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Stanley Jayasinghe the nonagenarian: going strong



The nonagenarian cutting the birthday cake to the strains of ‘happy birthday’.

by Harischandra Gunaratna

The oldest living All Ceylon cricketer Stanley Jayasinghe recently celebrated his 90th birthday at his Thalapathpitiya residence at a lavish birthday party attended by friends and fans.

Despite his age, his memory is razor-sharp and he shared some of the unforgettable incidents of his life with those present at the gathering with great humour and banter.

The grand old man of Sri Lanka’s cricket was hale and hearty and enjoyed the evening very much, entertaining his guests.

He was fit as a fiddle and still drives his vehicle maneuvering Colombo’s busy streets with tremendous ease, though some of those who are much younger to him would find it a nightmare.

The nonagenarian is a wildlife enthusiast and being an outdoor man, spent most of his time farming at Tanamalwila where he has a bungalow on a two acre land.

“Unfortunately due to the spread of Covid-19, I am unable to visit the place now and am confined to the apartment at Thalapathpitiya,” he said.

Jayasinghe is one of the best batsmen and a prolific run getter produced by Sri Lanka, representing the country from 1949 to 1967.

The batting machine made his debut for Ceylon while still being a schoolboy at Nalanda College, in 1951 playing against Pakistan in Pakistan under the captaincy of Sargo Jayawickrama.

The schoolboy hero captained Nalanda College, Colombo in both 1950 and 1951.

Jayasinghe scored  four centuries in his illustrious school cricket career in addition to many half centuries. His 170 against Prince of Wales at Moratuwa was the best, in a game where Nalanda went on to win the match by an innings. The all-rounder later played for the Sinhalese SC, Nomads and NCC.

He also played county cricket with distinction for Leicestershire for five years and prior to that league cricket in Lancashire. He was adjudged the Times of Ceylon Sportsman of the Year in 1951.

Jayasinghe is known as a stickler for discipline and punctuality.

He said, that he disapproved the unkempt appearance of some of our cricketers today and added “if you can’t be a cricketer, at least look like one.”

The cricketing great of yesteryear regretted the manner in which some of country’s cricketers play the gentleman’s game.

“Playing with a straight bat was the norm then, but today our batsmen have a tendency to play across the line and get out,” he said.

However, Jayasinghe praised about the standard of fielding in today’s cricket which has improved by leaps and bounds and said, it is 300 times better now than my time.

“I wish all cricketers of all nations uphold the noble traditions of the hallowed game,” Jayasinghe said.

Jayasinghe considers Mahadevan Sathasivam as one of the greatest cricketers produced by Sri Lanka in the pre-Test era for his brilliant stroke play and finesse, and admired Douglas Jayasinha, the former All Ceylon cricketer as a man who brooked no nonsense, acted with impartiality and a person who didn’t bow down to political pressure or dictates from any other during his tenure as Chairman of the selectors panel.

Asked about cricket becoming highly commercial, Jayasinghe was of the opinion that the players were entitled to benefits of the gentleman’s game.

He said the most cherished amongst the birthday presents he received was the book authored by Sri Lankan cricket writer Alston Mahadevan domiciled in Australia titled “History of Sri Lanka-International cricket 1882-1982” presented to Stanley by the author himself.

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Silverwood applauds problem solver Asalanka



His ability to debate makes him a cut above the rest – Arthur

By Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka’s Head Coach Chris Silverwood and his predecessor Mickey Arthur heaped high praise on middle order batsman Charith Asalanka, whose stunning 83 not out helped Sri Lanka to complete the highest successful run chase ever at home on Wednesday.Set an improbable target of 314, Asalanka played a blinder smashing five fours and four sixes during his 72-ball knock with the last six sealing Sri Lanka’s victory with two balls to spare.

Asalanka made his Sri Lanka debut in England during Arthur’s time as Head Coach last year. Although a top order batsman, Arthur made him to bat at number five, a position where you have to absorb pressure, especially during run chases. What factors in Asalanka impressed Arthur?

“Charith worked so hard when he came into the team. He is always willing to take on information, listen and ready to debate if he wasn’t convinced on something. That’s a very good feature in a young player. I like that kind of attitude. He has this aura about him. Dasun Shanaka is doing a fine job right now but one day when he is finished Charith is the guy who is going to take on the reins of leadership,” Arthur told Sunday Island.

The former Head Coach currently lives in UK where he coaches English county Derbyshire. He is in Colombo for the Lanka Premier League that gets underway next week.

“What prompted us to fit him in the middle order is that a left-hander gives you so many positives. Charith has this ability to switch gears. Increase and decrease the tempo. He is a wristy player and can manipulate things when he is out in the middle. He can hit boundaries at any given time with his ability to find gaps and he is good at rotating the strike. He has worked very hard on sweeping and he is now able to score all-around the wicket.”

While Arthur is in Colombo, Silverwood is back in the UK spending time with family for Christmas. Although he is from Yorkshire, he lives now in Essex, half hour drive from London. Silverwood won the County Championship with Essex, a title that they won after 25 years.

“I am looking for people who want to put their hands up and get the team over the line. The way Charith went about his business was superb. The influence he had on Dunith was a strong one as well during the run chase. He took calculated risks and showed what a fine player he is,” Silverwood added.

“Charith is a problem solver. He can find answers for any tough situation. He is a strong character and a good thinker.”

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World Cup 2022: Did it cross the line? Germany out as Japan and Spain progress



Did the ball cross the line?

That is the age-old World Cup question for Germany, who crashed out as Japan beat Spain thanks to an opinion-dividing winner that left many scratching their heads.Kaoru Mitoma’s cutback for Ao Tanaka’s tap-in happened just after the ball looked to have crossed the byeline.

Even after cropping and zooming it looked incredibly close. Eventually it was ruled that the ball had not fully crossed the line.

In other words, if you drew an imaginary line upwards at 90 degrees from the far edge of the whitewash, it would have still passed through the curve of the ball – albeit only just – even though the part of the ball that touched the ground had fully crossed the line.The goal was initially ruled out by the assistant referee after a long pause, then the video assistant referee (VAR) intervened and ultimately Japan’s lead would stand – and they would go on to win.

“I have seen a photo that must have been tampered with, it cannot be that this photo is real. It has to be manipulated,” said Spain boss Luis Enrique.

“I felt that something fishy was going on when the VAR took as much time as it did to decide… I have nothing to say.

“Luckily, the team only goes into collapse mode once every four years, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to cope.”

The controversy evoked memories of Frank Lampard’s “ghost goal” against Germany in 2010, when England went out in the last 16, and – no doubt for German fans of a certain vintage – of 1966 and Geoff Hurst’s extra-time effort when England won the World Cup.

In Qatar, those three points for Japan meant Germany were out, the four-time winners falling at the group stage for a second consecutive tournament.It was just one moment on a World Cup night full of spine tingling drama.


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Vishen Halambage could be next big thing in cricket



St. Peter’s take on Thurstan College in the under-19 finals today at Colts Cricket Ground and all eyes will be on young Vishen Halambage, who has been making headlines as a prolific run scorer in schools’ cricket.
The right-handed opening batsman is the leading run scorer in the competition having scored 456 runs with two hundreds and one fifty. He is also a handy leg-spinner and has taken 18 wickets in the tournament.
Vishen hails from Ambalangoda, a town that has produced many fine cricketers. He had his initial education at Stafford International before shifting to St. Peter’s to pursue his cricketing ambitions. He has done well in all age groups at St. Peter’s and has got one more year in the under-19 set up.
Vishen is in the national selection panel’s radar and has been shortlisted in the initial pool of 30 to take on West Indies in the bilateral series. He is also expected to feature in the next ICC Under-19 World Cup and could go onto skipper the Sri Lankan team having already captained the national under-15 side.
Cricket is in Vishen’s blood. His father Kumara Halambage played cricket for Dharmashoka, Ambalangoda and First-Class cricket for Singha SC. His uncle, Premasiri Halambage, was the President of Galle District Cricket Association.

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