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T-20 becoming most popular brand of cricket

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by Rex Clementine 

Test cricket being the highest form of the game and a real test of character are all true no doubt but T-20 cricket has become the most popular format of the game for a variety of reasons. There’s more money being invested by sponsors for T-20 cricket as that’s where you see the younger generation getting involved.  In a fast paced world, after five days of Test cricket, younger generations find it difficult to come to terms with the fact that games can still end in no results. They are more comfortable with the fact that three hours of T-20 entertainment gives them a result.

The eighth edition of the event is taking place in Australia for the first time and the Aussies are known to be fabulous hosts and put up grand shows. Their government is giving the fullest backing with visa fees and biometrics exempted for players, officials and even journalists. With some entertaining finishes and new heroes, this tournament is expected to take the popularity of T-20 cricket further.

There’s an increasing trend for teams to engage in more T-20 cricket than Test matches. For example, Pakistan and England recently played seven T-20 Internationals but there’s only room for three Tests. Australia and Sri Lanka have ended up playing eight T-20s this year alone but their Test series won’t stretch beyond two games.

It is true that the money is in T-20 cricket, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of Tests. In reality, the tendency to play fewer Tests has become the norm as most boards end up incurring huge costs playing Tests and they make little money.

Countries like Sri Lanka need to be aware of the dangers of playing fewer Test matches. England, Australia and even India will not cut down on the number of Tests they play a year as they can sustain it even when they don’t make profits. Sri Lanka’s red ball players were involved in a Test series in July this year and need to wait till march next year for their next series.

It has only taken two decades for T-20 cricket to expand beyond imagination. The financial riches T-20 cricket has brought in is such that Sri Lankan cricketers now can afford to buy acres of prime land. No not just around Colombo, but even in places like Melbourne and Manchester.  Yes, that’s correct, acres of prime land. T-20 cricket was first introduced in England in 2003. Lord Ian MacLaurin, the boss of UK’s most successful supermarket chain Tesco was the head of England and Wales Cricket Board and he brought in much needed change for the game.

ECB Marketing Executive Stuart Robertson had been told to look into ways that would make cricket appealing to younger fans in Britain again. It had been observed that there was this notion that cricket was a sport for the wealthy. The sport was being played while most men and women in UK were at work.

Robertson noted that even in limited overs cricket, it took seven hours for a game to end. Furthermore, 50 overs cricket at that point was losing interest. The first 15 overs with field restrictions were on was exciting and then the last five with batters cashing in towards the end of the innings. Between overs 16 and 44 was considered as a boring phase of the game. So he decided to take off the period between overs 16 to 44 and condense it to a 20 over game hoping the excitement was there.Activities where children can come over and enjoy the game were introduced too like bouncy castles and swimming pools and the idea was immensely popular in England.

India brought into the argument reluctantly. Jagmohan Dalmiya, cricket’s most powerful man at that point walked into the Durban press box during the 2003 50 over World Cup semi-final and the British media told him about the success of T-20 cricket in UK and asked whether international cricket could accommodate another format. Dalmiya said that in his part of the world the game was thriving. His famous quote was, ‘when there’s a Test match in Calcutta, there are 100,000 people inside the ground and 100,000 people outside the ground.’

But all that changed four years later when India won the first T-20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007. BCCI hadn’t taken the tournament seriously and sent a second string team. But that team had a smart leader, a certain M.S.  Dhoni.  Once India won the title beating arch-rivals Pakistan, the interest for the new format went through the roof.

Cricket landscape was also changing in India at that point and more dynamic and young businessmen like Lalit Modi and N. Srinivasan were taking charge. They saw the huge potential a domestic T-20 tournament would have and the IPL was launched. Rest of the world followed suit with their own lucrative T-20 league and the rest as they say is history.



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Nethmika and Sachintha brighten day one

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All Island Schools Games Athletics Championships

by Reemus Fernando

Jumper Nethmika Madushani Herath of Nannapurava MV, Bibila and thrower Thareen Sachintha of St. Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya produced outstanding feats as they reached their personal best performances on day one of the All Island Schools Games Athletics Championships at the Sugathadasa Stadium on Friday.The Asian Youth Athletics Championship participant Herath missed the meet record of the Under 18 girls’ triple jump by just five centimetres but she managed to reach her personal best with an outstanding 11.96 metres performance.

The national junior record holder of the long jump event will be competing in two other events during this meet. She came to the meet with an added feather on her cap after obtaining top grades for her O/L exam (8As, 1B).Thurstan College sprinter who obtained nine ‘A’s at the recently held exam also made his presence felt qualifying from the Under 18 boys’ 400 metres.

St. Peter’s thrower Thareen Sachintha hurled the javelin to a distance of 60.02 metres to win the Under 18 boys’ event. With his notable feat Sachintha has helped his school keep the first place of this event in their possession since 2019.The day one witnessed two new meet records being established with Ovini Chandrasekara of Bishop’s College and Uvindu Sudaraka of Rahula College, Matara creating new marks in the Under 20 girls’ and boys’ shot put events.

Chandrasekara was the only athlete to break the 12 metres barrier as she cleared 12.72 metres to win. Asvitha Sundaresan of OKI International, Kelaniya was placed second with a feat of 10.62 metres, while St. Bridget’s Convent athlete Kavya Jayasooriya cleared 10.19 metres.

Sudharaka’s new meet record mark was 15.43 metres. Boys from Jaffna made a clean sweep in the Under 20 boys’ pole vault. S. Kobisan of Hindu College, Jaffna won with a feat of 4.10 metres. J. Kasmithan of Mahajana College (3.90m) and I. Abinayan of Arunodaya College (3.70m) were placed second and third respectively.

Oshini wins third consecutive title

Promising jumper Oshini Kodikara of St. Lawrence’s Convent, Wellawatta won her third consecutive age group title of the year when she cleared 5.50 metres to win the Under 16 girls’ long jump event. She was the winner of both the Junior National Championship and the Sir John Tarbat Senior Athletics Championships which were held early this year.

Pavani Uthpala of Manampitiya Sinhala MV, Dimbulagala (Under 16 girls’ discus throw 28.41m) and S. Thirubashitha of S. Thomas’ Preparatory School, Colombo (Under 14 boys’ high jump 1.74 metres) were the winners of the other events. Sandil Hettiarachchi of Colombo International also cleared 1.74 metres in the Under 14 boys’ high jump.

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Lithium, Ganuka Under 14 boys’ doubles champions

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National Tennis Championships 2022 

Lithium Jayabandu of Ananda College, Colombo and Ganuka Fernando of St. Peter’s College, Bambalapitiya clinched the Under-14 boys’ doubles title at the National Tennis Championships concluded at the Sri Lanka Tennis Association courts in Colombo on Wednesday.

Jayabandu and Fernando rallied around magnificently and went on to beat the combination of Mayanka Perera of S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia and Rehan Gunawardhane of Carey College 3-6, 6-3, 10-4 in a thrilling final encounter.

Meanwhile, Gehansa Methnadi of Musaeus College and Githmi Fernando of Ave Maria Convent, Negombo won the Under-14 girls doubles title when they defeated Venuli Jayasinghe of Maliyadeva Girls’ College, Kurunegala and Sandithi Usgodaarachchi of Musaeus College 6-3, 6-1 in straight sets. The boys’ and girl’s Under-14 doubles of the National Tennis Championships were delayed as most of the junior players were on national duty competing at the ITF Junior Tournaments.

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The Indian CEO Forum Partners with the Colombo Rowing Club for the Madras-Colombo Regatta

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The Indian CEO Forum (ICF) In association with LANKA IOC (LIOC) and POWER TECH Cement partnered with the Colombo Rowing Club for The Madras-Colombo Regatta’ which is considered to be the oldest regatta in the world between two cities of different countries. As per the tradition, The High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka H.E Gopal Baglay was the chief guest at this year’s edition held at the Colombo Rowing Club on Saturday the 26th November 2022.

This year it was the 81st edition of the event and was supported by the Indian CEO forum in Sri Lanka. Speaking at the event, the High Commissioner said that India will continue to row together with Sri Lanka in the race against common challenges and it is but natural for the people of India and the people of Sri Lanka to work together and build bonds. The Indian CEO forum stepping in to assist and partner with the Colombo Rowing club for this event is a clear example of how the neighbors encourage and support each other.

“The Indian CEO Forum along with two other member companies — Lanka IOC and Power Tech Cement — have come forward to sponsor this exclusive event and make it a success. This is a great boost for rowing in Sri Lanka, especially at a time the country is trying its level best to regain glory in all aspects,” said the President of the Rowing Club, Dimuth Gunawardena. “I am extremely thankful to Mr T S Prakash and Mr Kishore Reddy along with Mr Nagaraj who made this happen” Gunawardena added.

T S Prakash, the president of the ICF said “we are really happy that we are associated with this event and member companies are extremely happy that such a partnership was established”.

Kishore Reddy who is the vice president and Chairman membership of the ICF as well as the President of the Sri Lanka India Society said “The Madras Colombo Regatta has immense potential to be a permanent feature of the sporting calendar considering the history of the event and the traditions associated with it. We will work together with the Colombo Rowing Club to take this to the next level”.

“We are glad to be the sponsors of the event and were not really aware of an event with such history before Mr. Kishore Reddy mentioned it” said Manoj Gupta, Managing Director of Lanka IOC. “we look forward to supporting the Colombo Rowing club for the next event as well” he added.

Gaurav Mehta, the Managing Director of DHT cement and Power Tech Cement who were co-sponsors of the event mentioned ” we are happy that the newest brand of cement in Sri Lanka (Power Tech) has partnered with the oldest Regatta in the island. The event exceeded my expectation and we are proud that we are part of this and contributed to the success of the event”.

Sagala Ratnayake who was the guest of honour and also a past Oarsman who had rowed many times at the venue said that he was happy to see the partnership between the ICF and the Rowing Club.

The first-ever Madras-Colombo Rowing Regatta was held way back in 1898 and is considered the oldest sporting encounter held between India and Sri Lanka.This time, the rivalry resumed after a break of three years due to the pandemic.

Traditionally, the Madras Boat Club and the Colombo Rowing Club host the Regatta alternatively and this year it was the Colombo Rowing Club’s turn to host the Indian team. ” we are extremely thankful to the Colombo Rowing Club for hosting us and for their great hospitality” said the President of the Madras Boat Club Mr Subramanium. ” We will also try our best to match this hospitality, if not exceed when we host this event next year” he added.

The main event of the Regatta is the Men’s boat race which is considered to be the second oldest boat race in the world, second only to the famous Oxford-Cambridge boat race. The events were for men and women over a distance of 1000 metres. The winners of the Men’s event were Colombo and were awarded the prestigious Deepam Trophy while the Adyar Trophy was awarded to the Madras team who were the Women’s champions. The overall champions of the 81st Madras Colombo Regatta was Colombo Rowing Club.

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