Namal’s faux pas
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.
Second ODI between New Zealand and Sri Lanka abandoned
The second ODI between New Zealand and Sri Lanka has been called off due to rain in Christchurch.
Lahiru takes five wickets as Joes take lead
Under 19 Cricket
Off-spinner Lahiru Amarasekara produced a five-wicket haul as St. Joseph’s restricted Mahinda to 127 runs on day one of the Under 19 traditional cricket encounter at Galle on Monday.
Amarasekara was ably supported by spinner Yenula Dewthusa and Muditha Dissanayake who shared the other five wickets.
With wickets falling at regular intervals, batting opener Ranmina Hettiarachchi anchored the top order with a knock of 33 runs. Chandupa de Silva with 29 runs, Tharusha Dilshan (15) and Hiruna Gallalge (17) were the only other batsmen to reach double figures.
In their essay St. Joseph’s were comfortably placed at 132 for two wickets but back-to-back wickets in the last two overs placed them at 132 for four wickets at stumps.
At Welisara, Dinuka Tennakoon took five wickets but Maris Stella managed to post 268 runs as Shean Adithya top-scored with 83 runs. In reply Trinity were nine without loss.
Vihanga Nimsara and Rasindu Ilukshana were the heroes for Moratu Vidyalaya as their half-centuries helped them score 249 runs against St. Sylvester’s at Boyagane.
At Galle: Mahinda 127, St. Joseph’s 132/4
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)
132 for 4 in 42.1 overs (Sadeesh Jayawardena 53, Naren Muralidaran 41; Shehan Hasaranga 2/39)
At Welisara: Maris Stella 268, Trinity 9/0
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)
Trinity 9 for no loss in 4 overs
At Boyagane: Moratu Vidyalaya 249, St. Sylvester’s 5/1
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)
5 for 1 in 4 overs.
Sowmiya clinches a triple crown, Silvijan bags a double
Northern Badminton Championship 2023
T. Silvijan Dalima was crowned men’s singles champion while S. Sowmiya clinched a triple crown at the Northern Badminton Championship 2023 in Kilinochchi during the weekend.
At the Provincial Indoor Stadium in Kilinochchi, Silvijan met K Thusan in the final clash in which the latter retired in the second set with scores reading 21-14, 16-11 in favour of the champion. L Hentry and K Kajan were the losing semi-finalists.
Meanwhile, S. Sowmiya won all three of her open events, the women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles with respective partners.
Sowmiya clinched the women’s singles crown with a 21-15, 21-13 win over R. Ragavi in the final following her doubles title win with B. Oliviya. Sowmiya and Oliviya overcame Athmika and M. Kavinaya 21-9, 21-15 to seal the women’s doubles crown.
Earlier, Sowmiya and Silvijan, the best singles duo in the tournament, also won the mixed doubles title by defeating R. Sulacsan and S . Thanojana 21-12, 21-16 in the final.
The men’s doubles final was won by L. R. Reminsan and T. Thusyanthan who beat G. Thanukanth and R. Yuthakaran with a 21-13, 21-9 score line.
The tournament, organised by the Northern Province Badminton Association, was conducted under the guidance of Sri Lanka Badminton (SLB). SLB President Rohan de Silva and a host of top officials were among the special guests at the presentation ceremony.
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