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Sri Lanka leave for New Zealand without Nissanka



Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne participates in religious observations before the national cricket team’s departure to New Zealand on Sunday.

by Rex Clementine

A 17-member Sri Lankan Test squad left for New Zealand Sunday night for a six-week long multi format tour that includes two Tests, three ODIs and three T20 Internationals. There’s a lot at stake during the tour and much has been done to help the team get acclimatized to the conditions but the cold, wind and the moving ball will be quite a challenge to the Sri Lankans.

The tourists will arrive in south island of New Zealand and will be based there for ten days before the opening Test match at the Harley Oval in Christchurch. They’ll play a two day warm-up game against New Zealand XI at the same ground starting Saturday.

New Zealand is a county of two islands. The north island comprises some of its major cities such as Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton. The main city in south island is Christchurch and there are other prominent but smaller cities like Queenstown and Dunedin.

The announcement of the Test squad came via a SLC press release and there was no formal media briefing to explain the selections. Although the current selection panel has been highly praised by some they have worked with little transparency and avoided the press like the plague during their two-year tenure and have got away with too many blunders.

There was no explanation as to why opening batsman Pathum Nissanka was left out but it is learnt that the medical staff haven’t given him a clean bill of health after picking up a back injury in India last month.

Nissanka is easily the finest young talent to emerge in the last five years and has made such a huge impact in all three formats of the game. He may have pulled through for the second Test and anyway since he’s going to be part of the white ball setup, you wonder whether he’d better off in New Zealand acclimatizing to conditions than in Colombo.

Nissanka perhaps faulted by not playing the NSL four day tournament. But have you come across a cricketer with such an unblemished record since Kumar Sangakkara?

Surely, a selection panel that was willing to give the long rope to Danuska Gunathilaka allowing him more time to recover from an injury should have been more considerate about Nissanka.

Sadly, poor Nissanka doesn’t have any godfathers in cricket.

Top order batsman Nishan Madushka has got a maiden call up for the senior team after some big scores in recent times. A product of Moratu Vidyalaya, Madushka slammed a double hundred against England Lions in the first unofficial Test earlier this month in Galle and followed it up with another hundred in the second game.

A 23-year-old wicketkeeper batsman, Madushka averages over 60 in domestic cricket and has been hailed as one of the finest young batsmen in the country.

Uncapped fast bowler Milan Ratnayake is also part of the Test squad.

This is Sri Lanka’s first Test series in eight months. The tour itself is highly important for Sri Lanka. A 2-0 series win will put them on the brink of the finals of the World Test Championship while a 3-0 clean sweep in the ODIs will see them qualifying automatically for this year’s 50 over World Cup.

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IPL auction player registration ends today (November 30)




Over 700 players are expected to register for the auction this time, with some prominent names aniticipated to be on the list (BCCI)

Today (November 30) is the final day for players to register for the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction. Players are required to submit their names along with No Objection Certificates (NOCs) through their respective boards. The auction is scheduled for December 19.

With expectations of over 700 players registering for the auction, this time, some prominent names are anticipated to be on the list. Notable World Cup performers such as Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Travis Head, Daryl Mitchell, Rachin Ravindra, Ibrahim Zadran, Rahmat Shah, among others, are expected to be the top draws.

In particular, Starc is expected to be hotly pursued by franchises, despite his history of making himself unavailable after being acquired in previous auctions. Sources close to Cricket Australia have disclosed that at least five franchises have reached out to the left-armer, and he is likely to feature prominently on the marquee list.

Following the registration, franchises will be tasked with trimming the list. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) anticipates around 70 players to be sold at the auction. The BCCI has specified that transactions totaling up to INR 262.95 crore can occur at the auction, with 77 available slots across the 10 squads. Additionally, teams can acquire up to 30 foreign players.

While Ben Stokes has already withdrawn, franchise sources indicate they are awaiting confirmation regarding the availability of Jofra Archer, recently released by Mumbai Indians. There is also speculation that Josh Hazlewood may be available for the league, having been released by the Royal Challengers Bangalore recently.

The IPL is likely to take place from the third week of March, following the conclusion of the five-Test series between India and England, until the third week of May. This schedule ensures that players and boards have ample time to prepare for the Twenty20 World Cup, set to commence on June 3.

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Selectors set to be first casualties post World Cup



Sri Lanka Cricket is set to advertise for new selectors ending the three-year term of Pramodya Wickramasinghe during which period the national cricket team hit new lows. 

by Rex Clementine  

Members of the national selection panel are set to be the first casualties post World Cup in which the national cricket team had a disastrous campaign. Despite Sri Lanka finishing ninth in the ten-team event and failing to qualify for the Champions Trophy, none holding key positions within the national cricket team had stepped down.

Although previous Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe and other bodies attached to the Sports Ministry were keen to change the selection panel headed by former fast bowler Pramodya Wickremasinghe, there was tough resistance from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

However, with Harin Fernando taking charge as Sports Minister following the dismissal of Ranasinghe, Fernando had discussed changes moving forward with fresh thinking coming in.

Accordingly, SLC will advertise for selectors and in due time will pick a competent team.

Under Pramodya, Sri Lanka ended up playing three qualifying round tournaments to go through for ICC events, a trend that had never happened previously.

The selectors decision to bench half a dozen seniors from the white ball sides also didn’t go down too well and eventually they had to bite the bullet and fall back on the likes of Angelo Mathews. However, one of the finest all-rounders Sri Lanka had Thisara Perera had quit international cricket by then.

Former captain Marvan Atapattu had been approached to take over as new Chief Selector, but The Island learns that he had declined the role and wasn’t keen to be involved in cricket in any capacity at the moment.

Former fast bowler Ashantha de Mel is a possible candidate to become the Chief Selector again. De Mel has had several stints with the last being from 2019 to 2021 and the highlight during his tenure was Sri Lanka becoming the first Asian nation to win a Test series in South Africa.

It remains to be seen which other former cricketers will apply for the post of selectors.

SLC is also likely to not renew the contracts of several individuals within the coaching set up of the national cricket team. However, former captain and Consultant Coach Mahela Jayawardene is likely to get an extension despite an embarrassing World Cup campaign, Sri Lanka’s worst since 1999.

Sri Lanka’s next campaign will be the bilateral white ball series against Zimbabwe at home in January. All key slots are expected to be filled by that series.

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Colombo South win Under 15 Youth League final in style  



Colombo South Under 15s won Sri Lanka Cricket conducted Under 15 Youth League Final at the MCA ground on Wednesday.

by Reemus Fernando 

Royal College batsman Rehan Peiris scored his second century, a run-a-ball 129 for Colombo South Under 15s before their bowlers produced a combined effort to record a comfortable 86 runs victory against Colombo North in the Sri Lanka Cricket conducted Under 15 Youth League final at MCA ground on Wednesday.

Chasing a target of 257 runs to win, Colombo North played second fiddle and were never in the hunt as they lost wickets at regular intervals. Sadeesha Silva resisted anchoring the innings with 47 runs but he lacked support from the rest. Yenula Dantanarayana and Lahiru Lakmal made 20s.

For the winners Holy Cross College, Kalutara spinner Himaru Deshan and Cambrian Rusandu Silva bowled tight spells. Deshan and Silva gave away just 27 and 22 runs respectively during their quota of ten overs. Both took one wicket each. Deshan, who ended up as the highest wicket taker of the tournament had three maidens in his ten overs. Janul Damhiru who shared the new ball with Dunitha Anusara picked up two wickets. Anusara, Yasaru Praveen and Matheesha Aponso picked up one wicket each.

Earlier deciding to bat first, Colombo South lost their first wicket for 11 runs. But a second wicket stand of 110 runs between Peiris and Lasiru Sandakan (Royal, Panadura) provided a solid base for them to post a formidable total. After Sandakan was dismissed for 40 runs Peiris joined St. Peter’s wicketkeeper batsman Jason Fernando to post 96 runs for the third wicket.

Peiris scored ten sixes and five fours in his innings, while Fernando made 19 runs.

Colombo South consisted of players from Royal, Colombo, Royal, Panadura, D.S. Senanayake, Colombo, St. Peter’s, Bambalapitiya, Prince of Wales, Holy Cross, Kalutara, C.W.W. Kannangara and Walapura MV, Horana. They were captained by Thevindu Wewalwala of Royal College Colombo.

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