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Darren Lehmann’s magnanimous gesture

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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.



Foreign News

Australia T20 captain retires from international cricket

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Aaron Finch hit 63 in his final international innings against Ireland at the 2022 Men's T20 World Cup (pic BBC)

BBC reported that former Australia white-ball captain Aaron Finch has announced his retirement from international cricket.

Opening batter Finch, 36, was Australia’s T20 captain, having retired from one-day internationals in September..

He represented Australia in five Tests, 146 one-day internationals and 103 T20s, leading them to their first T20 World Cup title in 2021.

Finch said it had been “incredible honour” to play for Australia.

He is set to continue playing in domestic T20 competitions, including in the Big Bash League (BBL) for Melbourne Renegades.

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Fun Run announcing Asian Games at Port City today

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The Fun Run announcing the Asian Games will be held at Port City today. The event was announced at a function held in Colombo on Monday.

The official Fun Run announcing the 19th Asian Games will be held under the patronage of the Olympic Council of Asia Director General -Dr. Husain Al-Musallam and a host of dignitaries at the Colombo International Financial City (Port City) today.

The quadrennial Asian Games which was originally scheduled for September 2022 was postponed in May due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in and around the host city of Hangzhou in China. The Game will now be held in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8, 2023 under the motto of “Heart to Heart, @Future.”

The ‘Fun Run’ which acts like a baton relay of sorts was announced at a function held in Colombo yesterday.

The Fun Run will be held at the presence of Wu Jianzhong -Deputy Director of Games Services Department, Ge Jianyang -Staff of Press and Public Relations Department, Bao Hanyuan -Staff of Games Services Department and delegates from the Olympic Council of Asia. The National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka will be represented by its President Suresh Subramaniam, Secretary General NOC Sri Lanka Maxwell de Silva along with the executive committee of the NOC Sri Lanka.

To liven up this colourful pageant there will be a surfeit of sports and cultural activities involving over 700 persons. The highlight of the day’s activity will be a Jet Ski show presented by Sri Lanka Navy and a traditional Martial Art -Angampora Demonstration recited by the Army sports division. The President of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka Suresh Subramaniam aired the importance of the Fun Run. He said “the presence of the Olympic Council of Asia Director General -Dr. Husain Al-Musallam who is the main cog behind Asian Games 2022, signifies how serious they are about the success of the event. Besides that, there is a host of other Games Officials who will await eagerly to see the successful completion of this event and report back as to what Sri Lanka is capable of delivering. For us this is a momentous opportunity and we are taking it with both hands”.

Commenting on the significance of the event, NOC Sri Lanka Secretary General Maxwell de Silva said “akin to the Olympic Day Run or the Commonwealth Games Baton relay or the Asian Games Fun Run is very significant. In reality the “Fun Run” is the flag-off of the event and the Lankan leg of the baton that will take place at the Port City, Colombo.” The Olympic Council of Asia is stepping up its “Asian Games for All” promotional campaign right now.

A major part of this campaign is the Asian Games Fun Run, which is held throughout the continent and brings together elite athletes, social runners, students/children and sports officials. The OCA is working closely with the National Olympic Committees in all five zones to create a Fun Run calendar in order to promote the upcoming Asian Games and involve all levels of the community in a family-oriented activity. To this end, the OCA has released a schedule for February and March taking in two of the five zones: South Asia and South East Asia. The programme is still being assembled for the three remaining zones -West Asia, Central Asia and East Asia -in conjunction with the NOCs and will be released shortly.

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Amameth century propels Mahanama

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Under 19 Cricket

by Reemus Fernando

A century by Kavindu Amameth was the highlight of the day as Mahanama posted 363 runs against De Mazenod on day one of the traditional cricket encounter at Kandana on Monday.

Amameth top scored with 126 runs (in 173 balls, 9x4s, 4x6s) and put on a third wicket stand of 206 runs with Inuka Karannagoda as Mahanama dominated proceedings on day one.

In the Under 19 Division I Tier ‘B’ match at Uyanwatta, St. Servatius’ cemented their top position in Group ‘Z’ by scoring a first innings points against Devapathiraja.

Results

St. Servatius’ earn first innings points against Devapathiraja at Uyanwatta

Scores:

Devapathiraja

113 all out in 35.3 overs (Gimhan Rasanjana 24, Pawan Sandesh 24, Tharush Damindu 3/18, Kushan Wijerama 4/25, Chathum Bimsara 2/32) and 151 for 8 decl. in 36.2 overs (Darshaka Sandeep 46, Jeewaka Shashin 31; Chathum Bimsara 2/21, Kushan Wijerama 3/34, Thisan Dewmith 2/40)

St. Servatius’

92 for 6 overnight 123 all out in 48.3 overs (Mithila Charles 39, Vishwa Supun 23, Diniru Abeywickramasinghe 25; Irushka Thimira 6/47, Puljith Wathsuka 2/34) and 110 for 4 in 26.2 overs (Mithila Charles 27, Diniru Abeywickramasinghe 36, Chiran Neththaru 23n.o.; Puljith Wathsuka 2/38)

Mahanama dominate day one proceedings at Kandana

Scores:

Mahanama

363 all out in 92.1 overs (Kavindu Amameth 126, Inuka Karannagoda 75, Rashmika Perera 52, Chamika Heenatigala 24, Eshan Withanage 24; Kavindu Kaushalya 4/97, Thushan Udayanga 3/64, Sithum Fernando 3/71)

De Mazenod

2 for 1 in 5 overs

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