of form and there were concerns about his off the field demeanour. Still the selectors thought he was the best bet to be groomed as our next leader.

We keep hearing that Kuasl has got talent and all but talent alone will not help you succeed. There are other ingredients like discipline, hard work and commitment.

Both Danushka Gunathilaka and Niroshan Dickwella are serial offenders and very little effort was made by powers that be to put the players in their places. Hence, we are faced with today’s shame where Sri Lankan cricket has become the laughing stock in front of the public.

It is earnestly hoped that SLC deals with the trio firmly. Another slap on the wrist due to club or other affiliations is only going to do the game more harm. The signals that you are getting from Maitland Place are mixed. Here’s why?

If you wonder who was the last Sri Lankan player to be sent home from a tour, it was Jeffrey Vandersay. A night out in St. Lucia during Sri Lanka’s tour of West Indies cost him dearly. He has not represented Sri Lanka for two years but suddenly he is back in the reckoning now ahead of the India series as he has entered the Bio Secure bubble. Has he done anything significant to merit selections? That’s not the case. So why all of a sudden go back to someone who has a colourful history when it comes to discipline?

When Sri Lanka left for England, you sensed this was going to be a 6-0 affair. But then, England did not field their best team. There’s no Ben Stokes and Joffra Archer while Jos Buttler and Jason Roy have appeared sparingly.  

Even then you would say that England are too strong and you can understand Sri Lanka’s struggle. But surely, we could have done much better. We made some strange decisions on tour and our think tank has been exposed. Both selectors and management have little clue on what has happened in the last two or three years and they have failed to keep pace with the game globally.

Not just Kusal Mendis as vice-captain, even their choice for captain was rather strange. Kusal Janith Perera did not captain Royal. He was vice-captain to Yasitha Abeykoon in 2009, a remarkable year for Royal. After school, KJP joined Colts Cricket Club and has remained there for 12 years now. He succeeded Angelo Mathews as captain but has skippered the club for barely three games or so.

So on what basis you pick him to captain the side? If it is experimental what you do is that you hand him the captaincy in one format. But KJP was given both ODI and T-20 sides’ leadership when there was already Dasun Shanaka who had skippered the side to a series win in Pakistan against world’s number one ranked team. As Kumar Sangakkara once said, like God, selectors move about in mysterious ways.

When Dimuth Karunaratne was appointed captain for the last World Cup, he had not played an ODI for more than four years. But the selectors then had very good reason. Sri Lanka were struggling to bat out the full 50 overs and Dimuth was expected to bat through the innings, a role he did to perfection. But all of a sudden he is sacked as skipper and dropped from the side. Again old problems resurface as Sri Lanka are not able to bat 50 overs in England.

What’s the toughest position to bat in cricket? There will be many opinions but most would agree that it is number three.  There’s this promising young cricketer Charith Asalanka who makes his debut in Chester-le-Street and where does he bat?  Number three.  Who’s batting for England there? One bloke by the name of Joe Root. Who’s batting for India in that position? There’s someone called Virat Kohli? What about Australia?  Oh, they have got Steven Smith. And Pakistan? Well, they have world’s number one ranked batsman in Babar Azam. Pramodaya Wickramasinghe gets a debutant to bat at number three! That was one of the most bizarre decisions you have seen in cricket.

You feel for players like Asalanka and Oshada Fernando. The whole world is laughing at them but the problem doesn’t lie with them.

It is earnestly hoped that at least now without wasting further time that authorities invest on the Inter-Provincial competition. Officials in order to show solidarity with clubs avoid the Provincial tournament like the plague and if we continue to do so the world will keep laughing at us.

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Pasindu wins digital stimulator E Racing in Thailand



(Extreme Left) Dhammika Attygalle, President AAC, third from left Greg Craft, President FIA Region II, Pasindu Marasinghe winner of the competition and Anothai Eamlumnow, Executive Committee Member and Chief Production Officer of the Grand Prix International Public Company Limited.

Pasindu Marasinghe, the delegate of the Automobile Association of Ceylon (AAC) at the Federation Internationale De L’Automobile (FIA) organized Region II Ideas Forum, won an ECARS Digital Racing Car Stimulators competition at the 44th International Motor Show in Thailand Organized by Motor Sports Club of Thailand (RAAT) on Saturday.

Twelve members from the Asia Pacific region participated in this competition. The winner was presented a Medal by Anothai Eamlumnow, Executive Committee Member and Chief Production Officer of the Grand Prix International Public Company Limited.

The world’s largest mobility and motorsports organization, Federation Internaionale De L’Automobile (FIA) organized Region II Ideas Forum was held from March 22 to 25 in Thailand. Automobile Association of Ceylon, which is the affiliated club in Region II was invited for this conference programme.

This programme commenced on March 24 at Studio 4 MAA-LAI Kimpton Hotel Thailand. It was a knowledgeable and effective forum with discussions by experts on insights with capacity building in regions and resources available to clubs through FIA University Mentoring Programme and also to discuss AA Philippines Tourism Start up Experience. AA delegates attended this Conference.

On Saturday (25), the AA Delegates, who were invited to attend the 44th International Motor Show in Thailand Organized by the Motor Sports Club of Thailand (RAAT) as VIP Guests and were introduced to take part in the ECARS Digital Racing Car Stimulators, which was a grant offered to this club by Federation Internaionale De L’Automobile (FIA). Simulator training provides experience to drive Formula Grand Prix.

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Kalutara Lawn Tennis Club is 85 years old



The current KLTC tennis team: Standing (from left): H.K.D.W.M. Senavi Diwarathna, Janaka Chamara, Thisura Athukorale, Kethmina Wanniarachchi, R.L. Kuruppu Arachchi and Suresh Mariyadas. Seated (from left): Krishna Anastasia, Dulip Wijayanayake, Chaminda Fernando, Roche Fernando, and Ashan Fernando

One of the oldest outstation tennis clubs in the whole country, the Kalutara Lawn Tennis Club (KLTC) celebrated its 85th anniversary at a special function held at Kalutara Garden Beach Hotel on Saturday, 25 March with the participation of its senior and junior membership.

The event was presided over by the club’s current Acting President Roche Fernando and Vice President Dulip Wijayanayake.

The Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) President Iqbal Bin Issack also addressed the gathering on video conferencing and congratulated the club on reaching the remarkable milestone.

Among last eight in All-island Inter-club Tournament –

By the time the KLTC celebrated its 85th birthday, the club tennis team, led by Ashan Fernando, had already reached the 2023 All-island Inter-club Doubles Tournament Division-5 Quarter-finals. That too by finishing as table leaders of their Group, Group B of Division-5. The Quarter-final stage of the Tournament, organised by the SLTA, is to be staged from mid next month onwards.

During Saturday’s celebrations, the KLTC Committee felicitated its distinguished former Presidents and members such as Camillus Silva, the late Elmo Fernando, Sumanasiri Fernando, Renuk Nanayakkara, Srimantha Fernando, Priyantha Fernando, Laksiri Peiris, Dasantha Fonseka, Janaka Fonseka, Sunil Geeganaarachchi, Chaminda Fernando and Chamila Iddagoda.

The KLTC is one of the handful of British colonial-era public tennis-playing institutions presently surviving in the island. It was founded as the ‘Senior Officials’ Club’ or SOC in 1928 by the then British government officials working in the area. In 1938, it was rechristened the Kalutara Lawn Tennis Club and opened its doors to non-government-service members too.

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St. Joseph’s beat Mahinda, Kusal hammers 168 for Trinity



Kusal Wijethunga

Under 19 Cricket

Kusal Wijethunga top scored with 168 runs for Trinity to amass 449 against Maris Stella and spinner Lahiru Amarasekara completed a match bag of 11 wickets in an outright victory for St. Joseph’s as they shared the batting and bowling honours of the day in the Under 19 traditional cricket encounters on Tuesday.

In reply to Maris Stella’s 268 runs, Trinity amassed 449 runs in 83 overs with Wijethunga and Dinusha Peiris scoring centuries. Wijethunga and Peiris were involved in a partnership of 171 runs for the third wicket. Wijethunga’s knock included 16 fours and eight sixes. With batsmen dominating in both innings the match ended in a draw.

At Galle, St. Joseph’s declared their innings on 255 runs (9wkts) after adding 123 runs to their overnight total. Muditha Dissanayaka and Lahiru Amarasekara were responsible for the bulk of it. Amarasekara then joined Yenula Dewthusa to restrict the home team to 142 runs leaving their batsmen a target of just 15 runs to chase.

At Boyagane, Moratu Vidyalaya earned first innings honours against St. Sylvester’s as they restricted the latter to 177 runs.

Meanwhile, in another traditional match started at Katugastota, St. Anthony’s posted 352 for nine wickets declared against St. Peter’s as their top order batsmen, namely Mohomed Aaqil (32), Kavindu Shehan (54), Induwara Galapitage (47), Thisara Ekanayake (54) and skipper Lahiru Abeysinghe (73) clicked together.

Match Details

At Galle: St. Joseph’s record ten wickets win against Mahinda


Mahinda 127 all out in 57 overs (Ranmina Hettiarachchi 33, Chandupa de Silva 29; Lahiru Amarasekara 5/34, Muditha Dissanayaka 2/23, Yenula Dewtusa 3/32) and 142 all out in 51.4 overs (Hareen Achintha 32, Dhanuja Induwara 26, Dulana Rajapaksha 32; Lahiru Amarasekara 6/79, Yenula Dewtusa 3/23)

St. Joseph’s 132 for 4 overnight 255 for 9 decl. in 67.5 overs (Sadeesh Jayawardena 53, Naren Muralidaran 41, Muditha Dissanayaka 64, Lahiru Amarasekara 41; Shehan Hasaranga 3/72, Dhanuja Induwara 2/09) and 15 for no loss in 1.2 overs

At Welisara: Trinity amass 449 against Maris Stella


Maris Stella 268 all out in 93.5 overs (Kaveen Fernando 26, Shean Adithya 83, Anshen de Silva 28, Ramith Bandara 33, Nethum Basnayake 26, Levin Fernando 22; Jayavi Liyanagama 2/40, Dinuka Tennakoon 5/74) and 30 for no loss in 5.2 overs

Trinity 9 for no loss overnight 449 all out in 83 overs (Kusal Wijethunga 165, Rahal Amarasinghe 39, Dinusha Peiris 105, Vathila Udara 28, Jayavi Liyanagama 45; Sadew Hasthika 5/113, Chirath Adithya 3/51)

At Boyagane: Morau Vidyalaya take first innings honours


Morau Vidyalaya 249 all out in 93.1 overs (Vihanga Nimsara 82, Rasindu Ilukshana 54; Isuru Gunasekara 2/28, Pansilu Bandara 2/50, Akila Wickramasinghe 3/48, Khanka Wickramasinghe 2/31) and 99 for 4 in 21 overs (Isuru Fernando 20, Vihanga Nimsara 38; Akila Wickramasinghe 3/16)

St. Sylvester’s 5 for 1 overnight 179 all out in 59.3 overs (Charuka Ayeshan 77; Malith Shehan 2/29, Isuru Fernando 2/27)

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