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Spotlight on Dickwella after Galle defeat

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Niroshan Dickwella has featured in 40 Tests but no hundreds yet.

Rex Clementine in Galle Fort

Sri Lanka will have a couple of days to regroup in Galle ahead of the second Test match on Friday at the same venue and the performances of certain players will come under the spotlight. The hosts lost the opening Test match by seven wickets on the final morning as England enjoy their excellent record in Sri Lanka.

England teams of good old days barely lasted three days in the scorching heat of Galle, but they have reversed the trend in recent times. In a row, England have now won five Tests in Sri Lanka. They have not lost a series here in 14 years.

Sri Lanka’s tactics during the opening game has been under spotlight including their choices of players.

Wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella is yet to post a Test match hundred despite featuring in 40 Tests. Since July 2017, Dickwella has been a permanent fixture of the Sri Lankan side and although he averages 30, the team’s decision to back him to bat at number six raised a few eyebrows.

While Dickwella –although he spilled a chance in Galle –has emerged as Sri Lanka’s number one wicketkeeper, his batting has been inconsistent. A former Head Coach of the team once said that he fears getting a heart attack when Dickwella is batting with his fair share of scoops and reverse sweeps.

Number six used to be a prime slot in the Sri Lankan team; once occupied by Hashan Tillakratne and Tilan Samaraweera, two of the nation’s finest Test cricketers. Both could be relied upon when chips were down. If there was a collapse, like it happened in Galle, number six is the man who is supposed to fix the mess grinding it out and stitching crucial partnerships with the tail.

Getting Dickwella to bat at six is like appointing Ravi Karunanayake as Finance Minister.

Dickwella hasn’t got the credentials to be your number six. He’s a batsman with an attacking mindset and that shouldn’t be your choice for a crucial slot like six. Roshen Silva maybe the answer that you are looking for. No one is going to find fault if Dickwella drops down to number seven.

Sri Lanka also should re-examine whether playing all-rounders is the right way forward. The likes of Wanindu Hasaranga and Dasun Shanka could be useful players in white ball cricket but Test match cricket is a different kettle of fish and you need specialists. Sri Lanka badly lacked a few of them in their bowling department.



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Selection impasse continues 

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by Rex Clementine  

Sri Lanka Cricket and Ministry of Sports are at daggers drawn and virtually naming of new selectors has become impossible after SLC submitted the same set of names to be reappointed. SLC wants a fresh term for Pramodaya Wickramasinghe under whose tenure the team won the Asia Cup. The Sports Ministry meanwhile wants Wicky gone. Among other things, they aren’t happy that he retained Danushka Gunatilleke on tour after he was injured during the World Cup. The top order batsman brought international shame to the country after his arrest in Sydney. He was charged with sexual assault.   In order to break the deadlock, the Sports Ministry now  wants to issue a gazette and call for interested former players to apply. The age old practice has been for SLC to advertise for the post and among the applicants, ten names are handpicked and sent to the Sports Ministry, which then chooses five out of those ten names and appoint them as selectors. But it’s all going to change now. The board will no longer have a say on selections. The selectors are answerable to the Ministry of Sports. But the board will pay their salaries. This is not an ideal situation and let’s hope it’s just a one off. SLC should have known better and instead of going on a collision course should have negotiated for a better deal.

Getting selectors to apply is never the ideal thing. Greg Chappell was a selector of Australia for a long period of time and if someone had asked him to apply he would have given that person a piece of his mind. Chappell’s role was a unique one from rest of the panel. He was responsible to alert the selectors on the next biggest talent in the country having scrutinized a player.

Similarly a Sidath Wettimuny, an Aravinda de Silva or  a Marvan Atapattu aren’t going to apply for the post of selector. They’ll come and serve if protocols are followed and obviously they would want a free hand. That’s the best way forward too. Surely you don’t want your best brains left behind simply because they didn’t apply for a post. What’s it with Wicky that he wants to hold onto this post so much. He needs to learn to let go. He’s anyway known as someone who’ll not take a backward step but what about little Kalu? Now that’s a man who is very conscious about his  reputation. If the system doesn’t want you, then there’s no point in hanging around. Take a break and make a comeback when there’s an opportunity. The present selectors maybe feeling that they have done a good job and need a fresh term. Well it doesn’t always happen that way.

Duleep Mendis is a case in point. Through meticulous planning, he had helped the national team for a maiden Test win in South Africa in 2011. The whole county was excited at what the team had achieved. Yet, two weeks later he was sacked along with captain T.M. Dilshsn and Head Coach Geoff Marsh.

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Bangladesh selectors okay if Hathurusingha is included in selection panel

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There’s been a buzz after BCB president Nazmul Hasan announced that newly-appointed coach Hathurusingha will have a say in selection, although a decision on whether he will be officially included in the selection panel like in the past is yet to be made.

“Whether Hathurusingha will be included in the selection panel will be decided by the board. There are two selections: preliminary (squad) and final selection (playing XI),” said Nazmul Hasan, BCB President. “The final selection is always made by the captain and coach, and the captain decides whereas the coach gives suggestions but basically it is the captain.”

Many feel that if Hathurusingha is included in the selection panel, that will take away power from the selectors. However, BCB’s chief selector Minhajul Abedin and his long time associate in the selection panel Habibul Bashar disagree with it.

“I am not sure whether he will be included in the selection panel or not but I don’t think it will be a problem and we didn’t have any problems last time too,” Minhajul told Cricbuzz on Thursday, adding that he is in regular touch with the Sri Lankan to keep him updated.

Habibul told Cricbuzz that he has seen Hathurusingha working from close quarters and feels that there are lots of misconceptions floating in the air about him.

“It is not true that he had given us a paper” said Habibul. “We always discussed about our team with the head coach and always take his suggestion whether he is a part of selection panel or not. And it was the same with him as well.

“I don’t think he is any kind of strict headmaster. Instead what I feel is that he always looked at the cricketers equally.”

Khaled Mahmud, current team director and a close ally of Hathurusingha, feels that Hathurusingha is now much more matured than before.

“He has worked in Bangladesh before. There were a lot of good performances during his time. He is more mature now, which is good for the team. I think it is a positive thing that he is coming for a second time. He understands us well, as he is also from the subcontinent.” said Mahmud, who had worked as team manager during Hathurusingha’s first stint

Hathurusingha spent three years from 2014 to 2017 before leaving abruptly for the Sri Lanka role. He is expected to arrive by January 20 and his first assignment will be against England at home.

(Cricbuzz)

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SportUnleash Schools Sports Awards 2022

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Fifteen outstanding school sports persons were felicitated at the inaugural SportUnleash School Sports Awards 2022 held at the BMICH recently.Minister of Education Susil Premajayanth was the chief guest at the awards ceremony while MP Eran Wickramaratne was the guest of honor.

The award winners for 2022

ATHLETICS:

Track events-Nadun Kaveesha Bandara of Royal College, Colombo,

Field events –

Ashmika Keshan Korala of Yoshida International School, Sapugaskanda,

BADMINTON: Viren Nettasinghe of St Peter’s College,

BASKETBALL:GG Minoli Mariya Direkze of HFC Bambalapitiya,

BOXING: Pasindu Umayanga Mihiran, Nalanda College,

CHESS: LM Susal T de Silva, Nalanda College,

CRICKET: Dunith Wellalage, St Joseph’s College,

KARATE: CA Tharuki Sashindi, Sapugaskanda Visaka Vidyalaya,

NETBALL:

Hiruni Heshani, HFC Kurunegala,

ROWING: Shaylon Shayan Gunaratna, Asian International School,

RUGBY: Dinupa Seneviratna, DS Senanayake College,

SWIMMING:Ganga Seneviratne, Visaka Vidyalaya,

TENNIS:Dinara de Silva, St Bridget’s Convent,

VOLLEYBALL:Kavishka Madushanka, Rajasinghe Central College, Ruwanwella,

WRESTLING: Nethmi Ahinsa Fernando, Welpalla Sangharathana Maha Vidyalaya, Giriulla,

COACH OF THE YEAR: TS Suranga Kumara,

SPORTING SCHOOL –Nalanda College.

The Jury Medals for Sports Excellence, were awarded to Danindu Chirath Sellepperuma of Ananda College and Vishmi Gunaratne of Rathnawali Balika Vidyalaya, Gampaha for their noteworthy performance in cricket and to Tharushi Karunarathne of A. Ratnayake MMV, Walala in Athletics.

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