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RCB rope in Hasaranga and Chameera for IPL



The Sri Lankan pair of Wanindu Hasaranga and Dushmantha Chameera, as well as Australia’s Singapore-born Tim David, have joined Royal Challengers Bangalore for the second part of IPL 2021. The franchise has also zeroed in on George Garton, the left-arm quick who played a major part in Southern Brave becoming the first-ever champions of the Hundred. ESPNcricinfo understands that Garton’s inclusion is only pending approval from the IPL governing council.

While those are the additions, some players will be missed too: New Zealanders Finn Allen and Scott Kuggeleijn, and the Australians Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams and Adam Zampa.

That aside, there’s been a change at the top among the coaching staff, with Simon Katich stepping down from his position as head coach, and Mike Hesson, at present the director of cricket operations, taking on the additional responsibility of filling in for Katich.

“Some significant changes in our playing squad, from an overseas perspective, due to player unavailability and, indeed, a reshaping of our overseas contingent,” Hesson explained in a press interaction on Saturday. “Finn Allen and Scott Kuggeleijn have been selected for New Zealand tours, and they won’t be part of RCB. Kane Richardson has made himself unavailable, as has Daniel Sams, so the balance of our squad has changed dramatically. So we have obviously gone about making purchases during the replacement window, which opened up about four or five days ago. A lot of preparation has gone into that.”

Hasaranga coming on board is the big news on that front. The 24-year-old legspin-bowling allrounder has been making heads turn in recent times, and certainly made an impression, especially with the ball, when India went to Sri Lanka in July for a limited-overs series, with a three-for in the second ODI and seven wickets – including a 4 for 9 – to top the bowling charts in the three T20Is. At the end of that series, Hasaranga was placed second among T20I bowlers in the ICC rankings.

“One thing we can say is we have replaced Adam Zampa with Wanindu Hasaranga. Certainly delighted to have Hasaranga on board,” Hesson said. “He gives us some balance, obviously from a wristspin point of view and also plenty of batting capability.”

Chameera has also been among the wickets in what is a second coming of sorts for him in international cricket, with a bagful of wickets in England in June and then against India at home. As for David, apart from being among the runs in the Big Bash League, he had a good feel of the conditions in the subcontinent during his time with the Lahore Qalandars, scoring 180 runs at an average of 45 and a strike rate of 166.66 in PSL 2021.

“Chameera, another [from] the Sri Lankan contingent, he is bowling extremely well at the moment. I know him well, having coached against him. He’s got genuine pace and also his white-ball game has developed significantly over the last few years,” Hesson said. “With Finn Allen leaving, we have decided to strengthen our middle-order possibilities, in terms of options, so Tim David has joined our squad.

“He is currently part of the Southern Brave [at the Hundred], he has been performing for Surrey and also Hobart Hurricanes in recent times – a power player who could become a straight swap for either [Glenn] Maxwell or AB de Villiers if required, also gives us other options throughout the order.

“We also have one [more] spot to fill, which we will be looking to do in the coming days. Yeah, it’s been a busy period of time to be able to get that squad together, but delighted with the group we’ve got. Wanindu, Chameera and Tim David are certainly some high-quality players that will add to the likes of AB de Villiers, Glenn Maxwell, Kyle Jamieson and Daniel Christian. So that’s seven of our eight overseas contingent.”

Katich steps down because of

“personal reasons”

Along with the tweaks in playing personnel, there was also the big update – though Rajesh Menon, vice president and team head, called it a “small change” – about Katich, who had replaced Gary Kirsten as head coach after the 2019 season.

“Simon Katich, the head coach of RCB, has decided to step down as on date, mainly due to personal reasons, and we, as management, support his decision and completely back him on this,” Menon said. “As per the [franchise’s] business continuity plan, Mike Hesson will step in and discharge the duties of head coach until end of this tournament.”

Team to reach Dubai on August 29

With the squad members (mostly) identified, it’s time to get the travel schedule in place. While captain Virat Kohli and pacer Mohammed Siraj are in England for the ongoing Test series and will follow the national team’s schedule, the rest will leave for the UAE – RCB will be put up in Dubai – on August 29, some from India, and the rest from wherever they are stationed at the time.

“The Indian players, minus the players in England, support staff and the team management, will be assembling in Bangalore today. Following which, we will undergo a seven-day quarantine in Bangalore, and we will have three Covid tests during this seven-day quarantine,” Menon said. “The team will depart via chartered flight on August 29, in the afternoon. Once we land in the UAE, again we will have a six-day hard quarantine, and the testing protocol as per BCCI.

“As for the overseas players and support staff, they will be coming in on August 29 and they will also undergo six days of quarantine there. Once we are all clear, we will be on the field and we will have a clear practice schedule which Mike and the [coaching] team will draw up.”

The second leg of the IPL will begin in the UAE on September 19. RCB will resume their season on September 20, against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

The Royal Challengers have been one of the most followed teams in the IPL over the years, and have made the final four on six occasions, finishing runners-up in 2009, 2011 and 2016. After that last second-place finish, though, they had a terrible run, finishing eighth, sixth and eighth – among eight teams – before bouncing back in 2020, when they finished fourth.

This year has been a pleasant change. Before the positive Covid-19 cases in a number of team set-ups forced the authorities to postpone IPL 2021 (and, later, move it to the UAE), the Royal Challengers had won five of their seven games, and were in third place – behind the Delhi Capitals and the Chennai Super Kings.

Hesson said the key for the team, in their bid to keep up the good run of results, would be to “reaffirm the key components of why we were successful; things didn’t just happen by accident, we were able to have the right people performing the right roles at key times.”

While the 2014 edition of the IPL was also split between the UAE and India because of the general elections that year, this is the first instance of the tournament being interrupted by a gap of more than four months. Disruptive for the teams, yes, but as Hesson agreed, a chance to reboot and sort out whatever flaws might be there.

“When sides have looked at the replacement window, they would have looked at the conditions that we are likely to face in the UAE, and even within the three venues (Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah), there are some subtle differences there. I guess it gives you a chance to reflect and just reconfigure the structure of your side, whether that’s a change in balance or in personnel or match-ups,” Hesson said. “Every side has just had a chance to make sure they know the conditions well and they have selected a squad that’s going to give them the best chance, and we’re certainly no different.” (ESPN)


Chameera and Hasaranga to miss Oman T-20s due to IPL



by Rex Clementine

Sri Lankan cricketers Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga will miss Sri Lanka’s tour of Oman next month due to their IPL commitments. The two Sri Lankans are with Royal Challengers Bangalore and they have been given clearance to remain with the franchise till 10th October.

Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur told The Island he had no issues in the players missing the two games in Oman.

“It’s a great opportunity for them and I have not raised any objections. They will join the team on the 10th of October and be ready for the first warm-up game on the 12th of October,” Arthur said.

The IPL was suspended in May due to the rise of COVID cases within the bubble with still 31 matches remaining. The tournament will resume in UAE on Sunday and will finish on the 15th of October, just before the ICC T-20 World Cup.

Sri Lanka will play two T-20 Internationals in Oman on the 7th and 9th of October and then travel to UAE to play warm-up games ahead of the World Cup. The two players are expected to join the team in UAE.

RCB have seven games left in the competition and will take on Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday. Their last league game is on the 8th October.

RCB are currently third in the table with ten points behind Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings.

If they make the plays offs, the tournament will go beyond 10th October. If necessary, RCB will ask clearance from SLC to have them in the franchise set up and the board is unlikely to object as Sri Lanka’s first game in the World Cup is on the 18th of October. The IPL final is scheduled on the 15th of October.

No Sri Lankan had been picked for this year’s IPL at the start of the season, but after Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa and left-arm quick Daniel Sams pulled out, the franchise signed up the two Sri Lankans for the remainder of the competition. Both Chameera and Hasaranga had done well when India visited Colombo for a bilateral series last month.

Meanwhile, SLC has agreed to a request by the national selection panel to carry five additional players to UAE in case of injuries. Kusal Perera is doubtful for the World Cup and Lahiru Madushanka has been ruled out. SLC will bear the additional costs for the extra players.

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CFSL ready to organize its biggest Online Chess Championship 



Western Asian Youth Chess Championship 2021 

Sri Lanka has the luxury of fielding a World Champion in their team when the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL) organizes the Western Asian Online Youth Chess Championships from 18 to 20 September on the Tornelo Platform.

Ferguson High School, Ratnapura player Oshini Devindya Gunawardena, who won the Under-10 title of the FIDE Online Youth Chess Cup 2021 recently, is among some 300 participants fielded by Sri Lanka.

Luxman Wijesuriya, the president of the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka said that his federation was ready to organize the biggest Asian Online Event, the Western Asian Online Youth Chess Championships and the event which is conducted by the Asian Chess Federation has attracted more than 1000 players from 14 Western Asian Countries.

The event open for girls and boys will be held under six age categories, namely, the Under 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18. The Asian Chess Federation has categorized, South Asia, Arab and Russian-speaking countries of Asia as Western Asian Countries. More than 1000 players from the region have fielded their entries to participate in the event.

India has fielded the biggest contingent of 378 players while Sri Lanka field more than 300 players. Iran has entered a team of 161 players. Other countries registered for participation are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Oman, Kuwait, Palestine, Jordan and UAE. One player is joining under FIDE, the World Chess Federation flag.

Sri Lanka team includes players who excelled at recently held online competitions and at the CFSL Online Youth Chess Championship 2021.

The Championships will be conducted on the Swiss System in nine rounds, having three games a day. The Newly approved FIDE Online Chess regulations will be followed and the time control will be 15 minutes a side with 10 seconds increment for each and every move played. Only the laptop/desktop computers are allowed to be used while all games will be closely monitored by the arbiters via zoom. Players will be switching on two cameras during the competition. According to CFSL one camera (Webcam) will monitor the player while the other will observe his or her surroundings.

The Virtual Opening Ceremony will be held at 11.00 a.m via Zoom on Saturday. Namal Rajapakse, the Minister of Sports is expected to participate as the Chief Guest with Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nehyan, the President of Asian Chess Federation.

The CFSL will be awarding attractive cash rewards to the Sri Lankan players who win medals of any colour.

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Wheelchair tennis team to leave for World Team Cup on Saturday 



The Sri Lanka Wheelchair Tennis team led by Tokyo Paralympian Suresh Dharmasena will leave for the World Team Cup on Saturday.

The BNP Paribas World Team Cup is the premier team competition for Wheelchair Tennis with four qualifiers and two wildcards joining the top ten teams in the world for the 16 nation competition being held in Sardinia, Italy.

Great Britain, France, Japan, Argentina, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, USA, Korea Rep. and Brazil are the top ten teams.

When the Team Cup qualification event was held in May, Sri Lanka beat Croatia 3-0 in the quarter-finals to be in the last four alongside Israel, Greece and Poland but was beaten by Israel in the semi finals.

In the qualifying event Gamini Dissanayake beat Croatia’s Sven Maretic 6-0, 6–2, while Suresh Dharmasena beat Anto Joskic 6-2, 6-0, before joining Lasantha Ranaweera to oust Anto Joskic and Sven Maretic 6-0, 6-0 in the doubles.

The World Team Cup will be held from October 4-10.

The Sri Lanka Tennis Association said that the team were engaged in final preparations at Green Path, ahead of their departure to Europe. The team comprising of Suresh Dharmasena (ITF Rank #64), DM Gamini (#81) Lasantha Ranaweera (#85) have been undergoing specialist training under coaches Jagath Welikala and Guyanga Weerasekera since July.

The Wheelchair Tennis Program is a project run by the Sri Lanka Tennis Association initiated in 2002. The project is overseen by the President of SLTA Iqbal bin Issack, General Secretary Pradeep Goonasekera, VP Wheelchair Tennis Major General Shiran Abeysekera and principal sponsor Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT).

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