The need to treat legends with dignity
by Rex Clementine
The scathing remarks of Professor Charitha Herath during a COPE hearing pertaining to Sri Lanka Cricket exposed severe deficiencies in our cricket administration and the public could get a firsthand experience of how poorly the sport has been run as SLC took on former great Chaminda Vaas earlier this week.
Rather than sorting matters out behind closed doors, like it happens in professional environments, SLC opted to wash dirty linen in public and did not adhere to the best of corporate practices.
When the national cricket team’s Fast Bowling Coach David Saker left Colombo in January without informing his employers, SLC treated the Aussie with kid’s gloves. The board even didn’t mind going for an amicable settlement. Saker is a proven coach and SLC needs to be commended for the way they handled matters.
However, two weeks later, they were on the war path with another fast bowler – Chaminda Vaas. Was Vaas treated in that way because he is a local?
SLC paid Saker US$ 15,000 a month. They pay Vaas only US$ 3500. That is not correct. Vaas only asked for US$ 5000 more. But SLC made to look as if he was asking for the pound of flesh.
Interestingly, the decision that Vaas will replace Saker for the tour of West Indies was taken in the second week of February. But SLC had little communication with Vaas. Instead, they issued a media release announcing his appointment. But, the terms and conditions had not been discussed as it would happen in a professional environment.
Vaas was officially informed only on Friday, 72 hours before the team left for the Caribbean.
In previous instances when other coaches had to come in as replacements, SLC had compensated them handsomely. Nic Pothas is an example. When he replaced his former mentor Graeme Ford as Head Coach in 2017, the board paid him well. So why not Vaas? Again it’s back to square one. Is it because he was a local? Black lives do matter.
What Vaas wanted was a raise of his daily allowance from US$ 75 to US$ 200. What it meant was a raise of US$ 5000 for the entire tour of the Caribbean. But SLC chief Shammi Silva was not willing to negotiate. He would not budge an inch from his stance, which was go on the tour and come back and then we shall negotiate. Rather than taking the nation’s most successful fast bowler head on, Silva could have been better off had he handled matters diplomatically. But he did not. It has been claimed that he refused to meet Vaas. SLC has denied.
SLC officials claimed that they were willing to pay Vaas a sum of Rs. 750,000 on his return from the trip. Although it is slightly less than what Vaas had asked for, the former fast bowler would have been foolish to turn down that offer. Here’s the next interesting question. There have been several e-mail exchanges between Vaas and SLC. Did in any of those exchanges SLC mention that he will be paid the said Rs. 750,000?
There have been similar crises in cricket before. There are individuals within SLC who have handled matters completely differently.
Jayantha Dharmadasa was President of SLC when suddenly the selectors decided to fly in Sanath Jayasuriya as an additional player to England in 2006. The team and in particular Head Coach Tom Moody resisted. Dharmadasa intervened and drove home the point that having Jayasuriya in England early could turn out to be productive as he could acclimatize and be ready by the time the limited over games come. True to form Jayasuriya was in red hot form and slammed two hundreds in the ODIs and was named Player of the Series as Sri Lanka completed a 5-0 drubbing.
Mohan de Silva, another former President of SLC had to face a similar predicament after the tsunami in 2004 when players were adamant to return home but New Zealand Cricket wanted the series to go ahead. De Silva did not antagonize the players and in the meantime dealt diplomatically with hosts New Zealand and promised that the team will return the following year to complete the series. Accordingly in 2005, Sri Lanka made two trips to Kiwi land – in March to play Tests and in December to play ODIs. It was a win-win situation for all.
Such diplomacy was missing in the case of Vaas. The media release that SLC put out should have only said the board and Vaas had parted ways. Instead, it went to minute details. It should not have happened.
SLC seem to be having not many supporters these days. Their biggest supporter seems to be Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa, who took the side of the board addressing the Parliament. Namal needs to watch his steps here. As his Parliamentary colleague Professor Herath pointed out at the COPE hearing, the public does not have a good image of SLC.
IPL 2023 rule change: teams will name their playing XI after the toss
Captains in IPL 2023 will walk in with two different team sheets before handing in their final XI after the toss. That is one of the significant tweaks from the last season in the IPL’s playing conditions, which will soon be shared with the teams. The change, the IPL said in an internal note listing the various changes to playing conditions, would allow franchises to pick their best XIs based on whether they end up batting or bowling, the appropriate impact player included.
“Currently the captains have to exchange the teams before the toss,” the note, seen by ESPNcricinfo, said. “This has been changed to exchange of teams immediately post the toss, to enable teams to choose the best XI depending on whether they are batting or bowling first. It will also assist the teams to plan for the impact player.”
The IPL thus becomes the second T20 franchise tournament after the SA20 to allow teams to announce their XI post the toss. In the SA20, which recently staged its inaugural season, teams put 13 names on the team sheet initially before announcing their final XI after the toss. Former South Africa captain Graeme Smith, the SA20’s tournament director, had also said then that the move was designed to “lessen the impact of the toss” and allow a level-playing playing field based on the conditions.
The IPL has adopted a similar thought process now, with another key factor being neutralising the effect of dew, which has traditionally had a big impact at some venues in India, with teams bowling second adversely impacted.
While the toss will still matter, it should not be a case of “win toss, win match” in certain conditions with the new rule. For example, if a team that wanted to bat and then defend a total on a slow track in turning conditions is forced to bowl first, it can play an extra spinner in the starting XI, and then replace a specialist bowler with a batter in the second innings to help with the run-chase.
Other IPL playing conditions tweaks
Over rate penalty of only four fielders outside the 30-yard circle for every over not completed in the allocated time. Unfair movement of the wicketkeeper will result in a dead ball and 5 penalty runs. Unfair movement by a fielder will result in a dead ball and 5 penalty runs.
Litton, Tamim make light work of small chase after Mahmud’s maiden five-for
Openers Litton Das and Tamim Iqbal made light work of a 102-run target as Bangladesh beat Ireland by ten wickets in the third ODI in Sylhet and completed a 2-0 series win. The visitors were bowled out for 101 in 28.1 overs after the Bangladesh fast bowlers took all ten wickets in an innings for the first time in the format.
The short chase was enlivened by Tamim and Litton, who put on an exhibition of strokeplay, finishing the game in just 13.1 overs, Bangladesh’s second-shortest chase in ODIs. After Bangladesh beat Ireland by a record margin of runs in the first ODI, this was also their first ten-wicket win in ODIs.
A small crowd turned up at the picturesque Sylhet venue on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan starting, and went home shortly after sunset. Ireland’s 101 broke a sequence of five successive 300-plus totals by the side batting first on this ground.
Hasan Mahmud’s maiden five-wicket haul, Taskin Ahmed’s three-wicket burst and Ebadot Hossain’s two-for summed up the absolute dominance by the Bangladesh fast bowlers. The spinners were needed for only four overs in all with Shakib Al Hasan not getting a chance to bowl for only the third time in his ODI career. It was a day out for the quicks on the hard and bouncy Sylhet surface, a rarity among grounds in Bangladesh. The conditions prompted the team management to pick six bowlers including the three seamers.
Mahmud removed openers Stephen Doheny and Paul Stirling in a disciplined opening burst. Doheny was caught behind for 8 after scratching around for 20 balls before Stirling, dropped on 5, got to 7 before Mahmud trapped him lbw in the ninth over. The skiddy fast bowler soon picked up his third when he trapped Harry Tector lbw later in the same over. Taskin got captain Andy Balbirnie caught at first slip for just 6 as Ireland collapsed to 26 for 4 before the first powerplay was up.
Then came their only partnership of note. Lorcan Tucker and Curtis Campher added 42 runs for the fifth wicket, which effectively helped Ireland reach the three-figure mark. Campher top-scored with 36, while Tucker made 28, the only two double-figure scores in the innings.
But it was soon over. Ebadot’s in-dipper had Tucker lbw. Next ball, Ebadot clean-bowled George Dockrell for a golden duck as Ireland slipped to 68 for 6.Taskin then took a brace in his seventh over, first getting Andy McBrine to top-edge a quick bouncer before Adair inside-edged his second ball onto the stumps.
Campher was the ninth wicket that fell, top-edging Mahmud towards fine leg. Taskin took a comfortable catch, celebrating the younger team-mate’s first four-wicket haul. It soon became five when Mahmud trapped Graham Hume lbw for 3.
Tamim started the chase with a slashed four over point, before pasting the Ireland fast bowlers for boundaries through cover and square-leg. Most of Litton’s boundaries came through the covers, including a back-foot punch that looked scrumptious from every angle. Left-arm spinner Matthew Humphreys then went for two expensive overs, before the Bangladesh opening pair calmed down briefly.
Tamim lofted Humphreys for a straight six in his third over, before Litton drove Campher through the covers. Then he struck two fours off Humphreys to reach his ninth ODI fifty, before Tamim hit the winning runs.
Bangladesh 102 for 0 (Litton Das 50*, Tamim Iqbal 41*) beat Ireland 101 (Curtis Campher 36, Lorcan Tucker 28, Hasan Mahmud 5-32, Taskin Ahmed 3-26, Ebadot Hossain 2-29) by ten wickets
AA Sponsors 68th National Billiard Championship
The Automobile Association of Ceylon (AAC) will sponsor the 68th National Billiard Championship, conducted by the Billiards and Snooker Association of Sri Lanka (B & SASL) this year.
The Automobile Association of Ceylon established in 1904 is the oldest Motoring Organization in Sri Lanka,and is afiliated to the Federation Internationale De L’ Automobile, world largest Mobility Organization in Geneva, which has 150 countries under its umbrella. AAC’s prime object is to make all Road users safe.
AAC conducts annual Billiard and Snooker Tournaments for its members and also takes part in the inter-club tournaments in order to promote the cue sports. In the past, AAC members have excelled in several National Billiard and Snooker Tournaments and brought glory to the association.
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