Serial offenders meet their Waterloo
Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Mendis will return home this afternoon after breaching health protocols.
by Rex Clementine
Sri Lanka’s tour of the United Kingdom is going from bad to worse after three players were suspended pending inquiry and were ordered to return home on the eve of the three match ODI series that gets underway today (June 29) in UK’s northernmost ground – Chester-Le-Street in Durham.
Vice-captain Kusal Mendis, opening batsman Danushka Gunathilaka and wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella were caught on camera roaming the streets of Durham late in the night. Players breaching team curfew, sneaking out of the team hotel late in the night or smoking in public is nothing new in cricket and even some of our finest players have crossed that line. But what was wrong here was that the trio had breached the bio-secure bubble putting both squads, coaching staff, match officials and ground staff at risk. Durham has recorded high number of COVID cases in recent past and the violation is sure to upset the English and Wales Cricket Board, who were pioneers in getting cricket underway in bio-secure bubbles after the outbreak of the pandemic in March last year.
All three players have been fined or warned for their excesses on previous instances and Gunathilaka and Mendis in particular have been serial offenders.
Mendis was arrested last year and was released on bail after causing a motor accident that killed a 64 year-old man in Panadura. SLC did not discipline the player and closed the case with CEO Ashley de Silva calling it a ‘personal matter’. Less than a year later, he was appointed the Vice-Captain in what was the best selection decision since wicketkeeping gloves were taken away from Kumar Sangakkara in Test match cricket.
Mendis will never learn because Vice-Captaincy which was offered to him straight after his four ducks was given more on promise than merit.
Gunathilaka had turned up drunk in the dressing room ahead of an ODI at Pallekele having forgotten his kit bag. He was reported by the team management to SLC and was suspended for six games. However, President Thilanga Sumathipala reduced the sentence to three games when he was running short of players to take to Pakistan in 2017.
Next year, Gunathilaka was involved in another late night incident during a Test match but he got away with a slap on the wrist this time with Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha protecting him.
So, all in all, those at Maitland Place have not given much prominence to discipline and it was just a matter of time that something of this magnitude happened. Had the players been put in their places when the first incident happened, it would have carried a serious message.
Cricket officials have got lot to learn from former cricket chief Rienzie T. Wijetilleke, who sacked a player after he was arrested for causing a motor accident that killed a pedestrian.
There was anger among cricket fans yesterday especially as Sri Lanka had been whitewashed in the three match T-20 series without even a fight.
SLC were keen to bring the players home from the next flight available. They were driven to London yesterday afternoon and were set to catch a flight from Heathrow at 10pm. Once they reach Colombo they will be sent for a quarantine place. The Cricket Board had taken lot of flak in recent times and this was the last distraction that they needed. Ex-Co members were angry yesterday and they met for an emergency meeting. Some of them were adamant that all three should be given five year bans while others felt that at least a year’s ban is required to clean things up.
The board now is waiting for the Manager’s report and will decide on the next step.
Sources said that the incident is a black mark for the country and Sri Lanka could be blacklisted for future events after a serious breach of health protocol.
IPL 2023 rule change: teams will name their playing XI after the toss
Captains in IPL 2023 will walk in with two different team sheets before handing in their final XI after the toss. That is one of the significant tweaks from the last season in the IPL’s playing conditions, which will soon be shared with the teams. The change, the IPL said in an internal note listing the various changes to playing conditions, would allow franchises to pick their best XIs based on whether they end up batting or bowling, the appropriate impact player included.
“Currently the captains have to exchange the teams before the toss,” the note, seen by ESPNcricinfo, said. “This has been changed to exchange of teams immediately post the toss, to enable teams to choose the best XI depending on whether they are batting or bowling first. It will also assist the teams to plan for the impact player.”
The IPL thus becomes the second T20 franchise tournament after the SA20 to allow teams to announce their XI post the toss. In the SA20, which recently staged its inaugural season, teams put 13 names on the team sheet initially before announcing their final XI after the toss. Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith, the SA20’s tournament director, had also said then that the move was designed to “lessen the impact of the toss” and allow a level-playing playing field based on the conditions.
The IPL has adopted a similar thought process now, with another key factor being neutralising the effect of dew, which has traditionally had a big impact at some venues in India, with teams bowling second adversely impacted.
While the toss will still matter, it should not be a case of “win toss, win match” in certain conditions with the new rule. For example, if a team that wanted to bat and then defend a total on a slow track in turning conditions is forced to bowl first, it can play an extra spinner in the starting XI, and then replace a specialist bowler with a batter in the second innings to help with the run-chase.
Other IPL playing conditions tweaks
Over rate penalty of only four fielders outside the 30-yard circle for every over not completed in the allocated time. Unfair movement of the wicketkeeper will result in a dead ball and 5 penalty runs. Unfair movement by a fielder will result in a dead ball and 5 penalty runs.
Litton, Tamim make light work of small chase after Mahmud’s maiden five-for
Openers Litton Das and Tamim Iqbal made light work of a 102-run target as Bangladesh beat Ireland by ten wickets in the third ODI in Sylhet and completed a 2-0 series win. The visitors were bowled out for 101 in 28.1 overs after the Bangladesh fast bowlers took all ten wickets in an innings for the first time in the format.
The short chase was enlivened by Tamim and Litton, who put on an exhibition of strokeplay, finishing the game in just 13.1 overs, Bangladesh’s second-shortest chase in ODIs. After Bangladesh beat Ireland by a record margin of runs in the first ODI, this was also their first ten-wicket win in ODIs.
A small crowd turned up at the picturesque Sylhet venue on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan starting, and went home shortly after sunset. Ireland’s 101 broke a sequence of five successive 300-plus totals by the side batting first on this ground.
Hasan Mahmud’s maiden five-wicket haul, Taskin Ahmed’s three-wicket burst and Ebadot Hossain’s two-for summed up the absolute dominance by the Bangladesh fast bowlers. The spinners were needed for only four overs in all with Shakib Al Hasan not getting a chance to bowl for only the third time in his ODI career. It was a day out for the quicks on the hard and bouncy Sylhet surface, a rarity among grounds in Bangladesh. The conditions prompted the team management to pick six bowlers including the three seamers.
Mahmud removed openers Stephen Doheny and Paul Stirling in a disciplined opening burst. Doheny was caught behind for 8 after scratching around for 20 balls before Stirling, dropped on 5, got to 7 before Mahmud trapped him lbw in the ninth over. The skiddy fast bowler soon picked up his third when he trapped Harry Tector lbw later in the same over. Taskin got captain Andy Balbirnie caught at first slip for just 6 as Ireland collapsed to 26 for 4 before the first powerplay was up.
Then came their only partnership of note. Lorcan Tucker and Curtis Campher added 42 runs for the fifth wicket, which effectively helped Ireland reach the three-figure mark. Campher top-scored with 36, while Tucker made 28, the only two double-figure scores in the innings.
But it was soon over. Ebadot’s in-dipper had Tucker lbw. Next ball, Ebadot clean-bowled George Dockrell for a golden duck as Ireland slipped to 68 for 6.Taskin then took a brace in his seventh over, first getting Andy McBrine to top-edge a quick bouncer before Adair inside-edged his second ball onto the stumps.
Campher was the ninth wicket that fell, top-edging Mahmud towards fine leg. Taskin took a comfortable catch, celebrating the younger team-mate’s first four-wicket haul. It soon became five when Mahmud trapped Graham Hume lbw for 3.
Tamim started the chase with a slashed four over point, before pasting the Ireland fast bowlers for boundaries through cover and square-leg. Most of Litton’s boundaries came through the covers, including a back-foot punch that looked scrumptious from every angle. Left-arm spinner Matthew Humphreys then went for two expensive overs, before the Bangladesh opening pair calmed down briefly.
Tamim lofted Humphreys for a straight six in his third over, before Litton drove Campher through the covers. Then he struck two fours off Humphreys to reach his ninth ODI fifty, before Tamim hit the winning runs.
Bangladesh 102 for 0 (Litton Das 50*, Tamim Iqbal 41*) beat Ireland 101 (Curtis Campher 36, Lorcan Tucker 28, Hasan Mahmud 5-32, Taskin Ahmed 3-26, Ebadot Hossain 2-29) by ten wickets
AA Sponsors 68th National Billiard Championship
The Automobile Association of Ceylon (AAC) will sponsor the 68th National Billiard Championship, conducted by the Billiards and Snooker Association of Sri Lanka (B & SASL) this year.
The Automobile Association of Ceylon established in 1904 is the oldest Motoring Organization in Sri Lanka,and is afiliated to the Federation Internationale De L’ Automobile, world largest Mobility Organization in Geneva, which has 150 countries under its umbrella. AAC’s prime object is to make all Road users safe.
AAC conducts annual Billiard and Snooker Tournaments for its members and also takes part in the inter-club tournaments in order to promote the cue sports. In the past, AAC members have excelled in several National Billiard and Snooker Tournaments and brought glory to the association.
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