Darren Lehmann’s magnanimous gesture
by Rex Clementine
Some Sri Lankan cricket fans have suspicions about former Australian batsman Darren Lehmann, whose racial outburst directed at the Sri Lankans almost two decades ago created quite a stir and landed him in trouble earning a severe suspension.
During the annual triangular One-Day tournament in Australia, Lehmann had been run out by Russell Arnold and as he was walking back to the dressing room, the middle order batsman shouted ‘black c****’.
The remark was heard by the Sri Lankan players in the dressing room and a complaint was made to the ICC Match Referee Clive Lloyd. Lehmann then apologized to the Sri Lankan captain Sanath Jayasuriya and the tourists requested Lloyd to be lenient. Lloyd severely reprimanded the player, but that didn’t go down too well with Lloyd’s bosses at the International Cricket Council.
ICC CEO Malcolm Speed, an Australian himself, charged Lehmann for breach of Code of Conduct and Lehmann was suspended for five ODIs. He missed the finals of the triangular tournament and some games of the ICC Cricket World Cup as well that followed in South Africa in 2003.
Although the Sri Lankan players had moved on, the public were suspicious about the South Australian, who was Yorkshire’s overseas player for several seasons. Lehmann’s recent visit to the island was in 2016 as coach of the Australian team when Angelo Mathews’ side whitewashed the tourists 3-0.
There was another altercation at SSC when the Australian management constantly complained to the curator late Michael de Zoysa about the practice facilities. The press got to know about the Aussies slamming the facilities at SSC and asked de Zoysa for a comment. His reply was a one-liner, ‘dirty Aussies’.
Not too many complementary things are said about Lehmann apart from his brilliant batting in this part of the world. But beneath the rough exterior there beats a heart of gold as Lehmann was seen pleading with friends and family to support a Sri Lankan family that faces deportation from Australia.
Lehmann had taken to social media platforms asking his followers to come sign up a petition that appealed to the Australian government to be more compassionate towards the Sri Lankan family and let them continue to live in Australia.
The petition was gaining momentum. Lehmann had appealed for 500,000 signatures and the petition had already received close to 400,000 signatures by yesterday evening.
Sportsmen can make a difference to make other people’s lives better and Lehmann’s efforts have been much appreciated no matter what the outcome of his appeal going to be. Lehmann is not the only Australian cricketer to appeal to their government to be more considerate on allowing people to remain in Australian rather than deporting them. Ian Chappell, probably the most respected voice in Australian cricket, at the age of 77 is working with United Nations carrying the message to show more leniency towards those who are seeking asylum.
Perceptions about Lehmann should change as well. Things can be said in the spur of the moment. The Aussies say plenty of stuff on the field but deep within, they are a good sport.
Track and field action from Diyagama
The Track and Field season commenced with some of the best athletes in the senior and Under 20 age categories producing notable performances during the two-day Junior and Senior Selection Trial concluded at Diyagama on Tuesday. Here are some action pictures from the day two of the event.
(Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi)
Dharshana’s false start dampen an otherwise remarkable day
by Reemus Fernando
Sprinter Aruna Dharshana gave athletics fans both joy and heartache on an otherwise remarkable day as the Junior and Senior Track and Field trials concluded with a number of athletes achieving their personal bests at Diyagama yesterday.
Athletics analysts were waiting for Dharshana to reach his personal best in the men’s 400 metres final after the Army athlete produced the best performance in the heats where as many as five athletes clocked sub 47 seconds. When Dharshana followed up his 200 metres winning time of 21.12 seconds with a feat of 46.43 seconds in the 400 metres many expected him to produce a sub 46 seconds performance in the final.
But the shocking foul start meant that he will have to wait for more than a month to test his true potential. Incidentally, Kalinga Kumarage, who was off-colour in the heats (47.51 secs – second in heat 3) won the final with a feat of 46.27 seconds. However, 100 metres sprinter Medhani Jayamanne who was disqualified for a foul start in the women’s 100 metres heats was not so unlucky, as athletics officials gave her an opportunity to compete in the women’s 100 metres final, though her place was (2nd) not recognised. She clocked 12.16 seconds in the final.
In Dharshana’s absence four others, namely, Kumarage, R.N. Rajakaruna, Dinuka Deshan and Pabasara Niku clocked sub 47 seconds.
In the corresponding women’s 400 metres, schoolgirl Tharushi Karunaratne continued to shock her senior counterparts. Having won the women’s 800 metres on day one, the Ratnayake Central prodigy also bagged the 400 metres victory as she clocked 53.41 seconds to beat Asian Championship participant Nadeesha Ramanayake.
In the men’s 100 metres Chamod Yodasinghe reached his personal best as he clocked 10.37 seconds to win the final.
In the women’s 100 metres final, Rumeshika Ratnayake clocked 12.01 seconds to win running against the wind (-2.9). In the heats, she clocked sub 12 seconds.
In the morning, Gayanthika Abeyratne finished the women’s 1500 metres just three seconds shy of her national record mark as she clocked 4:12.53 seconds to win closely followed by steeplechase national record holder Nilani Ratnayake. Abeyratne’s national record established last year stands at 4:09.12 seconds.
In the Under 20 age category events Malith Yasiru produced the second-best performance of the Asian region in the Under 20 boys’ triple jump this year when he cleared a distance of 15.43 metres to win the event.
Sri Lankan sailing teams compete in Pakistan
The Sri Lankan national team of two sailors and one windsurfer, with the Navy team of a sailor and a windsurfer, were invited to participate at the first Chief of Navy Staff International Sailing Regatta 2023 held from March 14 to 20 in Karachi, Pakistan. Twelve countries including Australia, Bahrain, Croatia, Egypt, China, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Oman, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey had sent their teams to Karachi. The Sri Lankan national team consisted of Laser Standard sailor (ILCA 7) NGMU Ghanawardene, Sri Lanka Navy, Priyantha Gunawardene, Sri Lanka Navy participating in the Windsurfing RSX Class and Laser 4.7 (ILCA 4) sailor Tharen Nanayakkara. The Navy team consisted of Laser Standard sailor (ILCA 7) JMPL Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka Navy and WAS Weeratunge, Sri Lanka Navy participating in the Windsurfing RSX Class.
Ukraine to clinch first IMF loan to nation at war
President requests the opposition to support the implementation of the IMF agreement
Property tax to be replaced with Wealth Tax, Gift Tax and Estate Tax – President
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
U.S. Congress to probe assets fleecing by US citizens of Sri Lankan origin
News4 days ago
Sri Lankan recognized as a Fellow by Society of Architectural Historians
Features6 days ago
Earth’s Greatest Rivalry
Breaking News7 days ago
Credit Suisse slump renews fears of global banking crisis
News7 days ago
Underworld figures flown to Colombo from Madagascar
Editorial6 days ago
Smash glass ceiling
News4 days ago
New orchid species discovered in Walankada Forest Reserve
News3 days ago
Geoffrey Bawa exhibition opens in New Delhi
Features6 days ago
A middle path for Sri Lankan agriculture: Sustainable intensification – II