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Resumption of international cricket;

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The Sri Lankan players have already resumed training with a squad of 23 players for the Bangladesh series.(ICC)

ball on Health Ministry court  

 

by Rex Clementine

 

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has made an appeal to Health Ministry to relax safety guidelines in a bid to resume international cricket in the island. Bangladesh’s three Test tour to the country is in serious doubt after the tourists raised objections against the two week quarantine requirement on arrival. SLC had taken great efforts to resume international cricket but strict guidelines by the Health Ministry has left them in quandary.

After discussions between SLC chief Shammi Silva and Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa, SLC formally wrote to Health Ministry asking of the possibilities of relaxed quarantine guidelines. Bangladesh had requested for a seven day quarantine period and then to start training in a ‘bubble’ as per the guidelines followed by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) who successfully hosted Test series against West Indies and Pakistan this summer. 

While SLC were hoping for a positive response, board officials said that they will have to accept verdict off the health officials without inserting further pressure as they realized the concerns that had been raised.  Bangladesh is one of the high risk countries in the region with the  pandemic creating havoc.  

Another issue that has been discussed is how many players that Bangladesh can bring on tour. Initially, the tourists had wanted to bring in 65 individuals with them that included the Test squad, the High Performance team and the support staff. However, Health Ministry had approved only 30 individuals at one moment. SLC was now requesting whether that number could be increased to 35.

SLC is also worried that their requests for leniency may set precedence with others entities too requesting for similar protocol. The board was willing to bear the brunt of a financial crisis even at the danger of not hosting any further international cricket at all for the rest of the year.

SLC has missed out on several bilateral cricket series this year. Tours by India, South Africa and England have been already postponed to next year and now the Bangladesh series which was originally scheduled in July is in danger. SLC was also scheduled to host this year’s Asia Cup.

The board had identified Pallekele and SSC as the venues to host the Tests.  While the former was scheduled to host the first two games, the last Test was slotted for Colombo.



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Sri Lanka looking for consolation win over Dutch

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Wanidu

Rex Clementine in Miami

Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign ended in bitter disappointment even before they departed to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia on Thursday. Their game on Sunday against the Netherlands is a dead rubber, but pride is at stake against the Dutch.

It’s been a campaign filled with hurt and disappointment for a team that had done reasonably well in white ball cricket this year. Sri Lanka simply failed to get going in the World Cup the moment Wanindu Hasaranga won the toss and opted to bat against South Africa.

It has been discussed over and over again how the team set themselves bigger totals and failed to realize that US wickets weren’t going to produce high scoring games.

Another issue that has gone unnoticed is how bowling let the side down. True, bowlers did well to put up a fight defending below par totals, but the 12 wides bowled in the Bangladesh game was costly. Apart from the runs, it obviously means that they sent down two additional overs due to the excessive amount of wides and the second game was lost with an over to spare. Then, obviously, the number of full tosses that were sent down during crucial stages of the game was a bitter pill to swallow.

The team’s strategy of banking on just two quicks didn’t work and perhaps the addition of Dushmantha Chameera may have helped them although the games were lost with batting.

While the selectors expressed confidence that they have enough fire power to clear boundaries, a requirement in T-20 cricket, it was evident that the batters chosen for the 20-nation competition weren’t capable of executing the big hits.

Wanindu Hasaranga had promoted himself up the order and had done quite well in his role as a ‘floater’ but he was a flop during the World Cup picking consecutive ducks.

Hasaranga’s handling game situations too has a lot to be desired, especially his bowling changes. Nuwan Thushar looked to be the most threatening of all bowlers against Bangladesh. The captain instead of holding onto his overs to be used in the death overs exhausted all his four overs and was forced to rely on Dasun Shanaka to send down the penultimate over. The Sri Lankan captain has much to learn from the likes of Rohit Sharma. The Indian captain used Jasprit Bumrah superbly during the epic clash against arch-rivals Pakistan.

When Sri Lanka lost the warm-up game to Netherlands all lead bowlers had been rested. You would expect all of them to be on show for Sunday’s game.

Conditions in St. Lucia might tempt the team to back the two-spin combination, but it will be tough to leave out Chameera after back to back losses. He was expected to play the Nepal game which was rained out in Florida.

Sri Lanka’s players were left stranded in Florida due to the floods. They were expected to fly out from Fort Lauderdale airport on Wednesday evening, but due to torrential rain and subsequent floods they were unable to leave their hotel rooms. They were expected to fly out to St. Lucia at 8:30 pm on Thursday on a chartered flight.

Their luggage had been already dispatched to the airport on Wednesday so the players had to live on the stuff that were there on their hand luggages.St. Lucia is a tiny Caribbean island that has a population of 180,000. The size of St. Lucia is 617 square kilometers but the country has its own Prime Minister and currency; East Caribbean Dollar.

St. Lucia is not a stronghold of West Indian cricket like Barbados, Antigua, Guyana or Trinidad. The only notable cricket from there is former captain Darren Sammy. In fact, the cricket ground in St. Lucia is named after him.

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Chamari Athapaththu ICC Women’s Player of the Month for May 2024

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Chamari Athapaththu

Chamari Athapaththu has won the ICC Women’s Player of the Month award for a second time, after the Sri Lanka star beat a hot field to claim the coveted award for May 2024.Athapaththu edged out strong opposition from Scotland captain Kathryn Bryce and England’s Sophie Ecclestone for the monthly gong, adding the title for May to the monthly award she also won in September last year.

The all-rounder is already established as a modern-day great as Sri Lanka’s highest run-getter in both white-ball formats and the 34-year-old was at her brilliant best during last month’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier 2024 where she finished the event as the leading run-scorer.

After a relatively indifferent start to the tournament, she came into her own during the business end of the event, smashing a top-notch century in the final to give Sri Lanka the title and help the island nation earn their place at this year’s ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.

In her four games during the month of May, Athapaththu scored 151 runs at an average of 37.75 and was equally as impressive with the ball as she picked up six scalps at merely 9.16 runs per wicket.

Athapaththu was thrilled to have won the award again and the Sri Lanka captain paid special tribute to both Bryce and Ecclestone for their achievement during the month.

“I am extremely delighted and honoured to once again receive the ICC Women’s Player of the Month Award, and wish to mention that continuous recognition at this level keeps me motivated to further up my game and continue the good performance,” she said.

“I wish to mention here that, both Kathryn (Bryce) and Sophie (Ecclestone) are also two exceptionally talented players with a proven record and wish them the very best, whilst I thank my teammates for their support given to me in this endeavour.”

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National team set sail to 3rd Langkawi Youth Sailing Championship in Malaysia

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From left to Right: Minuga Hettigamage, Yusef Hazari, Randira Hangarangoda, Saditha Gamage, Anuda Silva, Sarath Kurgama (COO of YASL), Shemal Fernando (Director General of Sports), Mr. V. Satsorupan (Team Manager), Omar Hazari, Sakindu Denipitiya, Luqmaan Aneeq, Binal Perera (Absent Taalya Tranchell, Haren Wickramatilaka)

The Sri Lanka Junior National Sailing team are ready to set sail at one of the biggest youth sailing events – the 3rd Langkawi Youth Sailing Championship 2024 in Malaysia, from June 19 to June 23.The 11-member team comprising of nine students from Royal College and one each from S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, and Ladies College were scheduled to leave for Malaysia (on 16 June) to participate in the prestigious event.

Minuga Hettigamage, Randira Hangarangoda, Binal Perera and Luqmaan Aneeq from Royal College and Haren Wickramatilaka from S. Thomas’ College will represent the Optimist Class.

Yusef Hazari and Saditha Gamage will race in the ILCA 4 category, while Omar Hazari and Taalya Tranchell will race ILCA 6. Anuda Silva and Sakindu Denipitiya will take on ILCA 7. The team will be accompanied by National Coach Krishan Janaka and the ILCA National Coach Roshil Nisantha with Varunanathan Satsorupen as manager.

“Sailing has been an integral part of Sri Lanka through the ages and we are keen on promoting the sport, as this is an island nation with the perfect conditions. We have no doubt that our young sailors will continue to shine on international waters,” said the Director General of Sports, Shemal Fernando.

Kicking off on 19 June, the Lankans will compete against some of the world’s top racers from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Cambodia, Myanmar and Hong-Kong. The Sri Lankan team also boast of seasoned sailors including Taalya Tranchell of Ladies College, who represented Sri Lanka at the last Asian Games, and three times national champ Yusef Hazari of Royal College, as well as several other national podium winners.

Sailors under 21 will, race their boat classes including the Optimist, ILCA 4, ILCA 6, ILCA 7, International 420, 29ER and Windsurfing classes.

“The junior national sailing team has been training hard for this championship, and we have no doubt that they will bring back glory to Sri Lanka,” said Sarath Kuragama, the Chief Operating Officer of the Yachting Association of Sri Lanka, the national sailing body of the country.

The Youth Sailing Championship is an offshoot of the Langkawi International Regatta Perdana, the Prime Cup, which is a world ranking event on its 21st year.

“The Junior Championship evolved from the main event, and our intention was to provide a platform for young sailors to shine,” said Mohamed Afendi Abdullah, Chairman of the event and International Racing Officer. “We intent on providing the best championship that’s fair to all and want our sailors to enjoy Langkawi.”

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