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Chandrishan Perera; rugby great and media legend

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Chandrishan’s tenure at SLC was quite successful. Since then more than a dozen Media Managers have come and gone but the initiatives and traditions he started still remain.

by Rex Clementine

Former Sri Lanka rugby captain Chandrishan Perera passed away at the age of 60 after being ill for a while.

We leave the rugby experts to talk about his exploits on the field in that sport and discuss here his time with the cricket board.

In 1999, when Thilanga Sumathipala launched Sri Lanka Cricket’s first ever media unit, he chose Chandrishan Perera to head the new entity. It was quite a success.

This writer’s first meeting of Shan, as he was popularly known, was at the old Galle press box in 2001 during the England Test. There was no lift in Galle 20 years ago and walking up the stairs, you could hear two gentlemen arguing at top of their voices.

BBC’s Jonathan Agnew was threatening Shan. Agnew showed his mobile phone, something rare those days, and said, ‘If I dial this and speak, the whole world will hear the treatment SLC is giving BBC.’

Now it was Shan’s turn. He showed his phone and shouted. ‘Here’s the f***ing phone mate. Tell the world BBC’s days are over!’

Test cricket was only supposed to be a tough affair for players. Not for a reporter, who was covering his third Test match.

It was quite intriguing too. Who is this local guy shredding to pieces world’s leading media entity and a former Test player?

Later, it emerged that BBC were at fault. Cricket telecast and broadcast had been always BBC’s right in England, even after Kerry Packer had emerged down under. But these were changing times. SLC had sold the broadcasting rights to Talk Sport and BBC had contravened terms of their accreditation. Shan chased Agnew to the Galle Fort. Yes, the exact place SLC had chased us local reporters during the England Tests early this year in Galle.

Later, you also got to know that Agnew and Shan actually knew each other pretty well having played cricket in England.

Shan’s tenure at SLC was quite successful. Since then more than a dozen Media Managers have come and gone but the initiatives and traditions he started still remain.

Shan was also a brilliant commentator. Educated in London his command of the English language was classy. He also had stints as a fitness trainer with Sri Lanka Cricket in the early days. Later, players who had issues with fitness privately hired him. Former captain Sanath Jayasuriya, one of the fittest guys to play the game, used the services of Shan regularly.

Shan returned to Sri Lanka Cricket as Media Manager in 2016. Sri Lanka toured England that year and at the end of the Test series, two of us were behind Lord’s pavilion waiting for Shan to bring along one of the players who had come for the limited over series. This was going to be The Island’s last copy on the tour as we were not going to cover the limited overs series having exhausted our budget.

Shan brought Upul Tharanga. As we were chatting, it started raining. We had enough cover and weren’t getting wet, but the rain was so heavy that we knew that there will be trouble with interview’s audio. So Shan appealed to the steward to let us in to the Lord’s pavilion. The steward politely informed that nobody is allowed inside the Lord’s pavilion without a jacket and a tie. We reporters rarely wear those luxury garments.

Shan then called up an office staff at Lord’s explaining that an exemption must be made as the game is over and no harm in breaking the rule when no one is there to pick a bone with you. We were allowed in. First time at Lord’s pavilion was an unforgettable experience. Thanks to one and only Shan.

After the interview, as the two of us were leaving, Shan called up yours truly, put his arm around and said, ‘The President is making you an offer that you can’t refuse. Stay back for the ODIs.’

The offer was politely turned down. Not because of being a paragon of virtues, but married men need to get their priorities right.

Rest well Shan.



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Chathurya, Kiran, Anjalika reach quarter-finals  

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ITF Junior Circuit Week II Tourney  

Chathurya Nilaweera, Kiran Viravanathan and Anjalika Kurera ousted their foreign counterparts to reach the quarter-finals of the boys’ and girls’ singles of the ITF Junior Circuit week II event continued at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Wednesday.

Nilaweera outplayed number two seed Caymus Hei Tung Choi from Hong Kong 6-4, 6-0 in his second round match, while Viravanathan beat Sergiy Rafiee from Great Britain 6-4, 6-2 to secure his quarter-final place.

In the girls’ singles, National Champion Kurera was the only local player to make the quarter-finals as she beat Kazakhstan’s Marina Omarova 6-2, 6-0 in the second round match.

In the boys’ doubles, Vichinthya Nilaweera and Zaidh Zihar edged out top seeds Hayden Khoo Menon from Malaysia and Caymus Hei Tung Choi from Hong Kong. They scored 6-7, 6-1, 10-5 victory to reach the semi-finals. Chathurya and Kiran reached the semi-finals of the boys’ doubles with a 3-6, 6-4, 10-6 win over Devaharshith Neelam (USA) and Arjun Premkumar (India).

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Kusal and Asalanka star in big Colombo win

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Kusal Mendis (67) and Charith Asalanka (52) posted half-centuries as Colombo beat Dambulla by seven wickets in a National Super League one-day match at P. Sara Oval yesterday.

Dambulla were shot out for 143 inside 40 overs with Prabath Jayasuriya claiming three wickets and in reply, Colombo hardly broke a sweat winning in the 21st over.

Mendis was in superb form smashing 67 off just  44 deliveries with six fours and four sixes. After his dismissal in the 16th over, Asalanka ensured that Colombo reached the target with plenty to spare. His 52 came off 48 deliveries and contained eight fours.

Meanwhile, at SSC, Kandy chased down a 247 run target with more than ten overs to spare after an excellent batting display by Niroshan Dickwella (69), Pathum Nissanka (32) and Kamindu Mendis (57*).

Dickwella and Nissanka added 105 in just 86 deliveries for the first wicket and that set the tone for the run chase. Kamil Mishara (34) and Oshada Fernando (18) made useful contributions before Kamindu (57*) and Sahan Arachige (28*) finished things off adding an unbroken 68 runs for the fifth wicket.

Brief Scores:

Colombo beat Dambulla by seven wickets

Dambulla

143 all out in 40 overs

(Lasith Abeyratne 41, Prabath Jayasuriya 3/35, Kalana Perera 2/18, Charith Asalanka 2/19)

Colombo

144 for three in 20.4 overs

(Kusal Mendis 66, Charith Asalanka 52*)

Kandy beat Jaffna

Jaffna

247 for eight in 50 overs

(Lahiru Thirimanne 56, Janith Liyanage 41, Santhush Gunathilaka 45, Nipun Ranskia 3/41)

Kandy

248 for four in 39.4 overs

(Niroshan Dickwella 69, Kamindu Mendis 57*)

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Wellalage leads World Cup wicket tally as team meet Afghanistan

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ICC Under 19 World Cup quarter-finals 

by Reemus Fernando   

When Sri Lanka Under 19s met Afghanistan in an Under 19 Asia Cup semi-final in 2018, Dunith Wellalage played second fiddle in the spin department taking a solitary wicket in a crucial victory. Now more than three and half years later, the St. Joseph’s College spinner will be leading Sri Lanka Under 19s against the same opposition as the leading wicket-taker of the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup.

Sri Lanka Under 19s can rely on the leading wicket-taker of the ongoing Under 19 World Cup and the rest of the bowling attack when they take on an ‘unpredictable Afghanistan’ in the quarter-finals of the biennial event in Antigua today. But Wellalage said that the ‘self-confidence’ will be the key to their success.’

“Self-confidence is our key. All 15 of us are confident of our abilities. We always keep faith in our abilities and are going to do our best to accomplish something that will be good to Sri Lanka,” said Wellalage in an online interview with Sri Lankan media on Tuesday.

Wellalage currently has 13 wickets from this World Cup. That is three wickets more than that of the next highest wicket-taker Joshua Boyden of England. Boyden has ten wickets against his name.

Wellalage played key roles with his spin bowling in all three Group matches and strengthened the middle-order batting with a crucial half-century in the match against Australia when some of the top-order batsmen failed to deliver.

Team coach Avishka Gunawardena said that he was expecting one of the top-order batsmen to bat throughout the innings. Except for Sadeesha Rajapaksa, who scored a half-century in the last group match, the top-order batsmen are yet to come up with big knocks, though the likes of Shevon Daniel, Raveen de Silva and Chamindu Wickramsinghe have made 20s and 30s.

Gunawardena said that Afghanistan were an “unpredictable team’ and his charges were not taking any team lightly in this knockout stage. The team were expecting to consider combinations after inspecting ground conditions in the evening yesterday, hence it was not clear whether Pawan Pathiraja who was dropped for the last two matches would make a comeback.

Sri Lanka emerged champions in group ‘D’ beating Scotland, Australia and West Indies to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2016 and are expected to clear that hurdle to reach the semi-finals. In 2016, Sri Lanka Under 19s reached the semi-finals where they were beaten by India.

Afghanistan, who are likely to bank on spin, were the runners up to Pakistan in group ‘C’. They beat Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea to earn their quarter-final place.

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