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SLC keen to help Pakistan and looking for a window

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by Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka Cricket is keen to help Pakistan once again after cricket in the country came to a standstill with New Zealand and England pulling out from their bilateral tours. Pakistan cricket chief former Test captain Ramiz Raja had reached out to his counterparts at SLC requesting the possibilities of a short tour. However, SLC is cramped for room for an immediate tour but will consider travelling to the country for a white ball series, possibly this year, SLC sources told The Island.

Sri Lanka are set to leave for Oman on the 3rd of October and that ruled out a series in Pakistan before the ICC T-20 World Cup. Soon after the World Cup, Sri Lanka will host West Indies for two Tests and the board will look at the possibility of touring Pakistan after that series.

Cricket in Pakistan stopped after the 2009 terror attack on the Sri Lankan team in Lahore. Pakistan were forced to play their home games in UAE, an exercise that cost the PCB an arm and a leg.

In 2017, Pakistan made a huge step forward when the last game of a bilateral series against Sri Lanka was played in Lahore. In that series, two Tests, five ODIs and two T-20s had been played in UAE and the final T-20 in Lahore.

Since, then Pakistan has hosted Bangladesh, West Indies and Zimbabwe in limited overs cricket while South Africa had played Test match cricket. Sri Lanka had toured Pakistan for both white ball and red ball games.

PCB was looking to bring all international teams back to the country but the pulling out of New Zealand in the 11th hour followed by England’s no show have been massive blows. Pakistan officials have been bitter about the cancellations and have promised to take up the matter with the ICC.

SLC was highly impressed by the security arrangements that were in place for the team and officials during all their visits and had sent senior Air Force officer Roshan Biyanwala to assess the situation before the team travelled to Pakistan. Biyanwala had given a clean slate and the tours completed successfully.

Pakistan has been one of Sri Lanka’s strongest allies in cricket. Several Pakistan players including former great Wasim Akram played a hastily arranged exhibition match in Colombo along with leading Indian stars before the 1996 World Cup when Australia and West Indies pulled out due to security reasons.

Much before that, Pakistan was a pillar of strength when Sri Lanka applied for full member status with the ICC in 1970s. Abdul Hafeez Kardar in his capacity as Chairman of the Pakistan board aggressively pushed Sri Lanka’s case. He was responsible in training Sri Lankan coaches and curators in Pakistan to uplift the standard of the game in the island.



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FIBA conducts basketball communication workshop in Colombo

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Hovsep Seraydarian, FIBA Communications Manager conducted a Digital Communication and Media Workshop in Colombo over the weekend. He’s seen here in conversation with SLBF President Aelian Gunawardene, General Secretary Chandana Liyanage, CEO Asanga Amaratunga and Senior Vice President Paul Newman.

Basketball’s parent body, FIBA conducted a Digital Communication and Media Workshop in Colombo over the weekend. Hovsep Seraydarian, Communications Manager, Asia conducted the Workshop.

Several aspects of promoting the sport through social and mainstream media were discussed during the workshop.

Under the vibrant leadership of Sri Lanka Basketball Federation’s new president Aelian Gunawardene, the game is reaching new heights and the workshop will help SLBF to promote the game among players, fans and the general public.

Three years ago, FIBA’s domain id changed from fiba.com to fiba.basketball. The parent body has encouraged national federations to obtain this unique identity. Sri Lanka has now secured this unique domain name. This is an online unification of basketball under a common domain. www.srilanka.basketball is under construction and traffic will be diverted into the new web.

As an immediate step, SLBF could now be contacted via office@srilanka.basketball and key office bearers and functions are given .basketball mailing addresses for better communication.

“It was a pleasure to sit in on a Strategic Session on Marketing Sri Lanka basketball conducted by Hovsep Seraydarian,” SLBF President Aelian Gunawardene said.

“We are proud to be the first sporting body in Sri Lanka to have its own online identity as @srilanka.basketball and to have a better understanding of the latest marketing concepts in International sports marketing. The new SLBF Committee and I are very keen to make Sri Lanka Basketball all about the players and not about the administration. We hope to convey this clearly too,” Gunawardene added.

“It was indeed a very successful workshop with lot of case studies and interactive sessions,” SLBF General Secretary Chandana Liyanage said.

“More importantly we learned how to organize the SLBF digital marketing and communication for future activities. We are going to apply these learning into practice in the upcoming events such as SABA Men’s Championship in Dhaka, Junior Nationals Championship and the 53rd Senior National Championship over the next three months.

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Air Force judokas to leave for World Military Judo Championships

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Sri Lanka Air Force judokas will leave for World Military Judo Championship on Wednesday.

The 40th World Military Judo Championship is scheduled to be held in Paris, France this month. Ten judoka’s from the Sri Lanka Air Force and Sergeant Nuwan Attanayake who is an international judo referee is scheduled to leave the island on October 27 for the event. The Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshal Sudarshana Pathirana conveyed his best wishes to the participants and wished them all success during the championship.

Olympian Chamara Dharmawardhane (73 Kg Weight Category), who is a Corporal in the Air Force, Leading Aircraftman Suraj Arachchi (81 Kg Weight Category), Leading Aircraftman Gayan Abeysinghe (100 Kg Weight Category) together with Corporal Prabhath Gunadasa and Leading Aircraftman Irfan Osman are the Airmen who will be participating at this event. Corporal Prarthanaa Sandmali (48 Kg Weight Category), Corporal Seedevi (70 Kg Weight Category), Corporal Ganisha Lakmali (78 Kg Weight Category), Leading Aircraftwoman Nadeeshani Fonseka (52 Kg Weight Category) and Leading Aircraftwoman Iresha Chathurangani (63 Kg Weight Category) are the Airwomen taking part.

Chamara Dharmawardhane who represented Sri Lanka at the last two Olympics will be the captain of the team. Air Vice Marshal Ravindra Liyanagamage is the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Air Force Judo while Group Captain Manoj Galappaththi is the Secretary. Squadron Leader Thushara Hettiarachchi is the Head Coach of SLAF Judo team.

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Asalanka: Excellent find moving forward

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Charith Asalanka was Sri Lanka’s hero in their win over Bangladesh in Sharjah.

Rex Clementine in Dubai

Although results have not gone in Sri Lanka’s favour, several young players have stamped their authority in international cricket this year. First, there was Pathum Nissanka, hundred on debut in the Caribbean. Then there was Praveen Jayawickrama, a rich haul of wickets on debut against Bangladesh. In September, Maheesh Theekshana announced his arrival at the big stage with his mystery spin. In the T-20 World Cup, following Sri Lanka’s stunning run chase against Bangladesh in Sharjah, the cricketing fraternity is speaking of Charith Asalanka.

Not many know about Asalanka’s past; an impressive one. Here’s a bit that would interest our readers.

Charith Asalanka is a bright student. His schooling was at Ananda Vidyalaya, Elpitiya. He passed the Grade Five scholarship with flying colours and chose to shift to Richmond College, Galle, a cricketing powerhouse.

An opening batsman in his school days, Asalanka first represented Richmond ‘B’ team and the coaching staff was impressed with what he had to offer and fast-tracked him to the First XI team. Apart from being a prolific run-scorer, Asalanka has a good head above his shoulders and became the obvious choice for captain.

Richmond under him were stunning, picking up all awards in school cricket while the captain was setting the benchmark as the team’s leading scorer. In Richmond, scoring 1000 runs in the season or taking 100 wickets is not paramount. What is important is winning matches and titles. That mentality Richmondites like Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, and Dhananjaya de Silva have taken onto the Sri Lankan dressing room as well. That’s a good sign.

Asalanka once scored a double hundred in a one-dayer in school cricket. By 16 he was playing First-Class cricket representing Galle CC and had his maiden first-class hundred the same year. He won the schoolboy cricketer of the year award twice.

The manner in which Asalanka and Bhanuka Rajapaksa completed the run chasse was impressive. A good back foot player who seems comfortable playing fast bowling, he had too much on his plate when Kusal Perera and Avishka Fernando departed for one and without scoring.

First, he shared a 69 run stand for the second wicket with Pathum Nissanka to steady the ship and then followed the fireworks with Bhanuka Rajapaksa in a record stand of 86 runs.

Asalanka finished unbeaten on 80 while Bhankua was dismissed for 53 but by that time the job had been done and Sri Lanka had cut Bangladesh to size.

There were some elegant strokes during the partnership and calculated risks taken by both batters. Fortune favoured the brave. Very cleverly the duo refrained from taking undue risks when Mustafizur Rahman, Bangladesh’s premier bowler was operating.

Sri Lanka are overjoyed that both Bhanuka and Asalanka are firing. Their pace looks awesome and spinners will have a field day when there is some assistance on the track. KJP and Avishka will come good at any time and they are looking formidable especially with number three and five firing on all cylinders.

At the post match media briefing, Bhanuka was generous with his praise of Asalanka. “The result is phenomenal because the way Charith handled the situation and how he kept the tempo of the game is unbelievable. It’s not easy playing at number three at a time we were struggling to find a proper number three batsman,” explained Bhanuka.

“I’ve batted number three and it’s not an easy position because you need to play with the scoreboard pressure mostly. Chasing 172 runs when we lost KJP early it was a massive blow. Charith has a bright future and I wish him all the best and I hope he will be performing like this throughout the tournament.”

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