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Cricket chiefs rope in Romesh De Silva for Hathurusingha vs SLC

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By Rex Clementine

He may be making court appearances for the Catholic Church free of charge, but eminent lawyer Romesh De Silva is turning out to be the costliest legal counsel in the island. Sri Lanka Cricket is faced with an expensive legal battle with their ex-coach Chandika Hathurusingha and SLC is not taking any chances with the case having hired country’s leading lawyer – Romesh De Silva.

Hathurusingha has sued SLC for US$ five million for wrongful termination of employment and in order to avoid a financial debacle the board desperately needs to win the case.

SLC hierarchy is aware of the fact that De Silva will cost them an arm and a leg but what they have is Hobson’s choice. The case is still in early stages and for written submissions for the questions posed by the Arbitrators, the board will pay a sum of Rs. 1.5 million to De Silva. The President’s Counsel is only the Lead Counsel in the case and there are other lawyers involved as well and for all of them the board will incur an initial payment of Rs. 3.5 million.

This may turn out to be the most expensive court case involving SLC. There have been other high profile cases like Geoff March versus SLC in 2012 and WSG Nimbus versus SLC in 2001. The board lost both cases but defeat this time around will make them to feel the pinch as numbers are quite staggering.

From the outset it was argued that terminating Hathurusingha’s services could bring the board trouble. Hathurusingha resumed his three year stint with SLC in 2018 January and when he was sacked, he had only one year remaining in the contract. Even if the board had to pay him for the rest of his contract, it would have cost SLC somewhere around US$ 600,000. However, now they have been sued for US$ five million plus the costly legal charges.

Hathurusingha a former Test cricketer took up coaching after retirement. Following initial success with Moors SC, he migrated to UAE and was brought back to Colombo in 2007 to take up as coach of Sri Lanka ‘A’. Two years later, on the insistence of then Test captain Kumar Sangakkara, Haturusingha was part of the national team’s coaching staff as understudy to Trevor Bayliss.

It was expected that he will succeed Bayliss but disagreement with the board saw him being removed from the post. He then migrated to Australia and worked with New South Wales before Bangladesh hired him as Head Coach. Bangladesh cricket improved steadily under his charge and in 2017 he decided to end his association early to take up the Sri Lankan role.

One of Hathurusingha’s demands before taking up the Sri Lankan role was that he needed to be part of the selection panel. He was stripped of selection duties in December 2018. More than SLC, then Sports Minister Harin Fernando seemed to be keen on removing the coach and Fernando may have cost SLC a fortune. Hathurusingha has good ground to argue as his contract was with SLC and not with Sports Ministry.

The highest point of Hathurusinha’s stint with Sri Lanka was the national cricket team’s 2-0 series win in South Africa. Sri Lanka became the first Asian nation to win a Test series in South Africa.



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Prabath Jayasuriya crowned ICC Player of the Month for July

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Sri Lanka’s newest spin sensation Prabath Jayasuriya and England’s Emma Lamb, who starred atop the order in her side’s whitewash series victory over South Africa were announced as the winners of the ICC Player of the Month awards for July 2022. The International Cricket Council (ICC) made the announcement yesterday.

Jayasuriya claims the ICC Men’s Player of the Month award on the back of an outstanding series of displays with the ball, where his remarkable haul of wickets sees him crowned ahead of rival contenders England’s Jonny Bairstow – who won the Men’s award back in June – and French youngster Gustav McKeon.

During Sri Lanka’s three Test matches on home soil in July, Jayasuriya stepped into the squad for the first time in the longest format and made an immediate impact against formidable opponents. After his side was humbled in the first Test defeat to Australia, the spinner celebrated a prolific Test debut, taking six for 118 in the first innings, and following up with an even more impressive six for 59 in the second to claim the final Test and draw the series. Jayasuriya kept his momentum going into the two-Test showdown against Pakistan later in the month, taking seventeen wickets across the series and ending July with staggering figures of 29 wickets at an average of 20.37.

On being named the ICC Men’s Player of the Month, Jayasuriya said: ‘’I am delighted with this announcement, and wish to thank the fans for voting me as the ICC Men’s Player of the Month. Certainly it has been an incredible month for me, as I made the Test debut, and also got the opportunity to contribute for my team to level the Test series played against Australia and Pakistan.”

“I take this opportunity to thank my fans, teammates, coaches, family and friends for helping my journey, and thrilled with what I am experiencing at this moment in my life.”

Irfan Pathan, former India international and ICC Player of the Month voting panel member, said: “Being a newcomer to Test cricket and starting with two five-wicket hauls in your first match is extraordinary, and it’s all the more impressive against a team like Australia. A tally of 29 wickets in just three Tests is too good to be overlooked and for that, he is my ICC Men’s Player of the Month.”

Emma Lamb was voted the ICC Women’s Player of the Month for July following her thrilling start to life opening the batting in England’s victorious ODI series victory over South Africa. Lamb consistently laid the foundations for her side to claim victory in each of the three matches, with her most notable contribution coming in the first match in Northampton.

Her outstanding 102 in which she displayed a wide array of classy stroke play set her on course for a stellar month, and she followed up this milestone by posting two further half-centuries to strengthen her credentials as a supremely talented top order batter, with a very bright future ahead.

On winning the ICC Women’s Player of the Month award for July, Lamb commented: “It’s very exciting to have been awarded the ICC Women’s Player of the Month award for July. I’m very happy to have earned my spot at the top of the order in the Test and ODI team and it’s been brilliant to be able to score some runs and help the team win.

“Everyone in the squad contributed to our multi-format series win against South Africa so I just want to keep scoring runs for the team – I feel very lucky that my performances across the last month have been rewarded and I hope to carry on my good form.”

Lamb secures the ICC Women’s Player of the Month award at the first time of asking, overcoming fellow nominees; England’s Nat Sciver and India’s Renuka Singh.

Fans can continue to vote every month for their favourite male and female cricketers across all formats of international cricket as part of the ICC Player of the Month initiative by registering at www.icc-cricket.com/awards.

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Sri Lanka off to great start

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Davis Cup

Yashitha de Silva, Harshana Godamanne and doubles pair Thehan Wejemanne and Chathurya Nilaweera gave hosts a robust start to their Davis Cup campaign as they beat Bangladesh 3-0 in the opening encounter at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Monday.

The seven nation event started yesterday with the hosts taking on Bangladesh in a Group A encounter. The other team in group A is Kyrgyzstan.

In the first singles match De Silva beat Ranjan Ram 6-3, 6-0, before Godamanne registered 6-1, 6-3 win against Rubel Hossain in the second singles match.

In the doubles match Wijemanne and Nilaweera beat Kawsar Ali and MD Rana 6-0, 6-1.

Sri Lanka will next meet Kyrgyzstan on August 11. The tournament will conclude on August 13.

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Troubles not over for junior athletics team

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by Reemus Fernando

A girl and two boys of Sri Lanka’s junior track and field team have tested positive for Covid 19 prior to their departure to Sri Lanka after the conclusion of the World Junior Athletics Championships in Cali, Colombia on Sunday.

The team of seven which endured many difficulties before leaving for Colombia did well during the World Junior Championships with four athletes advancing from the first round and two producing national junior records. Now with part of the team returning positive results for Covid 19 they will have to undergo seven days of mandatory quarantine.

Sri Lanka Athletics sources said that Susantha Fernando, the manager on tour was remaining in Colombia to accompany the athletes undergoing week long isolation, while team coach Badra Gunawardena, the female official in the team was on her way home.

A source close athletics said that Gunawardena’s return without staying with the team would likely to cause trouble as Ministry of Education protocols require a female official to stay with the team when there are school girls in teams.

Sources also confirmed that four athletes who left Colombia on Sunday were not accompanied by an official. The four school athletes were to be joined by coach Gunawardena in Panama, their first transit.

The team remained uncertain of their participation in the World Junior Championship until the eleventh hour due to lack of funds. After media reported their plight sports authorities intervened. However undue delays in obtaining visas and unavailability of air tickets made officials to cancel the tour before a media backlash forced officials to make eleventh hour interventions to take the tour back on track.

But the eleventh hour intervention and flight delays meant that two athletes missed their pet events after arriving late in Cali.

However of the six athletes who took part in the championships four advanced from the first round and three reached personal best performances. Two athletes, javelin thrower Rumesh Tharanga and 400 metres hurdler Dhanuka Dharshana established national junior records. Triple jumper and Pasindu Malshan and thrower Tharanga reached the finals of their respective events.

With three athletes and an official having to stay seven days in isolation the team will have to bear additional costs.

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