The HNB–HUTCH Clay Court Nationals, one of the three highest–rated annual domestic tennis tournaments of the country will commence on Friday (21) at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA). The SLTA had begun preparations to conduct qualification round of this tournament in March but had to postpone the event after all sports in the island came to a grinding halt due to the pandemic.
The tournament will now be conducted following all the required health guidelines stipulated by the Sports and Health Ministries. The tournament will continue until September 13. Ganendra Subramaniam is the Tournament Director.
Selectors set to be first casualties post World Cup
by Rex Clementine
Members of the national selection panel are set to be the first casualties post World Cup in which the national cricket team had a disastrous campaign. Despite Sri Lanka finishing ninth in the ten-team event and failing to qualify for the Champions Trophy, none holding key positions within the national cricket team had stepped down.
Although previous Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe and other bodies attached to the Sports Ministry were keen to change the selection panel headed by former fast bowler Pramodya Wickremasinghe, there was tough resistance from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).
However, with Harin Fernando taking charge as Sports Minister following the dismissal of Ranasinghe, Fernando had discussed changes moving forward with fresh thinking coming in.
Accordingly, SLC will advertise for selectors and in due time will pick a competent team.
Under Pramodya, Sri Lanka ended up playing three qualifying round tournaments to go through for ICC events, a trend that had never happened previously.
The selectors decision to bench half a dozen seniors from the white ball sides also didn’t go down too well and eventually they had to bite the bullet and fall back on the likes of Angelo Mathews. However, one of the finest all-rounders Sri Lanka had Thisara Perera had quit international cricket by then.
Former captain Marvan Atapattu had been approached to take over as new Chief Selector, but The Island learns that he had declined the role and wasn’t keen to be involved in cricket in any capacity at the moment.
Former fast bowler Ashantha de Mel is a possible candidate to become the Chief Selector again. De Mel has had several stints with the last being from 2019 to 2021 and the highlight during his tenure was Sri Lanka becoming the first Asian nation to win a Test series in South Africa.
It remains to be seen which other former cricketers will apply for the post of selectors.
SLC is also likely to not renew the contracts of several individuals within the coaching set up of the national cricket team. However, former captain and Consultant Coach Mahela Jayawardene is likely to get an extension despite an embarrassing World Cup campaign, Sri Lanka’s worst since 1999.
Sri Lanka’s next campaign will be the bilateral white ball series against Zimbabwe at home in January. All key slots are expected to be filled by that series.
Colombo South win Under 15 Youth League final in style
by Reemus Fernando
Royal College batsman Rehan Peiris scored his second century, a run-a-ball 129 for Colombo South Under 15s before their bowlers produced a combined effort to record a comfortable 86 runs victory against Colombo North in the Sri Lanka Cricket conducted Under 15 Youth League final at MCA ground on Wednesday.
Chasing a target of 257 runs to win, Colombo North played second fiddle and were never in the hunt as they lost wickets at regular intervals. Sadeesha Silva resisted anchoring the innings with 47 runs but he lacked support from the rest. Yenula Dantanarayana and Lahiru Lakmal made 20s.
For the winners Holy Cross College, Kalutara spinner Himaru Deshan and Cambrian Rusandu Silva bowled tight spells. Deshan and Silva gave away just 27 and 22 runs respectively during their quota of ten overs. Both took one wicket each. Deshan, who ended up as the highest wicket taker of the tournament had three maidens in his ten overs. Janul Damhiru who shared the new ball with Dunitha Anusara picked up two wickets. Anusara, Yasaru Praveen and Matheesha Aponso picked up one wicket each.
Earlier deciding to bat first, Colombo South lost their first wicket for 11 runs. But a second wicket stand of 110 runs between Peiris and Lasiru Sandakan (Royal, Panadura) provided a solid base for them to post a formidable total. After Sandakan was dismissed for 40 runs Peiris joined St. Peter’s wicketkeeper batsman Jason Fernando to post 96 runs for the third wicket.
Peiris scored ten sixes and five fours in his innings, while Fernando made 19 runs.
Colombo South consisted of players from Royal, Colombo, Royal, Panadura, D.S. Senanayake, Colombo, St. Peter’s, Bambalapitiya, Prince of Wales, Holy Cross, Kalutara, C.W.W. Kannangara and Walapura MV, Horana. They were captained by Thevindu Wewalwala of Royal College Colombo.
Dubai Lankans Rugby Club gears up for Emirates Dubai Rugby Sevens
In an exciting pre-season development, the Dubai Lankans Rugby Club, with the President Mark Kirby at the helm is set to make waves in the upcoming rugby season. Known for his unwavering support, Kirby has been a pillar of strength for the players.
Coach Thusitha Dushan, a former Havlocks and national player, is determined to impart his wealth of experience, aiming to bring glory to the Lankan boys.
Manager Zalique Jayah, a former national and CH & FC player, is ensuring the Dubai Lankans Rugby Club stands out with a unique identity, fostering a rich culture and discipline within the team.
Adding a unique twist, both Thusitha and Jayah will join the team as players for their final chapter on the field. The leadership baton will be held by the highly experienced Dulaj Perera, a former Havlocks and national player, who expresses confidence in his team’s readiness to achieve greater heights.
Dubai Lankans will showcase some familiar faces from Sri Lanka rugby, including Sajith Saranga, who also serves as the deputy, along with Kevin Dixon, Ishan Fernando, and Sachith Silva.
Notably, the squad takes pride in being the only Sri Lankan club in the UAE featuring exclusively Sri Lankan players, making them a unique force in the region. The stage is set for Dubai Lankans to carve their mark in the upcoming Dubai sevens.
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