John Richard Reid, former New Zealand great and their oldest surviving Test player, has died at the age of 92 in Auckland.
Reid was an exceptional all-rounder, who not only displayed aggression in the batting and bowling aspects of the game, but also impressed with his incredible skills in the field.
He was thought of as a strong rugby player in his youth, but a severe bout of rheumatic fever forced him out of the sport in his teens.
However, the setback did not stop Reid from achieving immense success in a different sport – he scored 3428 runs in 58 Test matches with an average of 33.28, hitting 22 half-centuries and six centuries in a career that spanned over 16 years. His maiden Test century, a knock of 135, came against South Africa in Cape Town in 1954.
He scored two fifties in his debut series, against England, and was the only surviving member of the famous 49ers – the team that brought New Zealand cricket to the world stage when they toured England in 1949.
He was a genuine fast bowler at the beginning of his career, but had to sacrifice pace in the latter stages of his career, switching to off-cutters and spin in order to negate potential injuries. He finished with 85 Test scalps to his name, including four five-wicket hauls and best bowling figures of 6/60.
The right-handed batsman was the first captain ever to score 500 runs and pick up 10 wickets in a series with his tally of 546 runs and 11 dismissals in South Africa in 1962. The visitors also drew the series 2-2, which was an incredible achievement for New Zealand cricket at the time. He also held the record for most international runs by a New Zealand cricketer in a calendar year (871 in 1965), before it was broken by Brendon McCullum in 2014.
Reid was the first cricketer to lead New Zealand to a Test victory, when they beat the Windies by 190 runs in Auckland in 1956. He was also the captain when New Zealand defeated South Africa in 1962 to claim their first overseas Test win.
“I was the captain who won the first three Tests for New Zealand. All records are meant to be broken, but that one you can’t break. But when we won our first Test, I had a glass of champagne for the first time. It was special, first win in 27 years,” said Reid in a conversation with Cricket Monthly back in 2009.
“I used to tell some terrible lies – how we are going to win this one and win that one, knowing very well that we wouldn’t. I loved the game. I loved the sportsmanship.”
When the legendary cricketer hung up his boots in 1965, he held the record for the highest number of caps, runs, outfield catches, as well as wickets for New Zealand. He continued to be influential in international cricket even after his retirement. Reid was appointed as a national selector, and then travelled to South Africa for a couple of coaching stints. He also officiated in 50 Tests and 98 one-day internationals as an International Cricket Council match referee.
Reid was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, but fought against it to recover completely after undergoing surgery, and in August 2015, became the oldest surviving Test cricketer from New Zealand after Trevor Barber passed away.
In 1962, Reid was bestowed with the tag of an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to the sport. He was also made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the New Year Honours of 2014.3
Reid was a prolific first-class cricketer, who played 246 first-class games, scoring 16128 runs at 41.35, while taking 466 wickets at 22.60.
“John R Reid was New Zealand cricket’s Colin Meads,” said New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White. “He was, and will remain, a household name in this country, having helped pave the way for everything that has come in his wake.
“Our thoughts and respect are with his family at this time: wife Norli; children Alison, Richard and Ann, and his grand-children, Oliver, Megan, Christina and Angus.
“NZC will acknowledge and mark John’s wonderful life and career at an appropriate time.” (ICC)
Dilshi stamps her class with national record
Shanika qualifies for World Junior Championships
by Reemus Fernando
Former Ratnayake Central Walala athlete Dilshi Kumarasinghe stamped her class with a new Sri Lanka record performance in the 800 metres while emerging 800 metres runner Shanika Lakshani reached qualifying standards for the World Under 20 Championships and sprinter Mohamed Safan broke shackles to win the 200 metres as the first Selection Trial produced its best on the final day at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Friday.
Kumarasinghe who registered her maiden 400 metres triumph at national level on Wednesday bagged the 800 metres win as well in style on Friday when she clocked the fastest time for the distance by a Sri Lankan in history. Her time of two minutes and 2.55 seconds erased the four year-old national record held by experienced Gayanthika Abeyratne who finished third(3rd 2:03.64 secs) yesterday. Asia’s third ranked 800 metres runner Nimali Liyanarachchi was placed second in a time of 2:03.15 seconds. Former record holder Abeyratne is ranked fifth in Asia.
The 21-year-old athlete trained by Susantha Fernando maintained a steady pace right throughout to win the event for the second time within months. She won her first 800 meters title at senior level at the last National Championships in December. “I am happy to have broken the record. We planned for the record but I am not satisfied with the time,” Kumarasinghe told The Island. Her coach Fernando expressed similar sentiments. “We were planning to produced a far better timing as she has the potential to reach international level,” said Fernando.
Kumarasinghe who is currently ranked sixth in Asia behind local counterparts Liyanarachchi and Aberatne is set to improve her ranking when the World Athletics update statistics next week.
Holy Cross College, Gampaha athlete Shanika Lakshani became the second junior runner at this championships to earn qualifying standards for the World Under-20 Championship which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya next August. Her coach Madura Perera said that it was a huge relief to witness his trainee accomplish the target after missing it by a whisker at the National Championships in December. Lakshani, running alongside the veterans clocked 2:07.02 seconds (Qualifying mark: 2:08.70 seconds).
On Wednesday Isuru Kawshalya Abewardana of Ananda Sastralaya Matugama reached qualifying standards for the World Under-20 Championship when he returned a time of 47.24 seconds in the Junior Men’s 400 metres final.
In the men’s 200 metres, Mohamed Safan turned tables on National Champion Kalinga Kumarage as both clocked sub 21 seconds, a rarity at local athletics. Safan was playing second fiddle to Kumarage at the last National Championships where he clocked 21.41 seconds. Yesterday Safan returned a time of 20.81 seconds, while Kumarage clocked 20.85 seconds.
In the women’s 200 metres, Nadeesha Ramanayake was the winner. She clocked 24.28 seconds.
The men’s 800 metres, conspicuous by the absence of national record holder Indunil Herath, was won by the Asian Championship participant Rusiru Chathuranga, who clocked 1:49.82 seconds.
Herath was not the only leading athlete who was absent at the First Selection Trial which was organized by Sri Lanka Athletics to provide much needed competition opportunity to top athletes vying to reach Olympic qualifying standards.
The next track and field competition for top athletes will be the next month’s National Championship.
COPE; a toothless tiger?
by Rex Clementine
Parliamentary watchdog COPE – Committee on Public Enterprises has made a scathing attack on some of the corrupt practices at Sri Lanka Cricket. COPE Chief, Professor Charith Herath has gone onto claim that by fighting out certain legal battles and writing off money that companies and member club owed SLC, insiders may have been receiving kickbacks. This is a very serious allegation by the legislature.
Professor Herath wants legal action taken against SLC officials. It remains to be seen whether any culprits can be hauled up before courts or whether COPE is just a toothless tiger.
In the absence of SLC bigwigs, CEO Ashley de Silva bore the brunt of the criticism. In January this year, in these pages we wrote that Ashley’s time was up. While there are many questions about his efficiency and decision making abilities, it can be safely said that Ashley is no crook. The real crooks are hiding behind the CEO.
There have been some decent men as well at SLC like Mohan de Silva, who was President in 2004. De Silva had warned his colleagues that their excesses could tarnish the reputation of the institution, but his concerns fell on deaf ears.
Not only the guardians of SLC but even those who let them enter into these corrupt deals need to be probed. While most of these allegations will take time to prove, certain things can be proven beyond reasonable doubt. For example fixing a domestic match in 2017 by some prominent members of SLC.
However, four successive Sports Ministers – Dayasiri Jayasekara, Faizer Mustapaha, Harin Fernando and Namal Rajapaksa – failed to take action. All four turned a blind eye despite having overwhelming evidence in front of them. Ravin Wickramaratne, the number one suspect, went places in cricket circles. He is now SLC’s alternate ICC Director.
At a time when the game has been so badly managed, Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa’s decision to backdate a gazette notification extending the term of SLC’s Executive Committee has not gone down well with many. Rather than giving a clean bill of health to SLC hierarchy, he should have perhaps taken the bad eggs out.
The ball is back on Namal’s court. It is his Ministry that has to now decide which deals need to be proved and against which officials’ action needs to be taken in courts of law. From the start, Namal has treated SLC hierarchy with kids’ gloves. Now that their deficiencies have been exposed well and truly, he needs to watch his steps. If he continues to play politics with cricket governance, his popularity is going to wane, fast.
Saha wins U12 boys’ singles title
Saha Kapilasena beat Sasen Premaratne to win the Under-12 boys’ singles title of the Clay Court Nationals conducted at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts on Friday.
Kapilasena scored 6-3, 6-1 to win the title. Kapikasena ousted third seed Aahil Kaleel in the semi-final, Premaratne eliminated number one seed Methika Wickramasinghe in the semi-final.
In the mixed doubles final Anika Seneviratne and Thangaraja Dineshkanthan were the winners as they beat Sanka Athukorale and Neyara Weerawansa 7-5, 6-4.
Sanka Athukorale and Yasita de Silva beat Rajeev Rajapakse and Renouk Wijemanne 6-4, 6-0 to clinch the men’s doubles title.
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