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Bhanuka Rajapaksa; all talk and no action

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by Rex Clementine

Do you think Bhanuka Rajapaksa merits selection in the 50 over format? Well, numbers don’t just match up. He wasn’t covering himself in glory in domestic cricket representing BRC in the last season. But his social media appearance seems to have upset the selectors who eventually caved in to public pressure not only recalling him for the T-20 format but giving him a go in the 50 over format as well.

Public opinion can earn you back what you deserve. Tilan Samaraweera for example. When he was axed from the team in 2011, the selectors were criticized and they were left with Hobson’s choice but to recall Samaraweera for the tour of South Africa.

Once back in the fold, Samaraweera let his bat do the talking. He went onto prove that he belonged there and his axing was in fact unfair by scoring a match winning hundred in Durban as Sri Lanka went onto win a Test match in South Africa for the first time. He didn’t stop there. He scored another one in Cape Town to finish off an excellent tour.

Bhankua Rajapaksa this series has been exposed by high class pace. Kagiso Rabada was too good for him on Saturday. He had collected duck in the first ODI too having faced three balls. So when he came into bat in the second ODI, Rabada bowled a yorker, Bhanuka was late in bringing the bat down and South Africa reviewed for LBW. Bhanuka survived.

Rabada then bowled a full and wide delivery which the batsman drove but couldn’t find the gap. The third ball was a killer. It was a short ball and Bhanuka took the eye off the ball and was looking to protect his face by bringing the bat and glove together in front of his helmet. The ball hit the glove and popped up to the keeper. It was a soft dismissal.

It was a sorry sight. The fault doesn’t lie with Bhanuka. He is a T-20 format player trying to cash in from the moment he walks out to bat. But instead, he’s being played in a format where he doesn’t belong. For some reason those running our cricket for decades have chosen the nation’s finest batters at number three. There was Roy Dias in our formative years, then Asanka Gurusinha in our glory days followed by Kumar Sangakkara. All had unprecedented success at number three. The incumbent in that position is a misfit; a square peg in a round hole.

As for Bhanuka, in his social media interview that went viral, he claimed that he had been victimized not being given a proper run. Here now he’s been given a chance and it is time for him to walk the talk. So far, it’s been all talk and no action.



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Asalanka to take over from Hasaranga as Sri Lanka skipper

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Charith Asalanka will lead Sri Lanka in the first two T-20 Internationals in Bangladesh.

by Rex Clementine

Star all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga’s two-match suspension means his schoolmate Charith Asalanka will take over as Sri Lanka’s captain during the national cricket team’s tour of Bangladesh starting next week.

Accordingly, Asalanka will lead the country in the first two T-20 Internationals as Hasaranga remains suspended. Asalanka is the understudy for Hasaranga in T-20 cricket and Kusal Mendis in ODI cricket and many believe it is only a matter of time before the 26-year-old leads Sri Lanka across all formats.

From the far off Elpitiya, Asalanka ended up at Richmond College, Galle after passing the Grade Five Scholarship. More than education it was cricket that Asalanka excelled in at Richmond and soon was spotted by the national selectors.

Asalanka captained Sri Lanka Under-19 to the UK in 2016 where the team won the unofficial Test series and blanked England Under-19 3-0 in the ODIs. He also went on to captain the nation at the ICC Youth World Cup. Former great Roy Dias, who functioned as the Head Coach of the Under-19 side had earmarked Asalanka for great things moving forward.

Having made his international debut three years ago, Asalanka has come up with some match-winning performances over the years. His feats batting under pressure has been a hallmark. More importantly in a day and age where many young players have been cautioned, fined or sanctioned for indiscipline, Asalanka has moved around with his head held high.

Asalanka’s elevation to captaincy comes after ICC Match Referee Chris Broad suspended the Sri Lankan captain for bringing the game into disrepute during the third T-20 International at Dambulla where Hasaranga argued with the umpire. He was charged by the umpires and the Match Referee found him guilty handing a 50 percent fine of the match fee apart from the suspension.

Hasaranga faulted with umpire Lyndon Hannibal for not calling a no ball for a high full toss in the last over of the Sri Lankan innings. The ball to Kamindu Mendis was not just waist high but chest high and should have been called a no ball and a free hit given. Sri Lanka went on to lose a close encounter by three runs. A win would have seen them clean sweeping the Afghans in all three formats.

Sri Lanka will play three T-20 Internationals and three ODIs against Bangladesh followed by two Test matches. Their next assignment is the T-20 World Cup in the Caribbean and the United States.

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SLT-MOBITEL Champions 94th Battle of the Maroons as Platinum Sponsor

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From Left – Rohana Ellawala, Deputy Chief Marketing Officer – SLT, Charaka Perera – General Manager Marketing – Mobitel, Prabhath Dahanayake – Chief Marketing Officer – SLT-MOBITEL, President Old Anandians’ Sport Club, Major General Kamal Gunaratne, Ananda College Principal – D.M. Lal Dissanayake, Nalanda College Principal – Iran Champika Silva, former Sri Lanka captain – Mahela Jayawardena

Reaffirming its commitment to elevating sports through the fusion of technology, SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT Solutions Provider, proudly announced its support as the Platinum Sponsor for the highly anticipated 94th Battle of the Maroons, a historic cricketing encounter and among the most prestigious cricketing events in Sri Lanka’s sporting calendar.

SLT-MOBITEL’s partnership with the 94th Battle of the Maroons underpins the company’s steadfast dedication to fostering sports and youth development across Sri Lanka. By partnering with this prestigious event, SLT-MOBITEL not only champions the spirit of cricket but also reaffirms its pivotal role in nurturing the nation’s emerging sporting talents.

Empowering the next generation of cricket enthusiasts, SLT-MOBITEL takes center stage by providing a dynamic platform for young cricketers to showcase their talents and unwavering passion for the game. This initiative stands as a crucial contribution towards fostering the sustained growth and development of national cricket in Sri Lanka. Through this commitment, SLT-MOBITEL not only connects with the pulse of the sport but also propels the aspirations of budding cricketers, paving the way for a brighter future in the realm of Sri Lankan cricket.

In a grand spectacle at the prestigious Kingsbury Hotel, SLT-MOBITEL proudly unveiled its sponsorship of the historic 94th Battle of the Maroons. The synergy between SLT-MOBITEL and Battle of the Maroons officials came to life as they ceremoniously exchanged the Memorandum of Understanding, marking the beginning of an extraordinary partnership.

The Battle of the Maroons holds a rich history as a cherished and highly anticipated event, symbolizing the brotherhood between Ananda and Nalanda. Since its inception in 1924, the annual cricketing encounter has not only strengthened relations between the two institutions but has also played an important role in nurturing cricketing talent and producing exceptional national cricketers.

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Thewmika, Tharushka shine as Battle of Brothers ends in draw

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Sri Lanka Under 19 cap Vihas Thewmika with a good double of six wickets and 77 runs for Thurstan and Tharushka Ashel with a century for Isipatana excelled for their teams as the Battle of Brothers Big Match ended in a draw at the SSC ground on Sunday.

In reply to Isipatana’s 250 runs, Thurstan posted 253 for eight wickets declared as Thewmika and Harith Shalaka put on a fifth wicket stand of 113 runs. While Thewmika scored nine fours and a six in his 77 runs, Shalaka made 42.

For Isipatana Sithuka Gunawardene was the pick of the bowlers as he took four wickets.

In their second essay, Ruchith Rodrigo compensated for his first innings quick dismissal by scoring an entertaining 82 runs inclusive of seven fours and five sixes.

(RF)

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