by Rex Clementine
Anybody who attempts to scoop Kagiso Rabada’s first ball – a thunderbolt clocked at 150 kmph – over the wicketkeeper’s head must be out of his mind; unless he is Niroshan Dickwella. This was not on the slow surfaces of Dambulla or Suriyawewa, but at The Wanderers, a fast bowler’s paradise. Dickwella with his fearless approach and cheeky batting should be a must in the ODI team but in Sri Lanka he is a Test match specialist. His last ODI was more than two years ago – in March 2019.
It was confirmed that Dickwella will be snubbed during the Bangladesh ODIs as well after captain Kusal Janith Perera admitted that he will keep wickets. But here’s are a few points for the selectors and Head Coach Mickey Arthur to ponder.
Dickwella has cemented his place in the Test team and more recently has shown maturity as well. He’s been so good with the bat that in 2021, he’s the sixth highest run getter in the world in Tests.
Not that Dickwella has suddenly transformed himself as a Test batsman. He has cut down a few high risk shots but still provides entertainment. Sri Lanka from a few shaky positions have gone onto consolidate thanks to Dickwella whose biggest strength is not being afraid to play shots. He is someone who is quickly able to put pressure back on the bowlers.
When he is able to pull off such tricks in a format where there are few fielding restrictions, imagine what he is capable of doing when restrictions are on. To be fair, Dickwella’s best returns have come in ODI cricket as he has scored two hundreds and nine fifties in 49 innings at an average of 32 and strike rate of 93. Well, true, it’s nowhere near M.S. Dhoni class who averaged 50 in ODIs.
Dickwella is pretty good with his glove work too. Is he the finish product yet? Of course not! Someone needs to sit down with Dickwella and have a long chat on a few things. Let’s start with reviews. The wicketkeeper’s input is so valuable in reviews and Dickwella misleads his captain. The expert opinion of Dickwella during reviews should be taken with a pinch of salt, very much like input of the nation’s intelligence chief during the Yahapalana regime. Both are flawed, highly.
When England whitewashed Sri Lanka 3-0 in 2018, Dickwella’s reviews were outrageous. At occasions he had exhausted all reviews before the team’s best bowler – Rangana Herath had come onto the attack. Impulsive and immature, Dickwella has never learned and it has reached a point where the captain doesn’t trust him anymore.
Still, he’s got to be part of the ODI side. He is fearless to the extent that he does some crazy stuff. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread they say. Dickwella is like the fool who is willing to go any distance just for the sake of winning.
His infamous fight with Virat Kohli in Calcutta in 2017 surprisingly earned the Indian captain’s applause. “I like to see that character. I liked that competitiveness on the field. He is a very feisty character and that works for his game. Credit for him for maintaining that and I am sure he will do many good things in Sri Lankan cricket,” Kohli said.
In that same series, in Delhi, Sri Lanka were battling to save the Test match. Entering into the last hour, they had an outside chance to win – requiring 110 runs in 15 overs. Dickwella urged his partner Roshen Silva to have a crack but the senior opted to play it safe.
Sri Lanka were 1-0 down in the series. Dickwella’s attitude was to square the series and in the process if the team ended up losing 2-0 tough luck. Here’s a guy who plays to win. You need chaps like that moving forward.
KJP has already got too much on his plate. This is a young side. He has to lead from front and why take up the additional burden of keeping wickets too. Let him give it to the nation’s best wicketkeeper – Dickwella.
We are yet to see Dickwella’s best – both cricket skills and madness. Sometimes madness is required to get under the skin of someone like Virat Kohli. Not often does the Indian captain get into an ugly altercation with an opponent and then praises him.
Savinka, Rashmi win U-19 singles titles
38th National Junior Badminton Championships
Savinaka Weerasekera of D.S. Senanayake College and Rashmi Mudalige of Gateway International School emerged Under-19 boys’ and girls’ champions respectively while Pulina Wellalage of St. Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa clinched a triple crown at the 38th National Junior Badminton Championships held in Colombo.
At the annual event conducted by Sri Lanka Badminton in association with Sri Lanka Schools Badminton Association, Weerasekera defeated Jason Homer of the Royal Institute International School 21-11, 21-11 in the Under-19 boys’ singles final at the Sugathadasa Indoor Sports Complex.
Weerasekera then teamed up with Homer to beat Ashinsa Herath and Vidusha Sumanadasa of Royal College 21-18, 21-16 to win the doubles title in the same age group.
In the Under-19 girls’ singles final, Rashmi Mudalige beat Ondi Sethuki (Southland’s College, Galle) 16-21, 21-14, 21-14.
Mudalige also secured her second title when she teamed up with young badminton sensation Wellalage to defeat Shenuk Samararatne and Sithuki Onadee 17-21, 21-19, 21-19 and win the U-19 mixed doubles final.
In the U-19 girls’ doubles final, Thisuni Liyanarachchi and Lawandi Umagiliyage of Sangamitta College, Galle, denied Mudalige a third title when they defeated the latter and her Gateway College partner Natasha Gunasekara 21-15, 21-18 in the final.
Meanwhile, Wellalage, the younger brother of national cricketer Dunith, beat Thilina Rajakaruna in straight sets (21-10, 21-16) to win the U-17 boys’ singles title, his second in the Championships.
Wellalage’s Triple Crown was completed when he and partner Shenuk Samararatne defeated Sanjula Handapangoda and Thilina Rajakaruna 21-13, 18-21, 25-23 in an all-Sebastianites Boys’ U-17 doubles final.
Meanwhile, the young national shuttle sensation Ranithma Liyanage of the Christ Church College, Baddegama, who later went on to be crowned national Champion, defeated her Girls’ U-17 singles opponent Ranumi Manage (Musaeus College) in the final with ease (21-2, 21-13).
The presentation ceremony was held with Director General of Sports Development, Amal Edirisuriya as the chief guest in the presence of Sri Lanka Badminton President Rohan de Silva, SLB officials and former players.
Winners and Runners-up
Under 11 Boys Singles
Prithish Abeygunawardena (Richmond), Runner-up – Nesandu Hapukotuwa (Dharmaraja)
Under 11 Girls Singles
Gajali Padmabandara (St. Anthony’s Girls, Katugastota), Second Runner-up – Sanumi Metsara (Musaeus)
Under 13 Boys Singles
– Hasandu Fernando (St Sebastian’s, Moratuwa), Runner-up – Amawan Amarasinghe (Panadura Lyceum)
Under 13 Girls Singles
Fatima Amani (Hill Country Girls, Kandy), Runner-up – Thenuki De Silva (Siridhamma College)
Under 13 Boys Doubles
Duvindu Edirisinghe/ Satsara Pubudu (St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa), Runners-up – Tenuja Galahitiawa/ Satish Avishka (St. Anthony’s, Katugastota)
Under 13 Girls Doubles
Fatima Amani/ Netsara Yenuri (Hill Country Girls/ Sujatha Girls, Nugegoda), Runners-up – Inuki Bandara/ Divyadharani Dayaratne (Musaeus/ Lyceum, Wattala)
Under 15 Boys Singles
Tejana Herath (St. Anthony’s Katugastota), Runner-up – Senut Sethmina (Ananda College)
Under 15 Girls Singles
– Viswani Vanniarachchi (Gateway International), Runner-up – Lakshya Sajeevakumar (Lyceum Wattala)
Under 15 Boys Doubles
Janeesha De Silva/ Mihila Jayaweera (St. Joseph’s/ Wattala Lyceum), Runners-up – Akash Shamal/ Tejana Herath (St. Anthony’s Katugastota)
Under 15 Girls Doubles
Sanuti Gurusinghe/ Pavani Ileperuma (Sanghamitta Galle), Runners-up – Dihini Mendis/ Lakshya Sajeevakumar (Southland Galle/ Wattala Lyceum)
Under 17 Boys Singles
Pulina Wellalage (St. Sebastian’s Moratuwa), Runner-up – Thilina Rajakaruna (St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa)
Under 17 Girls Singles
Ranithma Liyanage (Christ Church Girls, Baddegama), Runner-up – Ranumi Manage (Musaeus)
Under 17 Boys Doubles
Pulina Wellalage/ Shenuk Samararatne (St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa), Runners-up – Sanjula Handapangoda/ Thilina Rajakaruna (St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa)
Under 17 Girls Doubles
L.A. Dinethya/ Devmi Ubesirivardhana (Sujatha Balika, Matara), Runners-up – Dilini Ambalangodage/ H.G. Sandani (Anula College/ Sujatha College Matara)
Under 19 Boys Singles
Savinaka Veerasekera (D.S. Senanayake), Runner-up – Jason Homer (Royal Institute)
Under 19 Girls Singles
Rashmi Mudalige (Gateway), Runner-up – Ondi Sethuki (Southlands, Galle)
Under 19 Boys Doubles
Jason Homer/Savinaka Weerasekera (Royal Institute/ DS. Senanayake), Runners-up -Ashinsa Herath/ Vidusha Sumanadasa (Royal)
Under 19 Girls Doubles
Tisuni Liyanarachchi/ Lavandi Umagaliyage (Sanghamitta, Galle), Runners-up – Natasha Gunasekara/ Rashmi Mudalige (Gateway)
Under 19 Mixed Doubles
Pulina Vellalage/Rashmi Mudalige (St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa/Gateway), Runner-up – Shenuk Samararatne/ Situki Onadi (St. Sebastian’s, Moratuwa/ Sujata Vidyalaya Matara)
Wanindu only SL player in ICC’s teams of the year
Wanindu Hasaranga, who took more wickets than anybody at the Men’s T20 World Cup, is the only Sri Lanka male player selected in any of the ICC’s teams of the year announced on Tuesday.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) completed announcements of the ICC Teams of the Year, a feature of the ICC Awards 2022 which captures the best-combined XIs across the different formats of men’s and women’s international cricket after an action-packed year of competition.
Two days of staggered announcements have seen five lineups revealed; the ICC Men’s and Women’s T20I Teams of the Year, the ICC Men’s and Women’s ODI Teams of the Year and the ICC Men’s Test Team of the Year. In total, 11 countries are represented across the various lineups, which feature a number of World Cup winners, ICC Players of the Month and some of the most exciting emerging talents from the past calendar year.
Teams were identified from selections submitted by the specialist panel of media representatives that make up the ICC Voting Academy. The esteemed panel made their selections based on player performances throughout the calendar year, nominating their one to 11 and choosing a captain and a wicketkeeper for each.
Wanindu is selected in the ICC Men’s T20I Team of the Year which includes three Indian players. The others in the team are Jos Buttler (captain -Eng), Mohammad Rizwan (Pak), Virat Kohli (Ind), Suryakumar Yadav (Ind), Glenn Phillips (NZ), Sikandar Raza (Zim), Hardik Pandya (Ind), Sam Curran (Eng), Wanindu Hasaranga (SL), Haris Rauf (Pak) and Josh Little (Ire).
In the women’s category, Inoka Ranaweera has been selected in the ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year.
Rusanda propels Petes to big score
Under 19 Traditional Cricket
Rusanda Gamage top scored with 170 runs, his highest knock in the Under 19 age category, to propel St. Peter’s to a total of 350 for seven wickets before bad light forced an early end to the first day’s play in the traditional cricket encounter against Ananda at Ananda Mawatha on Monday.
Gamage scored 21 fours and one six in his knock which came in 184 balls. It was his second century of the season as he went past 400 runs in what turned out to be his fifth match.
In the other traditional match started in Colombo, Lumbini fought back after being bowled out for 131 runs to restrict Isipatana to 94 for six wickets at stumps.
Rusanda propels Petes to 350 for seven at Ananda Mawatha
350 for 7 in 81 overs (Chamindu Perera 31, Rusanda Gamage 170, Nimutu Gunawardana 25, Kavika Jayasundara 58, Shennan Rodrigo 20; Isuru Ayesh 4/64)
Lumbini 131, Isipatana 94/6 at BRC
131 all out in 51.5 overs (Pasindu Mahisha 34; Kevin Samuel 3/33, Yeshith Kalupahana 3/16, Sithuka Gunawardene 2/19)
94 for 6 in 27 overs (Tharushika Ashel 32, Dushan Malinga19, Mohomed Asjad 27; Dumindu Sewmina 3/28, Malith Bimsara 2/35) (RF)
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