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The False prophet



by Rex Clementine

Throughout the history of Christianity, we have seen false prophets emerging at various times. St. Matthew in his gospel  quotes Jesus of warning his disciples that there will be false prophets who preach in his name. One such false prophet was exposed in a report submitted to Minister of Sports by a panel that investigated Sri Lanka’s T20 World Cup campaign where the team failed miserably and there was more attention paid for off the field activities than on field performance. There was so much distraction in Australia that in the end Danushka Gunathilaka was arrested in Sydney and charged with sexual assault.

The panel recommends strong punishment for Danushka so that others will learn a lesson and there won’t be any such incidents in the future. Country’s cricket hierarchy had several occasions to put Danushka on track but they let him off the hook every time.  At least on four occasions he was given a mere slap on the wrist when he had misbehaved. They were selective about punishment. Someone like Kamil Mishara was not so lucky. He was straight away recalled from a tour and was taught a lesson.

The panel wants to go soft on Chamika Karunaratne on the count of double jeopardy as he has been already fined. Careful reading of the report gives you the impression that Chamika has hoodwinked the committee.

There’s a joke in cricket circles.  Two seasons ago Chamika was bought at the IPL auction by Knight Riders. Team owner Shah Rukh Khan was asked what aspect of Chamika had impressed him. The Bollywood star had replied, ‘Chamika’s acting.’

While reiterating on the need to maintain high levels of fitness, the committee has failed to note that after the Asia Cup win, fitness tests were made null and void and that was one reason for the team’s horrendous show in Australia. After the Asia Cup everyone was on a high and the players had been given too much freedom.

The report also reveals that four other players were fined during the World Cup in Australia for breaking curfew. It’s also said that there may be a smoking culture within the team as there had been cigarette butts on the floors of the hotel the team was staying in Australia. That’s not something to be alarmed of as from Kagiso Rabada to K.L. Rahul all love a smoke or two. What needs to be found out is whether anyone is into drugs.

The report finds fault with SLC bosses for providing false information before the commission and some key office bearers are in trouble. It is noted that a dozen and half officials travelled to Australia on business class and were given allowances of USD 7000 each for a ten day stay. The allowances alone cost the board more than 100,000 USD while the airfare cost more than 25 million rupees.

One particular Executive Committee official wasn’t happy with a business class ticket and flew first class. Misuse of funds and privileges by Ex-Co members has been criticized in the report while some holding responsible positions are in trouble for holding back information and even telling lies.

The panel also recommended that visits to casinos during tours to be banned and didn’t buy into the story that casinos were the only place players could go and eat after games as most of the restaurants were closed. It was further recommended to allow wives on tour. But the panel had failed to find out why wives were stopped from touring in the first place.

A very good recommendation is player education on dos and don’ts while on tour as you are an ambassador representing your country.

That and all have been done on multiple occasions and while majority of the players are well mannered and well behaved, it is one or two bad eggs that bring constant trouble. It is those serial offenders that you need to kick out but sadly in cricket circles they have got too many godfathers. Otherwise when a Supreme Court judge recommended a two year suspension for someone for lack of remorse after a serious offence, why would you overrule it and reduce it to one year and then further cut it down to six months.

As for the false prophet, he was interviewed by the panel and he had spilled the names of his acquaintances who include powerful cricket officials, selectors, coaches, managers and players. The danger is that younger players are encouraged to follow the false prophet and unless they do so might  face marginalization.

The report is somewhat flawed. For example it says that Danushka Gunathilaka’s incident happened after the Brisbane game when curfew had been relaxed. But the incident happened in Sydney and the committee had not done their homework. Their recommendations to take legal action against misbehaving and dishonest cricket officials could see major changes taking place at Maitland Place. An interesting week is ahead of us.

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Track and field action from Diyagama



Olympian Sumedha Ranasinghe was the winner of the men’s javelin throw as he cleared a distance of 78.31 metres.

The Track and Field season commenced with some of the best athletes in the senior and Under 20 age categories producing notable performances during the two-day Junior and Senior Selection Trial concluded at Diyagama on Tuesday. Here are some action pictures from the day two of the event.

(Pix by Kamal Wanniarachchi)

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Dharshana’s false start dampen an otherwise remarkable day



Tharushi Karunaratne beat Nadeesha Ramanayake to win the women’s 400 metres.

by Reemus Fernando

Sprinter Aruna Dharshana gave athletics fans both joy and heartache on an otherwise remarkable day as the Junior and Senior Track and Field trials concluded with a number of athletes achieving their personal bests at Diyagama yesterday.

Athletics analysts were waiting for Dharshana to reach his personal best in the men’s 400 metres final after the Army athlete produced the best performance in the heats where as many as five athletes clocked sub 47 seconds. When Dharshana followed up his 200 metres winning time of 21.12 seconds with a feat of 46.43 seconds in the 400 metres many expected him to produce a sub 46 seconds performance in the final.

But the shocking foul start meant that he will have to wait for more than a month to test his true potential. Incidentally, Kalinga Kumarage, who was off-colour in the heats (47.51 secs – second in heat 3) won the final with a feat of 46.27 seconds. However, 100 metres sprinter Medhani Jayamanne who was disqualified for a foul start in the women’s 100 metres heats was not so unlucky, as athletics officials gave her an opportunity to compete in the women’s 100 metres final, though her place was (2nd) not recognised. She clocked 12.16 seconds in the final.

Chamod Yodasinghe reached his personal best to win the men’s 100 metres.

In Dharshana’s absence four others, namely, Kumarage, R.N. Rajakaruna, Dinuka Deshan and Pabasara Niku clocked sub 47 seconds.

In the corresponding women’s 400 metres, schoolgirl Tharushi Karunaratne continued to shock her senior counterparts. Having won the women’s 800 metres on day one, the Ratnayake Central prodigy also bagged the 400 metres victory as she clocked 53.41 seconds to beat Asian Championship participant Nadeesha Ramanayake.

In the men’s 100 metres Chamod Yodasinghe reached his personal best as he clocked 10.37 seconds to win the final.

In the women’s 100 metres final, Rumeshika Ratnayake clocked 12.01 seconds to win running against the wind (-2.9). In the heats, she clocked sub 12 seconds.

In the morning, Gayanthika Abeyratne finished the women’s 1500 metres just three seconds shy of her national record mark as she clocked 4:12.53 seconds to win closely followed by steeplechase national record holder Nilani Ratnayake. Abeyratne’s national record established last year stands at 4:09.12 seconds.

In the Under 20 age category events Malith Yasiru produced the second-best performance of the Asian region in the Under 20 boys’ triple jump this year when he cleared a distance of 15.43 metres to win the event.

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Sri Lankan sailing teams compete in Pakistan



The Sri Lankan national team of two sailors and one windsurfer, with the Navy team of a sailor and a windsurfer, were invited to participate at the first Chief of Navy Staff International Sailing Regatta 2023 held from March 14 to 20 in Karachi, Pakistan. Twelve countries including Australia, Bahrain, Croatia, Egypt, China, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Oman, Singapore, Thailand and Turkey had sent their teams to Karachi. The Sri Lankan national team consisted of Laser Standard sailor (ILCA 7) NGMU Ghanawardene, Sri Lanka Navy, Priyantha Gunawardene, Sri Lanka Navy participating in the Windsurfing RSX Class and Laser 4.7 (ILCA 4) sailor Tharen Nanayakkara. The Navy team consisted of Laser Standard sailor (ILCA 7) JMPL Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka Navy and WAS Weeratunge, Sri Lanka Navy participating in the Windsurfing RSX Class.

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