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The Legend of Lucky Rogers

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by Rex Clementine

Quietly, sit next to a coach giving a pep talk to Under-13 cricketers before a game and you will be left with anger and bewilderment as you eavesdrop.  Coaches teach young kids some new tricks in the trade. ‘Appeal three times vociferously and there’s a good chance that you will get a decision in your favour that would have been otherwise given not out.’ That’s the current status of our school cricket. But then, there are also the rare coaches, the Lucky Rogers type. Here’s the Lucky Rogers story.

Ananda College had had a terrific season in 2009 having won 12 games. They were skippered by Dinesh Chandimal. The title was going to be decided in the crunch game between Ananda and Royal at Ananda Mawatha. Royal had KJP. Ananda were set to secure the title after being set a paltry target of 80. But cricket is a funny game. Ananda were shot out for 78. Ruchira Palliyaguru, currently an international umpire had given five leg before wicket decisions!

Well, the obvious choice is to nail the umpire. The term ‘umpire hora’ is common in our backyard. Five leg before wicket decisions in a crunch game! But Ananda boys played like gentlemen. Their coach Lucky Rogers had instilled in them that discipline and set the standards.

“To be honest, I expected a bit of bad blood. But to my surprise, every Ananda player walked up to me, shook hands and said ‘good game sir.’ Palliyaguru told The Island.  ‘Then followed Ananda coach Mr. Lucky Rogers. He shook my hands and said thank you. That’s all. What a gentlemen.’

You don’t get many gents like Lucky Rogers. Ajantha Mendis played little cricket at school and his talent was spotted by Lucky Rogers at an academy.  The rest they say is history as Mendis gave us some memorable moments running through India’s famed batting line up comprising Sehwag-Dravid-Sachin-Ganguly-Laxman.

The legend of Lucky Rogers is not associated with just coaching. He was a legend as a player too.

“I won the outstanding schoolboy cricketer of the year award (outstations) in the year 1988 and Lucky Rogers won  it after me in 1989,” said Sanath Jayasuriya speaking to The Island. Well, that sums up the story.

Here’s bit of stats to drill Lucky Rogers greatness. He hails from Moratuwa. The famed cricket pillars of Moratuwa are St. Sebastian’s’ and Prince of Wales. But there’s a third force. Quite formidable one too; Moratu Vidyalaya. Lucky Rogers captained them at under-13, 15,17 and 19 levels. In his last year, he finished off with 1493 runs, in just ten games with an highest score of 264 not out. If you know bit of school cricket, those are stunning numbers. Not even matched by The Greatest; P.A. de Silva. Nobody else reached 1000 runs that season. Lucky did it in seven games. Mind blowing stuff.

Lucky Rogers was not just a stylish top order batsman. He  was also a superb wicketkeeper. Highly rated by his contemporaries, hardly committing a blunder behind the stumps. When he opened batting, he  was a class act, with an array of attractive strokes.

“I captained Sri Lanka Under-19 team to Bangladesh for the Asia Cup. We lost the finals to India captained by Sourav Ganguly. Lucky Rogers was a key figure in that side as we performed consistently well.  When in the mood, Lucky could put best of bowling attacks to the sword,” recalled another Sri Lanka captain; Marvan Atapattu.

When Lucky Rogers got out of school, he was quite popular in the domestic circuit piling up runs for Moratuwa Sports Club. He made quite an impact as captain too as Moratuwa were promoted to Premier League from Sara Trophy. Lucky was  jack of all trade; team’s  leading batsman, wicketkeeper and skipper, who had the knack to make things happen, despite having limited bowling resources.

In 1990s, the wicket keeping gloves of the national cricket team exchanged hands between a few players; Gamini Wickramasinghe, Chamara Dunushinghe, Pubudu Dassanayake, Rumesh Kaluwitharana and Lanka de Silva. But Lucky Rogers never got a look in.

“Well, there were financial constraints facing my family and I decided to play league cricket in Australia so that I could earn a living by playing the sport and look after my family. I guess I missed out because of that,” Lucky Rogers told The Island.

Lucky represented North Cofield for seven seasons and won the Victorian Championships twice. He is hailed down under in cricket circles as much as here. Lucky credits the values he brought to the game thanks to the coaches he had; Mr. Bernard Perera, Mr. Chandana Mahesh and Mr. Manjula Peiris. It reiterates a very pertinent point, the need to have quality coaches at school level.

Lucky Rogers is an example that you don’t have to play for Sri Lanka to leave an indelible mark in the game. He championed the cause of not so fancy teams as a schoolboy and in domestic cricket and later on when he took to coaching he taught the players finer points of the game, but more importantly to play the game in the right spirit. Men like him are rare and need to be celebrated.



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Advantage Bangladesh after Shanto ton

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The stand-in skipper scored an unbeaten 104 (Cricbuzz)

Bangladesh put themselves in a strong position in the opening Test against New Zealand after skipper Najmul Shanto struck a well-crafted century on the third day at Sylhet. Shanto remained unbeaten on 104 and was involved in an unbroken stand of 96 with Mushfiqur Rahim as the hosts went into stumps with a lead of 205.

New Zealand started off well after managing to erase the deficit even though Bangladesh were favourites to fetch the first-innings lead when play began. The visitors were trailing by 44 runs with only the tail left to bat but Kyle Jamieson and Tim Southee kept the home side at bay in the first hour before Jamieson was trapped lbw. New Zealand then managed to eke out a 7-run lead before Southee departed to give Mominul Haque his third wicket.

While Bangladesh batted out a tricky 10-over period before the lunch break, New Zealand struck immediately in the second session. Ajaz Patel got one to turn in sharply and Zakir Hasan failed to connect while attempting a nudge. As a result, the batter was trapped plumb in front to give New Zealand the first breakthrough. And then came a cruel blow in the next over as Shanto drove one straight off Southee, who got a touch before the ball hit the stumps with the non-striker Mahmudul Hasan caught short of his crease.

At 26/2, the home side needed a partnership to steady the ship. They got exactly that with Shanto and Mominul adding 90 for the third wicket. Mominul, who took time to get going, hit three boundaries in the space of five deliveries as the duo counterattacked before a drinks break. The two batters guided Bangladesh to a good position before the Tea break but the visitors struck again immediately after resumption.

This time, it was a run out again as Shanto was caught ball watching, leaving Mominul stranded. Despite the unfortunate dismissal, Bangladesh took control of the game with Shanto remaining firm at one end. Rahim, who didn’t open his account for ten deliveries, broke free against Ajaz with two boundaries in the span of three deliveries and raced to 19 off just 28 at one point.

Glenn Phillips, who had a fruitful outing with the ball in the first innings, couldn’t recreate the magic this time around as Shanto picked him apart for three boundaries in two overs. New Zealand just couldn’t create any chances before the close of play as Shanto kept going before bringing up a brilliant ton that has now firmly put Bangladesh in the driver’s seat.

Brief scores:
Bangladesh
310 & 212/3 (Najmul Shanto 104*, Mushfiqur Rahim 43*) lead New Zealand 317 (Kane Williamson 104, Glenn Phillips 42; Taijul Islam 4/109) by 205 runs

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Uganda create history, qualify for 2024 T20 WC

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Uganda qualify to the T20 World Cup for the first time (pic ICC)

For the first time in their cricketing history, Uganda qualified for the T20 World Cup after brushing aside Rwanda in their final game of the Africa region qualifier. In the process, they denied Zimbabwe a spot in the main event next year that is scheduled to be held in the West Indies and the USA.

Earlier in the competition, Namibia became the first team to clinch one of the two available spots for qualification to the tournament proper.

Going into the final round of fixtures on Thursday (November 30), Uganda were favourites to get the job done as they were up against a winless Rwanda. For Zimbabwe to usurp Uganda in the points table, they had to defeat Kenya and hope for Uganda to slip against Rwanda. However, Rwanda lost a wicket in the very first over of their innings and never recovered.

Only two batters from Rwanda managed to hit double digits with the batting lineup crumbling in stunning fashion. Eventually, Rwanda were bowled out for just 65, a total Uganda chased down with ease to prevail by nine wickets and seal their place in the 2024 T20 World Cup.

Zimbabwe did all they could from their end as the in-form captain Sikandar Raza promoted himself up the order and smashed eight sixes en route his 48-ball 82. Zimbabwe ended up posting 217 on the board as a result but that loss to Uganda four days ago came back to hurt them in the end.

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IPL auction player registration ends today (November 30)

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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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