by Rex Clementine
In an interview with a Sunday newspaper, Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa had conceded that every time that an Interim Committee was in place that our cricket had slumped!
Now, there are few things that the Sports Minister is good at like for example playing rugby, driving fast cars and practicing law. In racing, Namal has so many tricks up his sleeve that at times he makes Ayrton Senna look ordinary. In rugby, Namal’s beloved Navy SC made the invincible Kandy SC eat humble pie. In the legal practice, Namal passed Law college exam with flying colours obtaining more marks than the great Lalith Athulathmudali. That all this he achieved while his father was the President of course is a different story.
Anyone who has followed Sri Lankan cricket knows why Interim Committees were put in place and what happened afterwards. The first Interim Committee headed by Rienzie Wijetilleke was appointed in 1999 when the sport had hit new lows. Sri Lanka as defending champions of the World Cup made a first round exit in England and there were many who had to pay the price – captain, selectors and the board.
The new selection panel headed by Sidath Wettimuny did sweeping changes and blooded in youth. The very first series after the changes were made Sri Lanka not only beat Australia in a Test match for the first time but won a tri-nation series beating Steve Waugh’s side in the grand final. This was less than two months after they had become World Champions.
Many young players were blooded in at that time, including one Kumar Sangakkara who sits on the Technical Advisory panel that the Minister of Sports has appointed. Maybe Namal will be better off learning from Sanga what Interim Committees have done for the sport.
There was a second Interim Committee headed by Vijaya Malalasekara in 2001. At that time, the national cricket team went onto win ten matches in a row, still a record.
The head of third Interim Committee was leading businessman Hemaka Amarasuriya, who was appointed in 2002. His crowning moment was successfully conducting the inaugural ICC Champions Trophy in Colombo 2002, the biggest sporting spectacle Sri Lanka had conducted at that point. Sri Lanka ended the competition in flying colours finishing as joint-champions along with India after the final was rained off.
Namal’s illustrious father himself appointed several Interim Committees. So when Namal says that the performances of the team suffered when Interim Committees were in place, he is in fact pointing figures at Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. The truth is far from that. Someone seems to be taking the Minister on a ride and the sooner he realizes that the better it is.
Sri Lanka Cricket seems to be not having too many supporters these days given the blunders they have committed in recent weeks. But Namal seems to be their biggest fan. The other day, he misled the Parliament by taking Chaminda Vaas to task for not going on the tour of West Indies conveniently forgetting several lapses on the part of the men who are running cricket.
Some stakeholders of the game have pointed it out that the term of the office bearers of SLC who were elected on the 21st February 2019 had ended on the 20th of February 2021 and are not legally entitled to hold office as they have been appointed for a period of two years.
The stakeholders have demanded that either an Interim Committee is appointed or run the affairs of SLC through a Competent Authority like the Secretary of the Ministry as it has been done on previous occasions.
However, the Minister of Sports seems to be passing the buck on claims what are actually false; like Sri Lanka performing poorly when Interim Committees are in place.
The current administration cut a pathetic figure unable to answer questions at the COPE. More sickening details are expected to be exposed when COPE summons officials again. One question that everyone seems to be wondering is how a sum of US$ 180,000 disappeared to an offshore account in Mexico and who swindled that money!
The Minister of Sports needs to get his act together and information right before he tilts at windmills.
Bombay Don hiding in Maldives
While Big Tom, 800 man and the Load of St. John’s Wood have all returned home from the neighboring country after the cash rich event abruptly ended recently, the Bombay Don has fled to Maldives instead. It is said that he is avoiding the seniors. The seniors are believed to be having an axe to grind with the Bombay Don for having used manipulative methods to keep them away from coloured clothing encounters. He cannot be hiding for too long and when he returns home all hell will break loose, seniors say.
It’s pay back time for toe-crusher
Fitness seems to be the buzz word these days and many are those who are licking their wounds unable to earn their living having failed to meet minimum standards. In that context, many are wondering the motive behind bringing the toe-crusher making startling exceptions. It is said that the
toe-crusher is the one who got Bombay Don his current job having recommended him to the richest family in the region. Now that Bombay Don is all powerful here, it is pay back time. A friend in need is a friend indeed, they say.
Why Crown Prince favours former boss?
The Crown Prince is doing all within his means to bring the former boss back to the hot seat. All logistics during international games have been given to the Crown Prince’s father-in-law by the former boss. Although many would consider it conflict of interests, the Crown Prince doesn’t think so. He has said that his father-in-law was in this business even before he had become the authority for all games. The Crown Prince has gone to the extent of backdating a gazette to save the former boss. Insiders say that having been responsible for his illustrious father’s political defeat in 2015, the Crown Prince is sealing the fate of his uncle too.
Sailors pulling out a concern
The nation had three brand new international venues after the sport’s showpiece event in 2011. With maintenance costing an arm and a leg, the authorities at that point reached an agreement to let the tri-forces look after the three stadiums. The sailors were in charge of the new ground in the hill capital and for ten years they had done a terrific job looking after it very well. However, now that the sailors had been moved out and maintenance given to a private entity, there are concerns that it will not receive the care that was once given. All in all, it was a good job by the sailors.
Kandy Mandela chases cops away
The man who was the ultimate authority on games ten years ago is politically ambitious. The name he has given himself is Kandy Mandela. (Nelson must be spinning in his grave). He had recently made a big noise claiming the famous 2011 final was fixed. But after Dubai issued a statement that they have no reason to doubt the result of the game, Kandy Mandela has been left with egg on his face. The skipper who is the Lord of St. John’s Wood now and knows his law is not taking it lying down. He wants action taken against Kandy Mandela and together with his colleagues has made a complaint to the newly established police unit that is investigating corruption in games. When cops had visited Kandy Mandela to record a statement, he had chased them away threatening them with transfer
Good job curator
The curator who was given such a hard time after the drawn first game is in good moods these days after the second game produced a result. The curator has been getting lot of criticism but he seems to have done a fair job in his role overall despite the surface receiving not so complementary rating by the game’s big bosses. Despite perceptions and appearances, the curator is said to be a good man.
Election by video conference
While many elections in games are postponed due to pandemic, those running the richest game want the election held on schedule. Efforts are underway to hold the election through video conference now. A sports body known for rigged elections and individuals voting against the mandate of the club, it remains to be seen how this year’s election will be conducted.
Oneli wins Online Under 18 Chess Championship
Oneli Vithanawasam of Lyceum International School, Wattala won the Online Under 18 Girls’ Youth Chess Championship as she scored six points to clinch the top award.
Vithanawasam played exceptionally well to beat Prasansa Premanath in the fifth round and drew with Esandi Newansa and Piyumi Uthpala in the last two rounds to finish the event with six points.
During the first four rounds she beat Hasandi Akuratiya, Miyuni Jayasinghe, Tenuli Dahamna Rathnayake and Nemindi Linaya Ramanayake. She was awarded the championship trophy and the gold medal for her outstanding feat.
Esandi Newansa of Dharmasoka College, Nemindi Linaya of Bandaranayake Central College, Veyangoda and Piyumi Uthpala of JMC International School, Kalutara were tied scoring 5.5 points. Newansa was awarded the silver as she was better in the tie breaker.
Esandi beat Sanuli Dulanya, D. T. Joachim, Chanindi Mewna, Desandhi Dhihansa and J. A. K. N. T. Indrajith and drew with Oneli Vithanawasam and lost only to Prasansa Premanath. Nemindi Linaya Ramanayake was better in the tie breaker against Piyumi Uthpala to win the bronze.
CFSL Online Under 18 Girls’ Open Youth Rapid Chess Championship 2021 conducted by the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka was held on May 8 and 9. A total of 36 players registered for the event which was conducted on seven rounds with the time control of 15 minutes and 10 seconds increment per each move played.
Final Standings of top 10 players were as follows.
1. Oneli Vithanawasam (Lyceum International, Wattala) 6.0
2. Esandi Newansa (Dharmasoka College) 5.5
3. Nemindi Ramanayake (Bandaranayake Central, Veyangoda) 5.5
4. Piyumi Uthpala Amaratunga (JMC International, Kaluthara) 5.5
5. Premanath Prasansa (Girls High School, Kandy) 5.0
6. Desandhi Dhihansa Gamage (Sirmavo Bandaranayake BV) 5.0
7. Dulinma Hemalni Rathnayake (Viharamahadevi BMV) 5.0
8. Chanindi Mewna Attanayake (Devi Balika Vidyalaya) 4.0
9. DG Jayandi Bimansa (Bandaragama Central College) 4.0
10. J A K N T Indrajith (St. Joseph’s BMV, Kegalle) 4.0
Sri Lanka cricket selection strategy and replacing the captain
Taking out Dimuth Karunarathne from captaincy needs a closer look
In the best interest of Sri Lanka cricket and its progress I thought to pen a few words regarding the recent selection purely to give confidence to all concerned and hoping that it will be treated in the best interest of the game.
We all know that cricket in Sri Lanka is the only game that our country has gained world class status of which we are very proud of. Since it is a very competitive sport in the international arena, authorities in charge have a huge task to meet the demand locally and internationally. Starting from domestic to the national level it needs very careful and professional planning. There should be no short cuts taken and a very professional approach should be taken to produce results. “Winning is not everything but winning is the only thing.” This was what the famous All Blacks coach said to his team.
Whatever the sport, all players, coaches, selectors etc. should be very committed with command presence if they are to achieve success. To achieve identified goals, to get to that level each individual has to identify his ability, weaknesses, opponent’s strength and the determination to achieve the target.
Based on my above observation I am compelled to make my assessment on the recent selection of the captain of the national cricket team for the forthcoming Bangladesh tour.
Taking out Dimuth Karunarathne from captaincy needs a closer look. After a low West Indies Tour, under his captaincy Sri Lanka did well to win a Test series after a long time, where he faired extremely well as captain and specially as a solid batsman with an impressive record. One wonders why there is a need for a change in captaincy at a time like this when Dimuth was fairing extremely well. Further, when you remove a cricketer from the international calendar for a long period it is going to affect his form and his mindset. For a sportsman to perform well one of the most important aspects is confidence, continued exposure at competitive level. If you are out of it you have to start all over again and it needs sacrifice and mental preparation which I believe is not the challenge that he should face as he has come in as captain at a very difficult time and have performed extremely well, was in the process of achieving more. If you are going to groom a captain for the forthcoming World Cup this is not the time to remove and try others as he has shown good results and proved that he is a potential, affective captain material and also one wonders how come out of form Kusal Medis is accommodated as vice-captain as his recent track record won’t qualify him even to be a member of the national team.
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