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Cricket’s finest gentleman Michael Tissera

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Michael Tissera and Sir Garry Sobers give away the trophy named after them to Angelo Mathews as Sri Lanka won the maiden

by Rex Clementine

Next week, as the second Test between Sri Lanka and West Indies comes to a conclusion, Michael Tissera will be in Galle to give away Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne a trophy that bears his name and that of West Indies legend Sir Garry Sobers. Irrespective of the result of the second Test, Sri Lanka will retain the Sobers-Tissera Trophy having won the first Test. West Indies can only square the series and as the holders of the trophy, Sri Lanka will retain the title.

Sri Lanka’s current cricketers will do well to pick the brains of Tissera, an iconic figure in our game. He played the game at a time when the sport had no money and the perks that the current generation is enjoying, because of men like Tissera, Anura Tennekoon and many others of their generation who laid a solid foundation for the sport. Built on that strong foundation is the brand name called Sri Lankan cricket.

Tissera respects the game and he has taken the values of cricket to his personal life and to his business. That’s why he is so successful. These are factors that are missing in some young players for whom cricket is their profession and nothing beyond. Not just players, but there are many of us who make a living out of cricket, but do we take values of the game beyond our working spaces? That’s the best thing that we can learn from Tissera – respect the game, value it and stay humble.

Talent itself is a great blessing and it is important to respect that. That’s why Tissera is an exceptional role model.

A disciplined man, he has set the standards and others have simply followed. His unquestionable integrity as Chairman of Selectors ensured fair-play in team selections and politicians dare not challenge him.

When Tissera took over as Chairman of Selectors in 2002, Aravinda de Silva had faded away. His cricket was over. He was heavily focusing on his business. But having realized that Aravinda still had much to offer the game, he threw down a challenge to Aravinda. If you are interested, the number four position of the national cricket team is all yours. But on one condition. ‘You are overweight and you need to get fitter.’ Aravinda loves those challenges. He knew he had cricket in him and apparently in two months he lost 15 kilos. A lot of running around Independence Square and no fancy stuff like lamb, pork sausages, cakes and of course his favourite Kandos.

On his comeback, he was a revelation. Aravinda produced a double hundred in his last Test match, he was the star as Sri Lanka reached the finals of the Champions Trophy in 2002 beating Australia in the semis. Basically he carried the team on his shoulders during the 2003 World Cup in South Africa. Making runs on those bouncy tracks was child’s play for Aravinda. And Tissera knew the man better than many others. Some of those knocks were out of this world. They are the stuff that you dream of. All that was possible because of Tissera. He gave Aravinda a second chance. Every young man deserves a second chance. Had Tissera been managing the Sri Lankan cricket team, Kusal Mendis would have been like Babar Azam of Pakistan leading Sri Lanka not serving a suspension.

Tissera’s two year tenure as the Manager of the national cricket team was highly successful. Tom Moody was the Head Coach and the team reached new heights. England were thrashed 5-0 in their own backyard in 2006 and the team won many Test matches overseas. It all culminated with Sri Lanka reaching the finals of the 2007 World Cup.

That team had some tricky customers. Tissera’s brilliant man management skills saw there was smooth sailing. Moody can be ruthless, like a typical Aussie. You needed the calm head of Tissera to ensure that things did not get out of hand. Well, they did get out of hand at certain points, but no one spilled the beans. What happened on tour, stayed on tour. None dared leaking information.

Tissera is tough when he needs to be, but he is also a father figure when players need support. Straight out of school when Sanath Jayasuriya from Matara ended up at CCC it is people like Tissera who looked after him. He has done much more to help up and coming players. All silently though.

Good on Sidath Wettimuny as President of Sri Lanka Cricket for naming this trophy after one of the iconic figures of our game. It takes one great man to respect another.



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Four batsmen strategy backfire as Sri Lanka lose to Zimbabwe

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Sri Lanka skipper Dasun Shanaka scored a century but that effort wasn’t sufficient to take Sri Lanka over the line in the second ODI against Zimbabwe at Pallekele yesterday.

Rex Clementine
at Pallekele

Sri Lanka were flirting with danger having named just four specialist batsmen for the three-match series against Zimbabwe and set a target of 303 in the second ODI, the hosts managed only 280 for nine and lost the game by 22 runs here at Pallekele yesterday.

Sri Lanka’s recent problem in white-ball cricket has been their awful batting and it was bizarre to stick with just four batters most of whom were not in the best of form.

Questions had been asked about Dasun Shanaka backing himself to bat at number six as he had not achieved much as a batsman. His form too was not so great heading into the series. But he justified the decision with a maiden hundred that came off just 93 deliveries with seven fours and two sixes. But Sri Lanka needed more from their captain and could have probably got home with more cover in the batting department.

Shanaka had brought up his hundred by clearing the mid-wicket boundary and after muted celebrations attempted another six but failed to clear the long-off boundary.

Sri Lanka had a horrible start as they were reduced to 63 for four. Then Shanaka rebuild the innings adding 118 runs for the fifth wicket with Kamindu Mendis (57). Another 66 run stand followed for the sixth wicket with Chamika Karunaratne (34) but Sri Lanka were always playing catch up as no team had successfully chased over 300 runs at Pallekele.

Zimbabwe’s young seamers did a terrific job having taken wickets with the new ball and then the trio of Tendai Chatara, Blessing Muzarabani and Richard Ngarava came back to pull things back in the death overs as Sri Lanka needed 100 runs in 70 balls.

Despite packing their side with bowlers and the return of Dushmantha Chameera, who missed the first game having not been medically cleared to play after testing positive for COVID, Sri Lanka conceded 302 runs as Zimbabwe opted to bat first.

Chameera is the nation’s best quick and although he generated pace, he wasn’t able to claim any wickets.

Captain Craig Ervine was the star for Zimbabwe as he posted 91 off 98 deliveries with ten fours.

Zimbabwe got off to a good start with the openers adding 51 runs for the first wicket before Jeffrey Vandersay’s leg-spin claimed both Regis Chakabva and Takudzwanashe Kaitano. Chakabva was smartly stumped by Kusal Mendis. It was his first stumping in international cricket and Mendis inflicted another stumping when Vandersay lured Sean Williams forward. Williams had scored a hundred in the previous game.

Zimbabwe’s lower middle order had failed in the first ODI but yesterday they clicked with Sikandar Raza stitching some partnerships that were crucial. The sixth wicket stand between him and Ryan Burl was worth 41 runs while Raza had added 51 runs with Ervine.

Raza was last man dismissed for a well complied 56 that came off 46 deliveries with four fours and a six.

Pradeep claimed two wickets in the last over of the innings. Sri Lanka used up as many as eight bowlers but couldn’t prevent Zimbabwe from scoring a match winning total.

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Wellalage dazzles as Sri Lanka Under 19s stun Australia  

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Dunith Wellalage was adjudged the Man of the Match.

Skipper Dunith Wellalage produced his second five wicket haul of the tournament before scoring a decisive half century as Sri Lanka Under 19s beat Australia Under 19s by four wickets in their second Group ‘D’ match of the ICC Under 19 World Cup in Basseterre, St Kitts on Monday.

The victory helped Sri Lanka cement their top position in Group ‘D’ as they reached a target of 176 runs with 13 overs to spare.

Chasing the target Sri Lanka lost three wickets for 41 runs and it soon became four wickets for 49 when Sakuna Liyanage, who was the leading scorer of the previous game, was out hit wicket for just seven runs.

That was when Wellalage came up with his captain’s knock to keep alive hopes. He had two crucial partnerships, a 70 runs stand with wicketkeeper batsman Anjala Bandara and a 52 runs stand for the sixth wicket with Ranuda Somaratne. Wellalage scored four fours and a six in his knock which came in 71 balls. When he was out caught and bowled by Tom Whitney Sri Lanka had almost reached the target. Four balls later Raveen de Silva scored a boundary to seal the win.

While Bandara stroked 33 runs, Somaratne remained unbeaten on 32. He faced 35 balls.

Deciding to field first Sri Lanka Under 19s did well to contain their counterparts to 175 runs as spinners lead by Wellalage produced economical spells.

Wellalage was the pick of the bowlers as Australia were bowled out in the final ball.

In the fight to retain the lead in the Group ‘D’ points table, Sri Lanka commenced with pace-spin combination of Yasiru Rodrigo and Treveen Mathew and the latter took two quick wickets to disturb Australia’s plans.

Opener Campbell Kellaway anchored the top order to score a half century. He was the only batsman to resist the Sri Lankan spin attack as skipper Wellalage handled his bowlers brilliantly.

While Matheesha Pathirana took two wickets, Sadisha Rajapaksa accounted for one wicket. Shevon Daniel gave away just 10 runs in his six overs.

Sri Lanka will now meet hosts West Indies in the final Group ‘D’ match on Friday.

In the other Group ‘D’ match played on Monday West Indies showed their all-round dominance in comfortable win over Scotland.

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Moose Clothing Company partners as the “Official Overseas Team Sponsor of Sri Lanka Cricket”

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Moose Clothing Company is ready to partner with Sri Lanka Cricket as the Official Overseas Team Sponsor for multiple series throughout the year.

Moose Clothing Company, Sri Lanka’s ever versatile and youthful clothing brand is ready to partner with Sri Lanka Cricket as the Official Overseas Team Sponsor of Sri Lanka cricket for multiple series throughout the year starting with the Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe tour 2022.

As an ardent supporter of sports in Sri Lanka, Moose Clothing Company have stepped up on previous occasions to support the much-loved local sport of cricket when they signed up for the England Tour of Sri Lanka 2021 and the official Co-sponsor for the Sri Lanka vs South Africa tour in 2018.

Commenting on this thrilling partnership, Moose Clothing Company CEO Hasib Omar stated: “We are excited to come on board as the official Overseas Team Sponsor of Sri Lanka Cricket. We are confident that the partnership will be mutually beneficial for both the brand Moose Clothing Company and Sri Lanka Cricket.”

Having entered the Sri Lankan retail market in 2018, Moose Clothing Company already established itself as a cotton clothing brand for men and women alike and the brand has been recognized as the best new entrant brand of the year in SLIM Brand Excellence Awards 2020. Moose Clothing Company products are available at over 100 stores island wide. Moose Clothing Company is backed by a strong online presence through their flagship online store.

‘’Sri Lanka Cricket welcomes Moose Clothing on board to partner with us during the Zimbabwe tour of Sri Lanka, and are confident that Moose Clothing will take this opportunity to achieve international reach,” said Ashley De Silva, CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket.

Passionately driven by the vision to be an international clothing brand which delivers exceptional value, Moose Clothing Company products are sold in Africa, the Middle East and India, with plans to launch the brand in Europe and the United States in the near future. The company has a long-term goal of representing Sri Lanka on the global fashion stage.

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