by Saman Indrajith
Parliamentary watchdog committee –COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) has issued instructions to the Secretary to the Ministry of Sports Anuradha Wijekoon to take legal action against the former members of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Executive Committee and its CEO Ashley de Silva, parliament sources said yesterday.
COPE Chairman Prof Charitha Herath instructed Sports Ministry Secretary Wijekoon to obtain the assistance of Attorney General Dappula De Livera to institute legal action against the former SLC exco members.
The instructions had been issued following a COPE investigation on SLC held at the Parliamentary complex on Tuesday.
The COPE probe was for the purpose of examining the Auditor General’s report for the financial years 2017 and 2018 of SLC and its current performance.
Ministers Mahinda Amaraweera, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, State Minister D.V Chanaka, MPs Patali Champika Ranawaka, Eran Wickramaratne, S.M Marikkar, Nalin Bandara, Premanath C. Dolawatta and S. Rasamanikkam were present at the inquiry.
The probe found that that 123 out of the 162 approved cadres of Sri Lanka Cricket were on contract, which was a matter of serious concern. The Committee also pointed out that the posts of Head of Finance, Legal Officer, Information Technology Officer and Internal Auditor should be permanent positions.
COPE recommended that the procurement process of Sri Lanka Cricket be streamlined and that a proper system be introduced.
COPE was of the view that the intervention of the Director General of Sports should be at a higher level than at present.
It also recommended that Sri Lanka Cricket should develop a proper format for disbursing funds to sports associations.
COPE directed the Ministry of Sports and Sri Lanka Cricket to see that the Sports Act is amended expeditiously.
COPE chairman Prof. Charitha Herath pointed out that the reason for the massive collapse of cricket in the country was not the fault of the players but the weaknesses of the cricket administration.
When COPE questioned the non-recovery of Rs. 29 million in revenue due for sponsorship of the South Africa-Sri Lanka Cricket tour in 2018, the Chief Executive Officer of SLC Ashley de Silva informed the committee that the CID had commenced an investigation into the matter. It was revealed at that the money had been deposited in a bank account in the USA named ‘Diamond Channel’ and that the investigations were focused on how it happened.
Prof. Herath instructed the Secretary to the Ministry of Sports Anuradha Wijekoon to conduct an inquiry in this regard and submit the report to the Committee within three months.
It was also revealed at the meeting that Rs. 30 million had been spent to institute legal action against former head coach of Sri Lanka Cricket Chandika Hathurusinghe pertaining to the shortcomings of his agreement .
Attention was drawn to the fact that Rs. 132 million had been spent for the construction of a National Cricket Stadium and a Multi-Sports Complex in the Hingurakgoda area in Polonnaruwa, but that a title deed had not been obtained for the relevant land as yet. COPE directed the Ministry of Sports to take immediate action to resolve the issue.
COPE also paid special attention to the continuation of construction advances of Rs. 7,764,050 given to the Cricket Associations in the years 2007, 2008, 2016 and 2017 and match advances of Rs.10,292,337 paid from 2015 to 2019 without settlement.
COPE was of the view that a number of such issues have arisen in SLC due to the non-implementation of the Procurement Guidelines and that the institution should operate within an accepted framework.
Officials from the Ministry of Sports as well as officials from Sri Lanka Cricket were present at the meeting. Several former officials of the SLC Executive Committee were present at the Parliament premises to attend the meeting but were not allowed to attend due to the expiration of their tenure on the previous day.
The brand of cricket we want to play is free and relaxed: – Sangakkara
The 2008 IPL champions employed five opening pairs in the previous edition.
As many as five opening pairs were experimented with by the Rajasthan Royals last season. Ahead of their season opener against Punjab Kings, Sanju Samson, the newly-appointed captain of the franchise says that this year around, more stability can be expected from the side that chopped and changed so much to the extent of being unable to settle on a side until much later in the tournament.
“Myself and Sanga will try to give the best combination,” said Samson on Sunday (April 11). “From my point of view, it’s crucial to give an individual or a pair of opening partners enough time in the tournament. So, I think a bit of stability will be seen in this tournament. The rest it depends on how we go.”
Much has been debated about the batting order. Whilst Jos Buttler’s record at the top speaks for itself, Ben Stokes has been their go-to man for the opening slot. With Robin Uthappa gone this year, will they persist with Stokes at the top with Yashasvi Jaiswal, or will they promote Buttler up to a position he loves? Without committing too much either way about their preferred sequence, Kumar Sangakkara, the director of cricket at the Royals said the combination will be a decision they will undertake with the “full buying of the players involved”.
“We look to finalise (combinations) later on today before we go for training and we want we want to keep our options open,” said Sangakkara. “The most important thing is that players are communicated to clearly as to what their roles are and get them to commit to it.
“What we planned to do is get a balanced side, everyone available, a full squad, try and have a consistent philosophy of cricket. The brand of cricket that we want to play is quite free and relaxed. Also in terms of preparing well and executing well… to get everyone prepared to think and to be problem-solvers. To think for themselves. It helps Sanju a lot on the field when people are thinking for themselves and know what’s going on. It builds a lot of trust within the group as well. Everyone has individual strengths that they bring into the side which are highly valued. We try and build that into a good unit where everyone knows what they’re doing, what their value is and what their roles are. Then we’ll go and try to play some good cricket.”
An overhaul in how the Royals went about their business was needed, having had finished last in 2020. Rajasthan just couldn’t crack the code of winning matches consistently and a lot of it had to do with the lack of the team striking together. There were moments of brilliance before they fell back.
“We have a lot of match-winners who are absolutely wonderful players…in Sanju Samson, Rahul Tewatia, our fast bowlers. The key is to have different people who do something a little bit special on the day and the point of a great team performance is to have your regular players performing consistently and once in a while. Someone stepping in to do a little bit extra. If it’s a different player most of the time and not the same person, it’s even better.”
Another area of concern last year was the lack of support from the contingent of pace bowlers around Jofra Archer, who was named MVP. Archer missing the first few games will be a big blow for Rajasthan. Sangakkara, however, threw his support behind the inexperienced Indian bowlers in their squad to come good.
“I think inexperience sometimes can work for you and against. Inexperience would probably mean that the opposition has not really seen them either, but fast bowling, specially in the IPL is not an easy task and we saw that yesterday as well. Sometimes the wickets are really good for batting or most of the wickets are, so you have to be quite skillful. So I’m pretty confident that our young fast bowlers will step up. We’ve had Kartik Tyagi who did very well last season in patches in various phases of the game and this year we have a new additions in Kuldip Yadav and Chetan Sakariya. So I think it’s about you know keeping them again focused on what their job is really and get them trained and prepared to execute all the different deliveries and scenarios and match plans for the opposition. But at the same time concentrate in giving them confidence of their own strengths.”
When asked if despite all his years in the game, the highs and lows, he feels pressure of expectations in his new role, Sangakkara didn’t mince his words.
“I think there are always expectations and pressure. You can’t get away from that and you got to accept it. And the only way you deal with it is really, you know ticking off the boxes that you want in terms of training, in terms of preparation, getting combinations right. Get the players involved take ownership of not their own roles, but also the team plans and that makes things a lot easier. You can’t guarantee what will happen on the day of a match, but what you can guarantee is that you can go out and control what you control. Take a great attitude out, and Sanju always talks about playing with passion and with heart. I think that’s a very important point as well. That can really lift a team to do some special things out there when the pressure is on.
“So for me personally, know my job is to get everyone ready and once they get on the field my job is actually secondary. It’s about them going out there and expressing themselves playing really good smart cricket. But we wait and see. I think everyone’s really looking forward to starting the tournament,” he added.
Sheran’s back to back half centuries help Joes
Back to back half centuries by Sheran Fonseka stood in good stead for St. Joseph’s as they forced a draw to their First XI cricket encounter against S. Thomas’ at Darley Road on Monday. Thus they retained the Gilmore Jayasuriya Trophy which they won under the captaincy of Sameera Weerasinghe in 2009.
Commencing from 344 for nine overnight, the Thomians declared their innings after Yasiru Rodrigo completed his century, an unbeaten 103 runs.
It was Rodrigo’s day as he followed up his century with a three wicket haul to trouble the home team.
The Joes lost wickets at regular intervals but Fonseka’s contribution helped them post 176 for nine wickets declared. Soon they were asked to follow on but the open batsmen put up a healthy stand to prevent a repetition of first innings disappointments.
Fonseka scored an unbeaten 57 runs and was involved in a first wicket stand of 123 runs with Sadeesh Jayawardena who scored 62.
Meanwhile the match between Mahanama and St. Anne’s ended in a draw at Kurunegala after the home team posted 164 for nine wickets in reply to visitors’ 169 runs.
S. Thomas’ V St. Joseph’s at
S. Thomas’ 344 for 9 overnight 350 for 9 decl. in 103 overs (Anuk Palihawadena 54, Ryan Fernando 71, Thenuka Liyanage 36, Yasiru Rodrigo 103 n.o., Gunaratnam Caniston 53; Dunith Wellalage 3/111, Shenuka de Silva 2/13)
St. Joseph’s 176 for 9 decl. in 51 overs (Sheran Fonseka 92, Mithira Thenura 20; Yasiru Rodrigo 3/48, Gunaratnam Caniston 3/42, Anuk Palihawadena 2/48) and 127 for 1 in 31 overs (Sadeesh Jayawardena 62, Sheran Fonseka 57n.o.)
Mahanama V St. Anne’s at Kurunegala
Mahanama 169 all out in 71.2 overs (Sadishan Chamodya 22, Pavan Rathnayake 81, Sachira Weliwatta 23; Pasindu Tennakoon 4/51, Manaan Muzammil 2/49, Kalindu Wijesinghe 2/28)
St. Anne’s 79 for 1 overnight 164 for 9 in 69 overs (Dilhara Deshabandu 39, Kavindu Ekanayake 43, Pivithu Fernando 22, Shevan Nimantha 20; Devindu Kekirideniya 4/57 ) (RF)
Dahamdi, Esha win Round Robin stage
Sri Lanka Girls U-14 Chess Grand Prix 2021
Sanudula Dahamdi of Musaeus College and Esha Pallie of Visakha Vidyalaya were the winners of Group ‘X’ and ‘Y’ respectively at the end of the Round Robin stage of the Sri Lanka Youth Girls’ (Under-14) Chess Grand Prix 2021
Dahamdi was outstanding right throughout as she remained unbeaten to score nine points in nine games. Pallie won Group ‘Y’ with a score of 7 ½ points.
Dahamdi beat L.H.M.G.S. Somarathne, Nemindi Linaya Ramanayake and Sasmi Sithumsa in the second session to remain unbeaten.
Esha had a tough competition in last three rounds with a win against Piyumi Uthpala Amarathunga and a draw against Onwli Vithanawasam. She lost her encounter Tenuli Dahamna Rathnayake.
Nemindi Linaya Ramanayake( Central College, Veyangoda), Tharuli Vihansa Ranganath(Yoshida International School) and Oshini Devindya Gunawardhana (Pushpadana High School) scored 5.5, 5.0 and 5.0 respectively and managed to win second, third and fourth places in Group ‘X’ respectively by selecting to the quarter finals.
Oneli Vithanawasam (Lyceum International, Wattala), Desandhi Dhihansa Gamage (Sirimavo Bandaranayake BV) and Tenuli Dhahamna Rathnayake (Gothami Balika Vidyalaya) were placed second, third and fourth in Group ‘Y’.
Esha Pallie, Oneli Vithanawasam, Desandhi Gamage and Dhahamna Rathnayake are now in the quarter-finals.
The top four players in Group ‘X’ and ‘Y’ will play a knocked out rounds.
The Youth Girls Chess Grand Prix 2021 which commenced on April 2 with 18 leading Girls Under 14 Chess players will culminate on April 16.
A – Q/F 1 – X winner V Y 4th – Dahamdi V Tenuli
B – Q/F 2 – Y Winner V X 4th – Esha Pallie V Oshini
C – Q/F 3 – X Runner Up V Y 3rd – Nemindi V Desandi
D – Q/F 4 – Y Runner Up V X 3rd – Oneli V Tharuli
The Chess Federation of Sri Lanka is offering Rs. 55,000/= as cash awards for the winners.
The event is held according to the strict health guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health and The Medical Unit of Ministry of Sports.
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