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Cricket chiefs rope in Romesh De Silva for Hathurusingha vs SLC



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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Sachini wins as Niklesha, Ashvini warm up for FIDE world online Chess Olympiad



Inaugural Sri Lanka Women Chess Grand Prix 2020

Four time national champion Sachini Ranasinghe won the women’s title at the Inaugural Sri Lanka Women’s Chess Grand Prix 2020 as school chess players Tharushi Niklesha and Ashvini Pavalchandran warmed up for the forthcoming FIDE World Online Chess Olympiad at the event concluded on Sunday.

WIM Sachini Ranasinghe (Nf3 Chess Club) was crowned the champion as she accumulated 9 ½ points despite conceding defeat at the hands of Tharushi Sandeepani of Devi Balika Vidyalaya.

A four times women’s National Champion (2009, 2011, 2012, 2013), Ranasinghe played in four FIDE Chess Olympiads (in 2010 in Russia, 2012 in Turkey, 2016 in Azerbaijan and 2018 in Georgia. She was awarded the Trophy, Gold Medal and a cash award of Rs. 30,000.00 for her performance.

WFM Dinushki Premanath of University of Moratuwa made a notable come back scoring six straight victories to finish with an aggregate of eight points after a relatively poor performance in the first four rounds. Dinushki was the National Champion in 2010 and 2018 and has played in couple of Chess Olympiads (in 2012 and 2018). Dinushki won the silver medal with a shared prize of Rs. 12,000.00.

WCM Tharushi Niklesha (Visakha Vidyalaya) and WIM Nelunika Methmani (University of Sri Jayawardenapura) also finished with eight points each, tying with Dinushki, but had to satisfy with the bronze medal and the fourth place respectively according to the tie breaker. Tharushi lost her final round game to Janandani Abeysinghe of NSBM Green University and Nelunika Methmani drew with Ashvini Pavalchandran of Wycherly International School. Tharushi received the bronze medal and both of them were awarded a shared prize of Rs. 12,000.00. Ashvini Pavalchandran who will compete at the IDE World Online Chess Olympiad later this week was placed fifth with 7 ½ points and she was awarded Rs. 4,000.00.

The event conducted by the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka was held on July 25, 26, 27, 31 and August 1 and 2 at the Chess Federation Headquarters, Delkanda, Nugegoda.

Luxman Wijesuriya, General Secretary of South Asian Chess Council and Commonwealth Chess Association and a Vice President of Asian Chess Federation was the chief guest at the awards ceremony.

Sri Lanka chess enthusiasts will now shift their focus onto the FIDE World Online Chess Olympiad

which commences on August 7.

Sri Lanka will compete in level three with national champion Harshana Thilakarathne and Isuru Alahakoon competing in the men’s open category.

FIDE world online Chess Olympiad is a National Chess Team event. While Dewnethmie Dahampriya and Pavalachandran Ashvini compete in the open women’s category the Under-20 boys and girls participants are Susal de Silva and Gihansa Jayaweera.


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With IPL gone, SLC now focus on LPL



Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan has expressed his willingness to take part in LPL although official negotiations are yet to begin.

With their hopes of hosting this year’s Indian Premier League event now gone, Sri Lanka Cricket is firmly focusing on successfully running their own franchise based T-20 competition – Lanka Premier League.

SLC has allocated a three week window for the event – from 28th August to 20th September. Although the organizers are running against time in getting sponsors and television producers for the event, SLC has received some positive feedback from interested parties. In a media release, SLC said that they have been able to attract 70 overseas players and ten coaches for the event.

The five team competition named after cities such as Colombo, Kandy, Galle, Dambulla and Jaffna will be played at RPS, Dambulla, Pallekele and Suriyawewa.

Former Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan had expressed his willingness to take part in the event although he indicated that there had been no formal discussions with organizers.

Two years ago, when SLC had mooted the idea of conducting a franchise based tournament of their own, the board had received the blessings of Board of Control for Cricket in India to have Indian players in the competition.

It was supposed to be the first franchise based tournament outside India to have the participation of Indian players. Former Test cricketer Russel Arnold was put in charge as Director of the event. However, the tournament was postponed due to various reasons.

The outbreak of COVID -19 pandemic had seen SLC losing out on several home series. The Test series by England and Bangladesh were postponed while India and South Africa too delayed their limited over commitments in Sri Lanka.

With the country battling the pandemic relatively well compared to their Asian counterparts, SLC had expressed willingness to host IPL with BCCI deciding that the tournament had to be held overseas due to health reasons. However, UAE was preferred over Sri Lanka to host the event.

SLC is now hopeful that LPL will be the first cricket event to be held in the island since the outbreak of the pandemic. The board officials are set to meet health authorities to discuss the measures that need to be taken to resume cricket.

The bilateral series between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh is expected to be played soon after the LPL.


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Stuart Broad ‘100%’ considered retirement after being dropped



England seam bowler Stuart Broad says he considered retirement after being dropped for last month’s opening Test of the summer against West Indies.

Broad, 34, was left out at Southampton, where West Indies won by four wickets.

He returned for the final two Tests, both won by England, and took 16 wickets to pass 500 for his career.

“Were there thoughts of retirement going round my head? 100%. Because I was so down,” Broad told the Mail on Sunday.

“I was expecting to play, which is always a bit of a dangerous thing in sport but I felt I deserved to play.

“When Stokesy [Ben Stokes] told me I wasn’t playing, I felt my body go into shakes. I could barely speak.”

Only six other bowlers in history have taken more Test wickets than Broad, who has played 140 Test matches.

The 16 wickets he took in the final two Tests against West Indies at Old Trafford came at an average of 10.93.

He added: “I have not really told anyone this but I was so down that week of the first Test, I was really low. I was stuck in that hotel. I couldn’t go anywhere. It wasn’t like I could go back to [girlfriend] Mollie and have a barbeque and chill out and reassess.

“I didn’t sleep for two days. I was nowhere. A different decision could definitely have been made with my emotions of how I was feeling.”

Broad, who is now targeting 600 Test wickets, also revealed that Stokes, who was captaining in England in the first Test in the absence of Joe Root, then played a key role.

“Stokesy knocked on my door on the Thursday night and stayed in the corridor to talk to me. He said: ‘This isn’t about cricket, but how are you, mate?’ That was very impressive for him to do.”

Broad made his Test debut in 2007 and for most of his career has been bracketed with new ball partner Anderson, 38, England’s record Test wicket-taker, who has 589 wickets, having made his debut in 2003.

“Do I think I’m in England’s best XI? Absolutely. Do I think Jimmy Anderson is in England’s best XI? Absolutely,” he said.

“There is no doubt that Jimmy and I have got better. No doubt.

“The last 18 months, I have been averaging 20.5 per wicket in Test cricket. Take age out of that. If anyone were doing that at any age, you would want to keep them around for a bit and not look past it.”(BBC)


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