by Rex Clementine
Faced with one of the game’s biggest corruption scandals, Indian cricket turned to the country’s Supreme Court to save the sport from its embarrassment and predicament. That nation’s highest court appointed former Chief Justice Rajendra Lodha to look into grievances of Indian cricket and later implemented the recommendations made by the judge to reform cricket in the country. As a result, one of the towering figures of world cricket and business tycoon N. Srinivasan met his waterloo. Five years on, Indian cricket board has become a vibrant unit.
From a cricket board that was run by stakeholders from cricket associations with little corporate background, Indian cricket has gone to another extreme handing over the day today running of the sport to professionals. The state association representatives are there, but after the court intervention, their roles are monitored and there are age and term limits for the officials who serve the game in an honourary capacity.
The Supreme Court ensured that there was no room for conflict of interest in Indian cricket. Some big names in the sport were cut to size. Today India is setting the benchmark for professionalism in cricket that has been followed by both England and Australia. Time was when Lord’s and MCG used to set the standards on how the game should be run. Now we are looking up to Bombay.
Fifteen years ago, if you had visited Bombay, you would have been surprised at where the Board of Control for Cricket in India was situated. The world’s richest board was at a tiny building at the Cricket Club of India, the ground where Sri Lanka played a Test match in 2009. The staircase leading to the board was narrow, dirty and was awful. A few years ago, BCCI moved to the more posh Wankehede Stadium with state of the art facilities.
Given the global television market, Indian cricket had huge potential and through the IPL the country entered new territory with cash flow entering the board coffers like never before. India did well not only to look after the current players but introduce a lucrative pension scheme for not just those who had represented India but for the country’s former First Class cricketers as well.
The lifestyles of modern players in India changed with T-20 format becoming immensely popular. But to BCCI’s credit, they did not ignore Test cricket. It is commendable to see that every year Indian cricket team playing a record number of Test matches. They are winning too, of all places at Gabba, where Australia had been unbeaten for more than 30 years. So strong is their bench strength that you see at occasions India fielding a Test team and an ODI side at the same time in different continents. The rest of the world can only watch and marvel.
While most of us Asian nations are heavily dependent on foreign coaching staff, India has employed all local coaches. The likes of Ravi Shastri, Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid are proving that they are as good as Justin Langer, Trevor Bayliss and Andy Flower.
India also are lucky to have players like Virat Kohli whose work ethic is outrageous. With the captain setting the benchmark, the rest of the team merely follow. India implemented the minimum fitness standards like the two kilometer run much before other teams and there’s no room in Indian cricket for the fainthearted. Oh by the way, there are no protests in Madras, Calcutta or Bangalore to include players who fail fitness tests. We have so much to learn from India.
Joes and HFC win Under-20 basketball titles
Due to the pandemic, there wasn’t much sporting activities in schools for two years and basketball players showed lot of enthusiasm as their sport was in full swing since April holidays. Sri Lanka Schools Basketball Association despite many challenges successfully conducted the All Island Under-20 basketball tournament at Sugathadasa Stadium this week. Girls and boys in ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ Divisions competed over a month and there were some thrilling encounters.St. Joseph’s College, Darley Road and Holy Family Convent, Bambalapitiya cruised to victory in the ‘A’ Division final. While St. Joseph’s beat Royal College in the boys’ final, HFC overcame Mahamaya College, Kandy. Both teams cruised to victory and were hardly troubled throughout the campaign. Interestingly, both teams are coached by the same individuals with Roshan Randima as Head Coach and Shane Daniel as his deputy. Their teams over the last decade or so have come up with consistent performances and have always remained among the top three.
St. Joseph’s took an early 24-09 lead in the first quarter and although Royal contained them in the second quarter conceding just seven points, they themselves could not score big. Both teams scored 16 points each in the third quarter and Royal matched St. Joseph’s skills in the final quarter but the damage done in the first quarter proved to be costly as Joes won by 16 points with the final score being 68-52.Mahamaya scored 14 points compared to HFC’s 16 in the first quarter in the girls’ final but from thereon HFC were unstoppable winning by a comfortable 31 points. The final score was 70-39.
In the boys’ category, St. Joseph’s captain Shehan Fernando was adjudged the Most Valuable Player while Keith Costa also from St. Joseph’s was declared the Best Defensive Player. Royal’s Yuganan Baskaran was named Best Offensive Plyaer. In the girls’ segment, Onela Dunuwille and Minoli Direkze of HFC emerged as Most Valuable Player and Best Defensive Player respectively. Chithera Samarakoon of Mahamaya was the Best Offensive Player. The tournament was sponsored by Gaja Group. The Group’s CEO Gayath Jayasinghe, a former Sri Lanka basketball player was the Chief Guest.
Sri Lanka Athletics to seek private sector support to send team for World Junior Championships
Junior Nationals Athletics Championships rescheduled to June 7-10
by Reemus Fernando
Sri Lanka Athletics will seek support from the private sector to meet the massive costs involved in sending all athletes reaching qualifying standards for the World Junior Championships which will be held from August 1-6 in Cali, Colombia.The track and field governing body, which met this week to reschedule the Junior National Championship which was postponed due to the curfew imposed on May 9, also discussed ways of finding funds to send all athletes who reach qualifying standards for the World Junior Championships.
Sri Lanka Athletics has been sending all athletes reaching qualifying standards for the World Junior events in recent years. But the massive cost of airfare in the midst of the prevaling economic crisis has made it difficult for the sport’s governing body to bear the full cost involved in sending a strong team.So far nine athletes have reached qualifying standards for the biennial event and there is opportunity for other athletes to reach entry standards for the event when the postponed Junior National Athletics Championship is held from June 7 to 10 at the Sugathadasa Stadium.
“There is a massive cost involved in sending athletes for the Cali event. With the increased airfare it will cost around 1.5 million rupees per athlete. If we opt to send only the top two athletes and those who can find funds by their own it will not be fair by the others who reach qualifying standards. Because of that we will seek private sector support to send the full team,” a senior official of Sri Lanka Athletics told The Island on Friday.
Earlier there were plans to send a pruned down team but a couple of athletes have obtained private sponsorships for their travel compelling athletics officials to find sponsorships for others as well.Of the nine athletes who have reached qualifying standards so far, four are from three schools in Colombo. At least one athlete from outstations and an athlete from a school in Colombo have received the support of sponsors to meet their expenses during the meet.
“We will request leading private sector firms to support junior athletes. We will also seek the support of friendly sports federations like Sri Lanka Cricket to support us at this difficult moment,” said the official.
Tharushi Karunaratne (800m, 400m), Jayeshi Uththara (400m) and Amesha Hettiarachchi (400m hurdles) in the girls’ category and Sithum Jayasundara (400m), Dhanuka Dharshana (400m hurdles), Kaveesha Bandara (110m hurdles), Pasindu Malshan (triple jump), Hirusha Hashen (long jump) and Rumesh Tharanga (javelin throw) in the boys’ category are the athletes who have reached qualifying standards for the Cali event. Incidentally, Tharushi Karunaratne and Sithum Jayasundara will be taking part in their second consecutive World Junior Championships after having represented the country at the last edition in Nairobi. Sri Lanka did well to reach the final in the mix relay in Nairobi where they were ranked fifth with a time of 3:26.39 secs.
Junior National Championships from June 7 to 10
The Junior National Athletics Championship which was postponed after the morning session on May 9 will commence from where it stopped on June 7. According to athletics officials the events which could not be completed on May 9 will be held on June 7 and there will not be any changes to the schedule of the next three days.
Shoriful ruled out of SL Tests with wrist injury
Bangladesh’s injury woes continue as pace bowler Shoriful Islam has now been ruled out of the remainder of the ongoing Test series against Sri Lanka due to a wrist injury. Shoriful is the latest addition to the hosts’ injury list as they earlier lost Taskin Ahmed (shoulder) and Mehedy Hasan (finger).
“Shoriful Islam had a contusion of the right hand while batting. After the fourth day’s play an X-ray was carried out which has revealed a fracture on the base of the 5th metacarpal bone,” physio Bayjedul Islam said in a statement on Thursday.
“Such injuries tend to take around three weeks to heal followed by a couple of week’s rehab. He will not be available to play for four to five weeks.”
Shoriful was retired out on Day 4 after pacer Kasun Rajitha’s short delivery hit him on the gloves. Bangladesh were forced to end their innings at 465 following his injury.
Cricbuzz has learnt that Shoriful is unlikely to be available for the Test series against West Indies as well. Bangladesh will leave on June 6 to take part in the full fledged tour of West Indies, comprising two Tests, three ODIs and as many T20Is.
Meanwhile, the BCB has retained the same squad for the second Test against Sri Lanka that will begin on May 23. The board opted to not name a replacement for Shoriful since they have a big squad to pick from.
“We did not take any replacement for Shoriful as we have got a big squad in hand,” BCB chief selector Minhajul Abedin told Cricbuzz. ‘’We have to see fitness of Hasan Mahmud (who was in discussion as a possible replacement of Shoriful) and though we are not considering him in this series, if he is fit we might pick him for the Bangladesh ‘A’ team tour of West Indies.”
Mominul Haque (C), Tamim Iqbal, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Najmul Hossain Shanto, Mushfiqur Rahim, Litton Kumar Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Nayeem Hasan, Taijul Islam, Syed Khaled Ahmed, Yasir Ali Chowdhury, Quazi Nurul Hasan Sohan, Musaddek Hossain, Ebadot Hossain Chowdhury, Shohidul Islam, Rezaur Rahman Raja.
PM blames ‘last administration’ for country’s current crisis
SJB, FSP agree on common agenda
SJB, SLFP decry members switching sides as nine ministers are sworn in
‘Dates have the highest sugar content to fight Coronavirus’
U.S. Congress to probe assets fleecing by US citizens of Sri Lankan origin
Sunday Island 27 December – Headlines
News5 days ago
BASL reiterates call for abolition of Executive Presidency
Features6 days ago
Whose saviour is Ranil? Sri Lanka’s or the President’s
Features5 days ago
Sri Lanka: Debt crisis, neocolonialism and geopolitical rivalry
News1 day ago
Canadian declaration of ‘Tamil genocide’ may influence European parliaments, EU – Maj. Gen. (retd.) Gallage
News6 days ago
Political horse trading in full swing alleges JVP
News4 days ago
Unprovoked attacks: AG asked to consider taking legal action against MR, others under ICCPR
News5 days ago
Canadian HC: SL sets gold standard for political humour
Features6 days ago
The River that Sajith Premadasa Did Not Cross