By Rex Clementine
Promising all-rounder Chamika Karunaratne will not be considered for selection for a considerable period of time after Chairman of Selectors Pramodaya Wickremesinghe in an e-mail to SLC Secretary Mohan de Silva made a scathing attack on the player.
The mail is circulating in social media and was confirmed yesterday to be authentic and raises serious questions about the national cricket team’s conduct in Australia during the ICC Men’s T-20 World Cup where the former champions’ off the field activities received more attention than their on-field performances.
Team Manager Mahinda Halangoda was brought in for the job as he was known as a strict disciplinarian. Not many during their playing days took on Arjuna Ranatunga, but Halangoda was an exception having stood his ground and not given in to Arjuna during their SSC days. It is believed that Halangoda’s wings were clipped during the World Cup campaign and he may have been told to turn a blind eye to breach of discipline by influential individuals.
Wickremesinghe in his mail says, “I observed that his (Chamika) commitment towards training sessions was fast receding contrary to the high standards he maintained a few months ago.”
“I believe the reason for all the above mentioned is that he is not totally focused on cricket, which is a significant change from his earlier commitment even considering the importance of the ICC World T20.”
“If I’m to continue with what I observed, the whole reason for this is that he was more interested in his distractive personal matters other than cricket.”
“At the conclusion of the Australian tour, I had a meeting with the National Coach pertaining to tour selections for the Afghanistan inbound tour of Sri Lanka. While names were being discussed, Chamika’s name was discussed in detail, the outcome of the meeting on Chamika’s selection was to leave him out from this tour as the National Coach has lost trust in him as Chamika has been exposed in not being truthful to the coach on multiple occasions. It was the opinion of the Coach that Chamika was not focused on his game.”
“Even during the T20 World Cup in Australia I observed Chamika very closely, it was my observation that wherever we travelled internally, he was more focused on meeting ladies of Sri Lankan origin who were domiciled in Australia. Further, I would like to place on record that he has missed some training sessions on tour mentioning that he was feeling unwell, however I have reason to believe that he had accommodated female companions at the hotel. (I would propose that a request is made to the hotel to provide CCTV footage on the said dates he did not attend training sessions),” adds Wickremesinghe in his mail.
“I was also told by the team Manager that during our stay in Sydney, a Sri Lankan gentleman had called and wanted to meet with Chamika mentioning that he had a problem to solve with Chamika. Thereafter the Manager refused to accommodate his request unless there was a meaningful reason to meet him, at that point the gentleman had mentioned that Chamika had been calling his wife and bothering her with indecent proposals and being a nuisance. Contacting this gentleman via the Team Manager, you may be able to find out more depth about the activities of Chamika, which he had mentioned that he had evidence of some grave malpractices involving Chamika.”
Karunaratne was fined US$ 5000 for being involved in a fight in a Brisbane casino and was handed a one year suspended sentence. Further, he had been fined 1000 Australian Dollars while on tour for his excesses. “I also got to know from the team manager that he had been lighting oil lamps and incense sticks in his hotel room which is totally against the hotel safety policy, It would have been a major disaster if the room caught on fire and this came to light from the housekeeping and despite being told by the team manager not to leave the room without blowing out anything which has been lit with fire due to hotel rules. Despite the warning, he had repeated this, the day after having left the room with a “Do Not Disturb” sign outside his room and he was fined 1000 AUD by the team management.”
“The recent inappropriate behaviour by him and Dhanushka Gunathilaka. has hampered the team’s progress, unity and affected the mindset of our young national cricketers, who won the Asia Cup. We need to seriously address these issues and strict discipline has to be adhered to, ensuring these incidents will not happen again. A clear message has to be given to the team, that indiscipline will not be tolerated.”
Wickremesinghe ends his letter requesting SLC to send Karunaratne for counselling. “It is my view that Chamika be referred to Psychological counselling immediately prior to him taking part in any form of International Cricket as it would give this talented youngster, which we as selectors rate him highly for which he can bring to the table in the future for Sri Lankan Cricket.”
India crowned champions of inaugural U19 Women’s T20 World Cup
Titas Sadhu, Archana Devi and Parshavi Chopra took two scalps each while Gongadi Trisha and Soumya Tiwari made useful scores as India Under-19 scripted a memorable seven wicket win over England Under-19 to seal the inaugural Women’s Under-19 World Cup in Potchefstroom. India U19 chased down the paltry target of 69 in the 14th over.
England U19 68 in 17.1 overs (Ryana Macdonald Gay 19; Titas Sadhu 2-6) lost to India U19 69/3 in 14 overs (Soumya Tiwari 24*; Alexa Stonehouse 1-8) by seven wickets
ICC names all-woman panel of match officials for 2023 Women’s T20 World Cup
The upcoming women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa will have an all-woman line-up of match officials, in what will be a landmark first in the game.On Friday, the ICC announced the panel of three match referees and ten umpires, featuring officials from seven countries. The match referees are GS Lakshmi (India), Shandre Fritz (South Africa) and Michell Pereira (Sri Lanka). The on-field and TV umpires will be Sue Redfern (England), Eloise Sheridan (Australia), Claire Polosak (Australia), Jacqueline Williams (West Indies), Kim Cotton (new Zealand), Lauren Agenbag (South Africa), Anna Harris (England), Vrinda Rathi (India), N Janani (India) and Nimali Perera (Sri Lanka).
Selecting this panel was part of the governing body’s “strategic ambition of advancing the involvement and visibility of women in cricket,” an ICC statement said.
The panel will also have the most number of women umpires and match referees in a global ICC tournament, four more than the nine who are at the ongoing women’s Under-19 T20 World Cup.
“Women’s cricket has been growing rapidly in recent years and as part of that, we have been building the pathways to ensure more women have the opportunity to officiate at the highest level,” Wasim Khan, ICC’s general manager of cricket, said. “This announcement is a reflection of our intent in this space and just the start of our journey where men and women enjoy the same opportunities across our sport.
“We are committed to continuing to support our female match officials and provide opportunities to showcase their talents on the global stage. I wish them all the best for the tournament.”
The eighth edition of the women’s T20 World Cup begins with hosts South Africa facing Sri Lanka on February 10. Defending champions Australia are in Group A with Bangladesh, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and South Arica. Group B has England, India, Ireland, Pakistan and West Indies. The top two teams from each group will move into the semi-finals.The matches will be played in Cape Town, Gqeberha and Paarl with the final scheduled for February 26 at Newlands.
ACC to meet in Bahrain on Feb 4, call on Asia Cup expected
The Asian Cricket Council (ACC) will meet in Bahrain on February 4. A decision on the Asia Cup is expected at the much-awaited meeting where the representatives of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) will be present. It could be a stormy affair in the Persian Gulf city of Bahrain, with the two boards having been at loggerheads.
The hosting right of the upcoming Asia Cup, which will be an ODI championship among the continental sides, has been a bone of contention, with the BCCI and the PCB being at odds over the venue. The August-September championship was allotted to the PCB but in view of political tension between India and Pakistan, the BCCI had declared that the Indian team will not be in a position to travel to Pakistan.
The BCCI’s refusal was initially escalated by former PCB chairman Ramiz Raja who threatened to boycott the World Cup in India later in the year. A similar stand seems to have also been taken by Najam Sethi, who succeeded Raja, but there seems little support from other ACC members to the PCB position.
The BCCI and the PCB sparred recently after Jay Shah, the BCCI secretary and ACC president, announced the schedule of the council. It was responded with sarcasm by Sethi who said in a social media post, “Thank you @JayShah for unilaterally presenting @ACCMedia1 structure & calendars 2023-24 especially relating to Asia Cup 2023 for which Pakistan is the event host. While you are at it, you might as well present structure & calendar of our PSL 2023! A swift response will be appreciated (sic).”
The PCB chairman’s comments were rejected by ACC which declared that Shah’s post was not unilateral. “It has come to our knowledge that PCB Chairman Mr Najam Sethi has made a comment on the ACC President unilaterally taking the decision on finalising the calendar and announcing the same. The ACC wants to clarify that it has followed well established and due process. The calendar was approved by its Development Committee and Finance & Marketing Committee in a meeting held on December 13th, 2022.
“The calendar was then communicated to all the participating members individually, including Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), via an email dated December 22nd, 2022. While responses were received from certain Member Boards, no comments or suggested modifications were received from PCB. In view of the above, Mr Sethi’s comments on a social media platform are baseless and are vehemently denied by the ACC,” the ACC said backing Shah’s position.
With the meeting in Bahrain happening in such a backdrop, it could be a stormy affair. A BCCI official, who was in Mumbai for the unveiling of Women’s Premier League teams, confirmed a final decision on the Asia Cup will be taken in Bahrain on February 4.
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