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Clay target shooting resumes at Payagala with CTSCC Club Day

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After a lapse of more than a year, the Clay Target Shooting Club of Colombo (CTSCC) resumed shooting activities with the first Club Day at the Clay Target Shotgun Range at Payagala on Saturday. The Club Day not only signified the resumption of shooting sports, which were forced to stall activities due to a circular issued by the Ministry of Defence in 2019, but also as an opportunity to the members of CTSCC who had not taken part in any sort of shooting sport activity.

The day was filled with activities of clay target shooting, an Olympic sport in which Sri Lanka has the potential to claim global recognition. The shotgun range in Payagala, managed and operated by the CTSCC is a venue where many national clay target shooters compete and train prior to international events.

“The Clay Target Shooting Club of Colombo was delighted to have its Club Day after many months of closure. It was a very pleasant sight to see the members interact with each other and enjoy a beautiful day of clay shooting, followed by fellowship and lunch,” the CTSCC, issuing a statement, said.

Clay Target Shooting Club of Colombo possesses the only purpose-built clay target shotgun range in the country, and is the venue for National Trap and Skeet Meets of the National Shooting Sport Federation of Sri Lanka (NSSF). CTSCC is an active affiliate of NSSF, who also suffered a huge setback due to the closure of many shooting ranges throughout the country.

 



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ICC encourages member boards to try innovations that’ll improve the game

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Sean Easey, Senior Manager - Umpires and Referees of  ICC  

by Rex Clementine

 Cricket’s global governing body, ICC, is encouraging member boards to try innovations that will improve the game. Sean Easey, Senior Manager – Umpires and Referees of the ICC, says the modification done by BCCI allowing players to review umpiring calls for wides and no balls during the IPL was a decision in the right direction. Furthermore, it could become part of international games in the future.

 “I was lucky enough to go to IPL and see how that system worked. Credit to BCCI for trying that out. As an international organization, we rely on boards to do some research and develop things that will help improve match officiating and help the game overall. We need to understand it more first. We need to work with our providers on how the system could be used at a global event. There is definitely scope for us to use technology more and more moving forward,” Easey told Sunday Island in an interview.

 Another significant moment in the game was when New Zealand Cricket named Kim Cotton as an umpire in a men’s T-20 match involving New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Dunedin last year. This could happen in ICC events as well moving forward.

 “That is definitely part of the plan. Very shortly we are launching a new umpire pathway. We are working very closely with boards to come up with inclusive and clear pathway models. We would love to see female umpires doing men’s games. Hopefully one day female umpires will be doing men’s Test cricket.”

Born in Melbourne, Easey played community cricket in Victoria and functioned in a similar role to the one with ICC with Cricket Australia for 12 years before moving to Dubai in 2023.

The best 20 umpires in the world officiated the recent World Cup in the Caribbean and USA. The umpiring standards have improved significantly in the last ten years or so and there are various aspects to help umpires making accurate decisions. Match Referees keep a close eye on how umpires perform and there are Umpire Coaches as well who play a key role. However, feedback from captains on umpires has reduced somewhat at present.

 “Captains do give feedback, but they aren’t as direct as it used to be. One reason is that there is a trend that favourable feedback comes from winning teams while unfavourable feedback is usually from the losing team. It is hard for us to interpret that. The captains are always welcome to give feedback either through the Match Referee, or there is a form that they can fill in and give us,” Easey explained.

Covid made everyone adjust and one of the significant things that happened with umpires and match referees is that officials had got an opportunity to do home games. However, we have now gone back to neutral umpires. Given the accuracy rates of umpires at international games, is there a chance to do away with the concept of neutral umpires?

 “It is a very complex question. The international panel of umpires did a wonderful job. They performed well. We have gone back to neutral umpires now. There are several reasons why we think neutral umpires is important. That takes out the accusation of bias from home umpires. That still exists, which is a shame but that’s the reality. The other thing about neutral appointments is that we are able to get the best umpires officiating more often, and in big games.”

So how does the process of getting the best umpires to officiate in a World Cup final or a semi-final or an Ashes contest work?

“It’s not just a case of umpires who made the least number of errors at the event. We have worked through a process during the World Cup where umpires and referees moved through to the Super Eight phase of this event. From 20 umpires we reduced to 16 umpires for the second round. Lots of statistics were looked at. An umpire may have been error free for four months and can make one mistake. That’s not a deal breaker. Another key aspect is we want people who manage games well.”

 Most cricketers when they retire opt for commentaries or coaching and umpiring doesn’t seem to be one of the preferred areas post-retirement. Easey wants people to give umpiring a go. “The key message is to be open to it. If you enjoy being part of the game, try and give it a go. People will be pleasantly surprised at the team environment and camaraderie that we have got. Umpiring is the only non-playing role in cricket that keeps you in the game. It is a unique position and you can take a lot of pride in it.

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Wanindu does a Botham

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Wanindu Hasaranga

By Rex Clementine

Some of the biggest stars of cricket have been flops as captains. Names like Ian Botham, Sachin Tendulkar, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Lasith Malinga were spectacular failures as captains. In sports, in general, a player’s seniority brings him the captaincy. But cricket is different. Captaining a cricket team is not merely walking in for a coin toss. It involves much more. It’s a tactical game. In most sports, coaches make the call. In cricket, captains make the call on the field of play. That’s why your best brain has to lead the side and not your best player. Sadly, in our part of the world, we do not adhere to this concept.

With The Ashes slipping away from England in 1981, Ian Botham stepped down as captain, ‘moments before he was sacked’. On Thursday Wanindu Hasaranga did a Botham ending weeks of speculation about his future as Sri Lanka’s T-20 captain.

The World Cup was bad. Wanindu made some bad calls and Sri Lanka failed to make it to the second round. So did Pakistan and New Zealand. That’s part and parcel of the game. But what was more disturbing was Wanindu’s conduct during the Lanka Premier League.

One day Wanindu was aggressive towards a young player, the next day he copped a hefty fine for using incorrect equipment. These are things that could have been avoided. The Kandy team had been apparently given a prior warning about using the wrong helmet. Everyone else fell in line the next day but not Wanindu. He repeated the offence leaving officials with Hobson’s choice but to fine him. Nobody is bigger than the game. Everyone has to fall in line.

To his credit, Wanindu did win three bilateral series though. Some people brush aside these saying there’s no point in beating Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Well, Afghanistan did make the semi-finals of the World Cup and made the Aussies and the Kiwis eat humble pie.

Wanindu did bring a few good things into the side. He stressed on fielding brilliance and running well between the wickets. He backed certain players he had picked. But he did not treat everyone equally. In any dressing room there will be differences. It is said keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Wanindu kept his enemies at quite a distance. That did not help the team’s cause.

Then, there was an altercation with the umpires. That too in a dead rubber! That landed him in trouble earning a two-match suspension. It was ugly to watch. Wanindu is not the first Sri Lankan to take on an umpire. Others did it for bigger reasons to save people’s careers. Here the captain was trying to be childish protesting over a waist high no-ball. At school when you are starting your cricket you are taught that only two people are infallible: the Pope and the umpire.

Less than a month later he repeated the offence taking on anther umpire. He was facing a four-match ban and literally out of the World Cup. Sri Lanka retained him in the Test squad and let him serve the ban during the Test series.

A third suspension means Wanindu is set to miss eight games. That is too costly affair. Furthermore, with the T-20 World Cup two years away, it is sensible to hand over the captaincy to a new leader at the start of the cycle.

Wanindu is perhaps Sri Lanka’s biggest attraction in T-20 cricket at the moment, He was just misguided. It’s a pity that there was no one to give him sound advice on how to move about things. People keep a close eye on how you move about things. Everything is good when you are winning, but when you lose, it’s hell. As Abraham Lincoln said, ‘victory has a thousand fathers, defeat is an orphan.’

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Jaffna Kings beat Kandy Falcons in seven over game

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Jaffna Kings defeated Kandy Falcons by four wickets in a  seven overs per side match played at the RPICS in Colombo.

Brief scores:
Kandy Falcons 78/5 in 7 overs [Dinesh Chandimal 21, Nohammad Harris 30, Angelo Mathews 11; Jason Behrendorff  3-10, Asitha Fernando 1-19, Azmatullah Omarzai 1-20] lost to Jafffna Kings 79/6 in 5.5 overs [Avishka Fernando 16, Charith Asalanka 26, Azmatullah Omarzai 24* ; Angelo Mathews 2-22, Dasun Shanaka 1-26, Wanidu Hasaranga 2-18] by four wickets

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