Indian cricket has become a formidable force
by Rex Clementine
In cricket we have had some teams that set the benchmark in the sport. First it was ‘The Invincibles’ of Don Bradman, who went through a tour of England where they played 32 matches and were never defeated.
Then there was Clive Lloyd’s champion outfit in 1980s. His fast bowlers instilled fear among opposition batsmen while his carefree batsmen threw caution to the wind. After several series of total domination of England, the lexicon had a new word thanks to West Indies; ‘blackwash’.
Steve Waugh’s Aussies at the start of the new millennium took the sport to a new level encouraging ambidextrous players and targeting 400 runs on day one of a Test match. They ended up winning 16 Test matches in a row, a record that will be hard to match.
Are we seeing the sport’s next best team in India? Well, they have not won the series in England as yet but they played out of their skins at Lord’s earlier this week and you tend to get the feeling that you are seeing something special. India under Virat Kohli have been truly remarkable.
Early this year, they did something even special; winning a series in Australia; that too after being bowled out for 36 runs in Adelaide. It was a remarkable achievement to lift the spirits from such lows. Mind you they sealed the series of all places at the Gabba in the final Test. Brisbane is a venue where Australia had been unbeaten for 30 years. It was the first time an Asian team won at the Gabba after 16 attempts.
So, what have the Indians been doing right in recent times? Quite a few actually. They are fortunate to have a good leader of men in Kohli. This throw down coach that India lifted from Sri Lankas Nuwan Seneviratne better known as Bawwa to most, was Kohli’s idea.
India were to play Australia in 2018 and Kohli knew Mitchell Starc was going to create problems. So he insisted on having Bawwa on board. Bawwa is left-handed and can give you a torrid time at the nets while doing throw downs. So, torrid that apparently apart from Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella no Sri Lankan padded up to him.
Kohli is a different beast. After a couple of deliveries struck on his ribcage, Bawwa lowered the intensity only to be called up by the Indian captain who gave him an earful and wanted him to go high intensity. Small things matter. Then of course there is Kohli’s insane gym work and stuff to be the best player he can be. It is he who is calling the shots when it comes to fitness standards in India and although there is a hue and cry made in our part of the world about the two kilometer run, the Indian standard is supposed to be more intense than ours.
The options are simple. Fall in line or get lost. Over here, players who fail fitness tests go to the social media and blast the coaches. Then they find themselves recalled to the team! This Pramodaya Wickramasinghe is truly setting new standards. With friends like him, Kumar Sangakkara doesn’t need any enemies.
Going back to India, apart from Kohli, there is of course Ravi Shastri. The former Indian captain has little coaching experience. Since retiring, he has been a broadcaster for nearly three decades. The Indian board realized that coaching at this level was more managing players than helping with any technical brilliance. So they took Shastri out of the commentary box and put him in charge of the team. Shastri-Kohli combination is a match made by the cricketing gods in a bid to bring Aussies and Poms to their knees.
The IPL obviously has been a godsend to Indian cricket. Time was when India played just one seamer and included a seamer all-rounder to share the new ball and depended on spin to cover up their bowling. But what IPL has done is that young Indian quicks get a chance to spend time with world’s leading fast bowlers and coaches picking their brains. As a result, India is able to put up a formidable four-pronged pace attack. The consequence of that is someone like Ravichandran Ashwin, who has 400 Test wickets at an average of 24, is unable to get into the team.
So, there is Shastri factor, Kohli factor and the IPL factor that has contributed to India’s success. There is one more factor that has put cricket in India back on track; the intervention of Indian Supreme Court.
In the year 2015, the Indian Supreme Court appointed a retired judge to give recommendations as to how cricket in India could be improved. The court appointed someone with stature – Rajendra Lodha, the 41st Chief Justice of India. He presented to court in what is known as Lodha Committee report several recommendations.
Some of the prominent recommendations of the Lodha committee report are term limits for office bearers, limiting the number of votes at the BCCI AGM and an independent governing body for IPL. These recommendations were implemented resulting in the CEO having greater control over the matters and hence more responsibility. That has certainly been a welcome move. Indian cricket is nowadays run like a business.
In Sri Lanka too, several past administrators and former players got together and moved the Court to bring constitutional changes to our cricket. The learned judges’ observations remain to be seen.
Pasindu wins digital stimulator E Racing in Thailand
Pasindu Marasinghe, the delegate of the Automobile Association of Ceylon (AAC) at the Federation Internationale De L’Automobile (FIA) organized Region II Ideas Forum, won an ECARS Digital Racing Car Stimulators competition at the 44th International Motor Show in Thailand Organized by Motor Sports Club of Thailand (RAAT) on Saturday.
Twelve members from the Asia Pacific region participated in this competition. The winner was presented a Medal by Anothai Eamlumnow, Executive Committee Member and Chief Production Officer of the Grand Prix International Public Company Limited.
The world’s largest mobility and motorsports organization, Federation Internaionale De L’Automobile (FIA) organized Region II Ideas Forum was held from March 22 to 25 in Thailand. Automobile Association of Ceylon, which is the affiliated club in Region II was invited for this conference programme.
This programme commenced on March 24 at Studio 4 MAA-LAI Kimpton Hotel Thailand. It was a knowledgeable and effective forum with discussions by experts on insights with capacity building in regions and resources available to clubs through FIA University Mentoring Programme and also to discuss AA Philippines Tourism Start up Experience. AA delegates attended this Conference.
On Saturday (25), the AA Delegates, who were invited to attend the 44th International Motor Show in Thailand Organized by the Motor Sports Club of Thailand (RAAT) as VIP Guests and were introduced to take part in the ECARS Digital Racing Car Stimulators, which was a grant offered to this club by Federation Internaionale De L’Automobile (FIA). Simulator training provides experience to drive Formula Grand Prix.
Kalutara Lawn Tennis Club is 85 years old
One of the oldest outstation tennis clubs in the whole country, the Kalutara Lawn Tennis Club (KLTC) celebrated its 85th anniversary at a special function held at Kalutara Garden Beach Hotel on Saturday, 25 March with the participation of its senior and junior membership.
The event was presided over by the club’s current Acting President Roche Fernando and Vice President Dulip Wijayanayake.
The Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) President Iqbal Bin Issack also addressed the gathering on video conferencing and congratulated the club on reaching the remarkable milestone.
Among last eight in All-island Inter-club Tournament –
By the time the KLTC celebrated its 85th birthday, the club tennis team, led by Ashan Fernando, had already reached the 2023 All-island Inter-club Doubles Tournament Division-5 Quarter-finals. That too by finishing as table leaders of their Group, Group B of Division-5. The Quarter-final stage of the Tournament, organised by the SLTA, is to be staged from mid next month onwards.
During Saturday’s celebrations, the KLTC Committee felicitated its distinguished former Presidents and members such as Camillus Silva, the late Elmo Fernando, Sumanasiri Fernando, Renuk Nanayakkara, Srimantha Fernando, Priyantha Fernando, Laksiri Peiris, Dasantha Fonseka, Janaka Fonseka, Sunil Geeganaarachchi, Chaminda Fernando and Chamila Iddagoda.
The KLTC is one of the handful of British colonial-era public tennis-playing institutions presently surviving in the island. It was founded as the ‘Senior Officials’ Club’ or SOC in 1928 by the then British government officials working in the area. In 1938, it was rechristened the Kalutara Lawn Tennis Club and opened its doors to non-government-service members too.
St. Joseph’s beat Mahinda, Kusal hammers 168 for Trinity
Under 19 Cricket
Kusal Wijethunga top scored with 168 runs for Trinity to amass 449 against Maris Stella and spinner Lahiru Amarasekara completed a match bag of 11 wickets in an outright victory for St. Joseph’s as they shared the batting and bowling honours of the day in the Under 19 traditional cricket encounters on Tuesday.
In reply to Maris Stella’s 268 runs, Trinity amassed 449 runs in 83 overs with Wijethunga and Dinusha Peiris scoring centuries. Wijethunga and Peiris were involved in a partnership of 171 runs for the third wicket. Wijethunga’s knock included 16 fours and eight sixes. With batsmen dominating in both innings the match ended in a draw.
At Galle, St. Joseph’s declared their innings on 255 runs (9wkts) after adding 123 runs to their overnight total. Muditha Dissanayaka and Lahiru Amarasekara were responsible for the bulk of it. Amarasekara then joined Yenula Dewthusa to restrict the home team to 142 runs leaving their batsmen a target of just 15 runs to chase.
At Boyagane, Moratu Vidyalaya earned first innings honours against St. Sylvester’s as they restricted the latter to 177 runs.
Meanwhile, in another traditional match started at Katugastota, St. Anthony’s posted 352 for nine wickets declared against St. Peter’s as their top order batsmen, namely Mohomed Aaqil (32), Kavindu Shehan (54), Induwara Galapitage (47), Thisara Ekanayake (54) and skipper Lahiru Abeysinghe (73) clicked together.
At Galle: St. Joseph’s record ten wickets win against Mahinda
Mahinda 127 all out in 57 overs (Ranmina Hettiarachchi 33, Chandupa de Silva 29; Lahiru Amarasekara 5/34, Muditha Dissanayaka 2/23, Yenula Dewtusa 3/32) and 142 all out in 51.4 overs (Hareen Achintha 32, Dhanuja Induwara 26, Dulana Rajapaksha 32; Lahiru Amarasekara 6/79, Yenula Dewtusa 3/23)
St. Joseph’s 132 for 4 overnight 255 for 9 decl. in 67.5 overs (Sadeesh Jayawardena 53, Naren Muralidaran 41, Muditha Dissanayaka 64, Lahiru Amarasekara 41; Shehan Hasaranga 3/72, Dhanuja Induwara 2/09) and 15 for no loss in 1.2 overs
At Welisara: Trinity amass 449 against Maris Stella
Maris Stella 268 all out in 93.5 overs (Kaveen Fernando 26, Shean Adithya 83, Anshen de Silva 28, Ramith Bandara 33, Nethum Basnayake 26, Levin Fernando 22; Jayavi Liyanagama 2/40, Dinuka Tennakoon 5/74) and 30 for no loss in 5.2 overs
Trinity 9 for no loss overnight 449 all out in 83 overs (Kusal Wijethunga 165, Rahal Amarasinghe 39, Dinusha Peiris 105, Vathila Udara 28, Jayavi Liyanagama 45; Sadew Hasthika 5/113, Chirath Adithya 3/51)
At Boyagane: Morau Vidyalaya take first innings honours
Morau Vidyalaya 249 all out in 93.1 overs (Vihanga Nimsara 82, Rasindu Ilukshana 54; Isuru Gunasekara 2/28, Pansilu Bandara 2/50, Akila Wickramasinghe 3/48, Khanka Wickramasinghe 2/31) and 99 for 4 in 21 overs (Isuru Fernando 20, Vihanga Nimsara 38; Akila Wickramasinghe 3/16)
St. Sylvester’s 5 for 1 overnight 179 all out in 59.3 overs (Charuka Ayeshan 77; Malith Shehan 2/29, Isuru Fernando 2/27)
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