More trouble as KJP injured
by Rex Clementine
Even before the 3-0 drubbing at the hands of Proteas on Tuesday night began to sink in, Sri Lanka had to come to reality with the fact that they might have to go to next month’s T-20 World Cup without their best player.
Kusal Janith Perera top scored in the Sri Lankan innings in the third T-20 International and looked a class apart from rest of his team mates. However, he did not come to feiled and instead Dinesh Chandimal kept wickets. KJP had recovered after testing positive for COVID and many thought that he may have had breathing issues. However, after the game news emerged that KJP was down with a hamstring injury.
learns that the former captain was in severe pain on Tuesday night. Although the coaching staff has told SLC that he should be fine for the World Cup starting in UAE next month, the injury prone KJP takes more time than usual to be fully fit.
The coaching staff had informed SLC that at the worst KJP will only miss the bilateral series in Oman before the World Cup.
The opening batsman has a break of ten days before Sri Lanka resume training and the medical staff will be in a better position to assess him then.
It’s been a tough few months for one of the nicest guys in the game. KJP was appointed skipper in June when the selectors benched a whole lot of seniors as they opted to groom young blood for shorter formats of the game. Then, during a bitter pay dispute, KJP took the lead role taking the side of the players and eventually ended up burning a few bridges.
His on field leadership lacked inspiration but given the selectors’ claim that he was the only guy who was sure of his place, he should have been given the long rope. Instead, the selectors put too much on his plate, captaincy, opening batting and wicketkeeping and when things were falling apart, he was made the scapegoat. His captaincy lasted one month.
In England, KJP hurt his shoulder and missed the home series against India due to the injury. Then came COVID which forced him out of the South Africa ODIs and the opening encounter of the T-20 series.
A batting unit that is terribly short on experience and class, badly needs KJP back in action and fans will be hoping that he will be fit by the time Sri Lanka play the qualifying round of the World Cup.
All-rounder Lahiru Madushanka, however, looks to be not so lucky as his injury is more serious. Madushanka had hurt his collarbone and could be replaced for the World Cup.
Addressing the batting woes will be one of the team’s main priorities when they resume training next week. At present, the team is struggling to bat out 20 overs and their woes were magnified with the series being played on turning tracks.
South Africa’s spinners outperformed the Sri Lankan slow bowlers in the series. When the opposition has the quality of Tabraiz Shamsi, Bjorn Fortuin and Keshav Maharaj, it was a massive gamble to prepare turning tracks and in the end, it backfired.
Moose signs up as cricket’s clothing partner
by Rex Clementine
Singer had been a loyal sponsor of Sri Lankan cricket but a little heard company called Dilmah outbid Singer when the sponsorship was up for grabs in 2002. Singer boss Hemaka Amarasuriya wasn’t whinging and went on record saying that he welcomed local companies coming forward to back the sport.
Within a few years, Dilmah, an entity that was hardly known by most Sri Lankans became a global brand. That exactly is the strategy that Moose have adopted in their bid to become a global brand.
Moose a clothing company that is becoming quite popular among youth for their denims and t-shirts have been associated with cricket sponsorships in the last five years. On Thursday, they announced a four year deal with SLC to be clothing sponsor of the national cricket teams – both men and women.
Moose CEO Hasib Omar is a soft spoken young man who reminds you of the great Aravinda de Silva. But like in Ara’s case, beneath the soft exterior lies a sharp brain.
MAS had been the clothing sponsor of SLC for the last 16 years and Moose has outbid them signing a four year deal that will take them through all bilateral series, ICC events and Asian Cricket Council tournaments. The partnership brings together two of the nation’s main strengths – cricket and apparel industry.
Dimuth’s return to ODIs, a welcome move
by Rex Clementine
After more than two years of stubborn resistance, the selectors have been forced to bite the bullet and admit that their strategies have been faulty and the top order of the ODI outfit needs stability. Hence the return of Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne for white ball cricket for the upcoming three match series against Afghanistan and he should retain his place for the World Cup qualifiers later next month in Zimbabwe too.
One of the troubles with the 50 over side is that the batting department has been found wanting not able to bat out the 50 overs. Dimuth provides the stability opening the innings with his ability to bat through the 50 overs. Other stroke makers can bat around him.
In 2021 April, Dimuth Karunaratne posted his career best Test score of 244 against Bangladesh. A month later, Sri Lanka’s white ball team was touring Bangladesh and Dimuth was sacked from the captaincy as the leadership of the white ball teams was handed to Kusal Perera. It was a left field choice. That was an experiment that didn’t last long.
Not only was Dimuth removed from the captaincy he lost his place in the side as well. It didn’t dawn to the selectors that the batters will be encountering the same bowlers and in Karunaratne they had a man who was in good touch, having smashed a double hundred against the Bangladeshis. The result was catastrophic. Sri Lanka lost the series and in both games they lost, the batting had collapsed.
It is these senseless moves that has resulted in Sri Lanka being forced to play the qualifying round of the World Cup. By the time the selectors wisened up, the horse had bolted. The recalling of Dimuth is an admission by the selectors that they had got their act wrong in axing him.
It will be early winter in Zimbabwe in June and with day games teams will encounter some dew in the morning and need to adjust accordingly. On paper, Sri Lanka should go through, but they are a team that has got everything to lose having won the World Cup once and featured in two other finals. For smaller nations, this is a massive opportunity and if they win, there’s nothing like that but if they lose, they can always try next time. Not for Sri Lanka though, who have featured in every World Cup since the tournament was launched in 1975.
Complacency is the only thing that Sri Lanka need to guard themselves against. A mindset that this is not a tough challenge could see them losing the plot as we have seen it happening to many teams time and again.
In Chris Silverwood the team has someone who knows what to expect in Zimbabwe as he started his coaching stint there having overseen Mashonaland (Harare). The Head Coach will be tapping into the brains of his contacts in Zimbabwe as to what his team can expect when they travel for the qualifiers.
Russian doubles player cleared of match-fixing two years after Roland Garros arrest
Russian doubles player Yana Sizikova has been cleared of match-fixing two years after her arrest at the French Open, according to her lawyer.The 28-year-old was arrested at Roland Garros in 2021 as part of an investigation into match-fixing allegations dating back to the 2020 edition of the Grand Slam.
Sizikova, ranked 50th in doubles, has continued to play on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour since her arrest and will compete at this year’s French Open, which starts today.
“After two and a half years of investigation, the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office definitively closed the case on 11 April 2023, considering that criminal proceedings could not be initiated, as the facts of which Sizikova was accused could not be established,” her lawyer Frederic Belot told Reuters.
Officials began investigating in October 2020 after suspicions of “organised fraud” and “corruption in sports”.
A source close to the investigation told the BBC at the time the inquiry focused on a first-round match in which Sizikova and American partner Madison Brengle lost 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 to Romanian pair Andreea Mitu and Patricia Maria Tig.
Suspicions were reportedly raised after betting companies noticed hundreds of thousands of euros had been wagered on a break of serve in the second set.Sizikova was released a day after her arrest in 2021.In July 2022 she and fellow Russian Anastasia Potapova won the Prague Open, while Sizikova reached two other finals last year.
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