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What Ranil can learn from cricket

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by Rex Clementine

If your grandchildren ask how bad 2020 was tell them that even Ranil Wickremesinghe couldn’t survive as the leader of UNP!

Ranil’s tenure as UNP’s leader has been noteworthy. He assumed duties as the party leader in 1994. The Sri Lankan cricket captain at that point was Arjuna Ranatunga. Since then, Sri Lanka has had 11 different Test captains; England has won a World Cup; International Cricket Council’s founder members have lost their veto powers and India has taken over as world’s leaders of cricket. Even the Catholic Church has seen three different Popes during the last 25 year – John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis I. But Ranil remains UNP’s leader!

Sir Ian Botham is the greatest cricketer produced by England in the last 50 years. So is Ranil. Not many are fit to hold a candle to Ranil when it comes to his oratory skills or his knowledge of the Constitution. But everyone is not a leader. Botham had a brief stint as England captain. When the Ashes was slipping away from England under his charge in 1981, he sensed what was in store for him and stepped down before being axed. Mike Brearley, Botham’s successor was hardly a match winner; he never scored a Test match hundred and ended up with an average of 22. But Brearley, who had degrees from Cambridge for Classics and Moral Science, was an outstanding leader. As Rodney Hogg, the Australian fast bowler put it, “Brearley had a degree in people.”

Ranil failed to see the signs. The writing was on the wall for him in the lead-up to the recent election. Instead of handing over the party reins to someone else he decided to stay put and the voters taught him an unforgettable lesson. Ranil did not have Botham’s humility to play under someone who could never match his abilities or skills.

Having stepped down from captaincy, Botham extended his fullest support to the new skipper. His impact in the 1981 series was such that it was called ‘Botham’s Ashes.’

Not Ranil, though; he dragged his feet on naming Sajith as UNP’s presidential candidate, and after naming him came up with some ill-timed moves that literally derailed his understudy’s campaign.

Ian Chappell is one of the finest captains the game has ever seen. He didn’t hesitate to take on the administration, demanding that his players be paid well and that he be part of the process where decisions were made. Chappell was so straight forward that he didn’t even spare Sir Don Bradman. Chappell was a true leader.

Ranil unfortunately while being in power didn’t fight for his rights or for those of his party members. He has absolved himself of any responsibility for the Easter Sunday attacks, claiming that he had not been invited to Security Council Meetings. Ranil shouldn’t have taken it lying down when he was kept out of those important meetings. Then after the attack, his lack of remorse during television interviews gave the impression of a man who did not feel for his people.

Chappell’s grandfather Vic Richardson also captained Australia. The best advice he gave young Chappell was ‘if you ever get a chance to captain Australia, don’t captain like a Victorian.’

Ranil too had close relatives at the helm of politics. They should have told him what ‘disce aut discede’ really meant.

Chappell even dropped his best mate Doug Walters from The Oval Test of 1972. It was the first time ever a New South Walesman did not feature in an Australian Test side. Dick Tucker, a reputed Australian journalist told Chappell that he was surprised at what the latter had done.

Chappell said something interesting: ‘Dick, If you think that I am going to pick Doug Walters because he is a mate of mine when that is not in the best interest of the team, you don’t know me. I am going to pick a team that is going to win a game. I am not going to pick up all my mates and leave out someone who I am not fond of. Ridiculous.”

Ranil has a lot to learn from Chappell. One of the first things he did after being in the opposition for more than a decade was to appoint his mate Arjun Mahendran as Governor of Central Bank. The rest, as they, say is history. After all, here’s a man who said, when President Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed Ajith Nivard Cabraal as the Governor of Central Bank, that it was like ‘picking a donkey for a Derby.’

Not just Botham and Brearley, Ranil has a lot to learn from even our own T.M. Dilshan. Not the brightest captain that we have had, Dilshan became the first Sri Lankan skipper to win a Test match in South Africa. But he lost the series. The following day he announced that he was stepping down from captaincy.

Ranil should have stepped down the day after his party was reduced to just one seat in Parliament. He is still hanging on, hoping against hope.

 



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Avishka and Sadeera power Jaffna Kings to nine wicket win

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Half tons by Avishka Fernando and Sadeera Samarawickrema powered Jaffna Kings to a nine wicket win over Dambulla Aura in the 3rd match of the LPL2022  at MRICS Hambanthota on Wednesday (07)

Dambulla Aura 121/9 in 20 overs (Jordan Cox 43; Maheesh Theekshana 3/20, Vijayakanth Vijaskanth 3/24, James Fuller 2/16, Zaman Khan 1/28)

Jaffna Kings 122/1 in 15.4 overs (Avishka Fernando 51 , Sadeera Samarawickrema 62 not out; Noor Ahamed 1/28)

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Jaffna win low scoring thriller

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Dunith Wellalage scored 30 runs as Jaffna Kings beat Galle Gladiators in the curtain-raiser of the Lanka Premier League at Suriyawewa yesterday.

Defending champions Jaffna Kings got off to a superb start as they defended 137 runs to win the curtain-raiser of the third edition of Lanka Premier League tournament against Galle Gladiators at Suriywawewa yesterday. Jaffna Kings managed only 137 runs batting first but their bowling was too good as they bowled out Galle Gladiators for 113.

Seamer Binura Fernando who returned home from Australia halfway through the ICC Men’s T-20 World Cup with a hamstring injury picked up three wickets for 22 runs while leggie Vijayakanth Viyaskanth picked up two for 20.

Galle Gladiators got off to a good start with openers Kusal Mendis and Nuwanidu Fernando adding 58 runs for the first wicket in 45 balls. Mendis made the only half-century in the game posting a 43 ball 51 with five fours before being trapped leg before wicket by Maheesh Theekshana. His dismissal saw Galle Gladiators losing their way as they collapsed. At one stage they were 97 for four and needed 41 in 24 balls but lost their last six wickets for 16 runs to go down to the strongest team in the competition.

There was not much support for Mendis as the next best score was Imad Wasim’s 17. Mendis is leading the Galle Gladiators.

Shoaib Malik and Dunith Wellalage made 30 runs each for Jaffna while Dhananjaya de Silva posted 29 from 19 balls with three fours and two sixes.

Brief Scores:

Jaffna Kings

137 all out in 19.5 overs

(Dhananjaya de Silva 29, Dunith Wellalage 30, Shoaib Malik 30, Ifthikar Ahmed 2 for eight)

Galle Gladiators

113 all out in 20 overs (Kusal Mendis 51, Imad Wasim 17, Binura Fernando 3 for 22, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth 2 for 20)

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