by Reemus Fernando
Former Sri Lanka national player Naveed Nawaz has been involved in coaching Under-19 national players for more than a decade now. Some of the players who were under him when he was the coach of the Sri Lanka Under-19 team are now competing in the ICC T20 World Cup. In Bangladesh, he had immense success when the team he coached went on to become the Youth World Cup champions at the last edition. Some of the players he coached in that team too have gone on to represent the country at the senior national level. His success with the Bangladesh Under-19 team has earned him accolades and a worthy job extension beyond the upcoming Youth World Cup. However, Nawaz is not with the Bangladesh Under-19 team currently touring Sri Lanka. He is in Australia attending to a family matter but is confident that his charges will be well looked after by his staff during the five-match series starting on Friday.
In an interview with The Island, the former Sri Lanka Under-19 coach compared and contrasted the challenges in the two countries where junior players come from two different structures.
“If you compare the Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi Under-19 systems the player turn out in the Bangladesh Under-19 programme is much less than the Sri Lankan Under-19 programme. Due to the strong school cricket structure in Sri Lanka, there is a good player turnout and a bigger pool of players to select from. In Bangladesh, the numbers are lesser than that. The number of players we pick the Under-19 team from is much less. I would consider it as a disadvantage because sometimes you are restricted to a lesser number of players. Some challengers like the variety of players that you are looking for are really not there. But due to the strong Club Cricket system in Bangladesh and also the Provincial Cricket system in Bangladesh a lot of players at a very early age get exposed to playing First and Second Division cricket. They play a lot of cricket with senior players. That is a great experience. Obviously, that is an advantage when you are playing against an Under-19 team. Nevertheless, any Under-19 system is a difficult area to work with because the continuation of the player pool is not there. At Under-19 level we get new players coming in every two years. It is not that you build a certain squad and you get an opportunity to work with them until they grow and mature into an international cricketer. Every two years you are turning the squad around and get fresh players coming into the squad. You are basically repeating a programme every two years
Asked what impact the Youth World Cup victory by Bangladesh Under-19 had on his coaching career he had this to say. “The Youth World Cup win had a massive impact on me personally. The first thing for me was the reality that the programme that I put across for the two-year period had worked really well and the players have responded well to the programme which was satisfying. The programme had been running for two years. It was not only winning a World Cup (which was satisfying), but also for a team from Bangladesh to do really well in England as well as New Zealand. I think that was the main thing that paved the way for us to move on and win a World Cup in South Africa. It was a massive achievement for an Asian team. It is not like winning a World Cup in the subcontinent. Our players played really well, batted and bowled exceptionally well competing against the best cricketing systems in the world on fast bouncy wickets in South Africa. The World Cup win had a massive impact on my reputation as a coach.”
In comparison to the Sri Lanka Under-19 team who commenced training recently, the Bangladesh Under-19 tram had spent a year together though their training had been inconsistent due to the Covid 19 pandemic. “We started training in October 2020. But training could not continue regularly. Some of our camps got disrupted due to lockdowns and Covid 19 outbreak and various issues due to the pandemic. There were various tours planned by the Bangladesh Cricket Board. But they got cancelled.
“Training got affected in a massive way. Almost three or four of our camps got disrupted due to the Covid 19 outbreak and lockdowns in Bangladesh. BCB had planned tours to Pakistan and England. Both got cancelled. They could not be rescheduled due to worldwide issues from travel issues to biosecurity issues. Like any other country. It was a big blow,” said Nawaz commenting on the impact the Covid 19 pandemic had on the team’s preparation for the Youth World Cup.
Shooting the Messenger
by Rex Clementine
History is full of instances where the messenger who brings the bad news face dire consequences. Many kings over the years have adopted this tactic in ancient times and rulers in the modern democracy are no different. Roshan Ranasinghe suffered a similar fate hours after revealing shocking details of corruption in Parliament as he was removed from his post as Minister of Sports, Youth Affairs and Irrigation.
The suspension that the international Cricket Council has imposed on Sri Lanka Cricket and shifting of next year’s Under-19 World Cup from Colombo to Johannesburg may have gone against the Polonnaruwa District MP.
But, what about the gentlemen who requested the ICC to suspend Sri Lanka Cricket? One is intrigued. Government appointed bodies have run cricket in places like Pakistan, South Africa and Afghanistan in recent times, but they were not penalized. So why Sri Lanka? Well, the reason being that it was SLC’s Executive Committee that asked the ICC Board to authorize the suspension. So, if Ranasinghe can be sacked for Sri Lanka’s suspension, should not the guys who requested the suspension suffer a similar fate?
It must be recalled that this Executive Committee of SLC has survived because a son of a VVIP Podujana Peramuna Politician protected their backs and went to the extent of issuing a back dated letter saving their skins. Those who sought political intervention then are now complaining when the tide has turned against them.
The trend in cricket circles is to get hold of the Sports Minister as soon as he is appointed and to keep him happy. Barring Mangala Samaraweera, Naveen Dissanayake and Dullas Alahapperuma all Sports Minister in the last 20 years have played ball with the cricket establishment.
Roshan Ranasinghe took them on and learned a bitter lesson. However, he should not feel disappointed. All right-minded Sri Lankans have appreciated his courage to speak against what is wrong and put cricket back on track. Sadly, we are living in times where clean men are sent home and crooks go places.
Cricket of course is not covering itself in glory. In the last three years, the national cricket team has played three Qualifying Round Tournaments. Sri Lanka finished ninth in the recent World Cup and are out of the Champions Trophy. The sport has been mismanaged and there is an urgent need for change. Sadly, the cricket bosses are friends with some powerful men in government circles and sport may well suffer more humiliations moving forward.
The government is also toying with public anger. There is disappointment in every Sri Lankan for the manner in which the national cricket team has performed in recent past and discipline among players has eroded beyond repair. Authorities seem not to care.
The Easter Sunday carnage and UNP’s inability to prevent it in 2019 brought them a humiliating defeat in the last General Elections. Such was public anger that the UNP wasn’t able to win a single seat and had to settle for one national list seat.
Messing up the cricket and playing ball with gentlemen who have brought the sport to its knees is going to bring far worse consequences to the ‘Grand Old Party’.
Lumbini encounter formidable Thurstan
Under 19 Division 1 Tier B Limited Overs Cricket Final
Thurstan had to be content with the runner up title when they appeared in the final at the last edition. They will be looking forward to make amends when they take on Lumbini in the Under 19 Division I Tier ‘B’ Limited Overs Tournament final at the Surrey Village ground Maggona today.
Thurstan captained by Vihas Thewmika took sweet revenge against defending champions St. Peter’s in the semi-final after edging out Dharmaraja in the quarter-final. After conceding defeat at the hands of Lumbini in the group stage Thurstan will be eager to defy them in the final.
On the other hand, Lumbini captained by Sahan Kaushalya are seeking their first title in two decades.
After reaching the knockout stage as the runners up to Thurstan in their group Lumbini eliminated St. Aloysius’ and Ananda to secure the final spot.
Vihas Thewmika (Captain), Shanikya Deshapriya, Navindu Fernando, Thanuga Palihawadana, Vidath Balsooriya, Thanuja Rajapakshe, Ramika Sonal, Gagana Perera, Minuga Jathunga, Thalisha Nanayakkara, Rachintha de Silva, Rison Jansen, Yovun Silpa, Adithya Isuranga, Sethru Fernando, Vishwa Dhananjaya, Lasindu Punsara, Mulitha De Costa, Pathum Dananjaya, Nethupul Lasanda, Harith Shalaka Thiwantha, Dinul Perera.
Malaka Jayasinghe (Master in Charge), Tharindu Karunarathne (Sports Coordinator), Suneth Gunathilake (Head Coach), Heshan Thilakarathne (Asst coach), Sonal Elwalage (Asst. Coach), Rusira Munasinghe (Asst. Coach)
Sahan Kaushalya (Captain), Gihan Lakshitha, Nisal Madhushan, Binuja Pramodya, Dinitha Prabhanka, Ashan Shanilka, Ushan Sathsara, Praveen Maneesha, Yuran Sandika,Yashod Kavindu, Vishwa Bandara, Subashith Dinudika, Janindu Lahiru, Nabeel Rajudeen, Dumindu Sewmina, Ishath Dilshan, Bahsika Sethmina, Dinal Sewmina, Pasindu Maneesha.
Panduka De Silva (Master in Charge), Dinesh Weerasinghe (Head Coach), Lalanga Rajapaksha (Asst. Coach)
Sports Minister claims that his life is at risk
Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe, speaking in Parliament today (27) claimed that his life was at risk and that the President and the Chief of Presidential Staff will have to be held responsible in the event anything should happen to him.
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