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Where is the accountability?



The Sri Lankan think tank’s dubious policies have seen the team failing to qualify automatically for this year’s World Cup. The time is up for Pramodaya Wickramasinghe and his selection panel.

by Rex Clementine

Being held accountable for the decisions you make is not just an area pertaining to the corporate world but to every walk of life. If you behave in an irresponsible manner not only do you get kicked out from a club, even your relatives tend to distance you. The only species that seem to be exempted from this rule are the selectors.

The current national selection panel resumed its tenure with a highly publicized fitness regime. They looked to be targeting some of the seniors but to their credit, the seniors fell in line meeting minimum fitness standards. Then, inexplicably they were kicked out from white-ball cricket as the selectors launched a youth policy.

Risk-taking is part of the job of selectors. But they should not behave like a bull in a China shop. There’s no point in burning bridges.

Leading up to the last World Cup, the selection panel at that point realized that one of the problems the national cricket team faced was that they were unable to bat out 50 overs. They realized that someone who could play the anchor role was needed and Test captain Dimuth Karunaratne was not only brought back to play ODI cricket after a five-year hiatus, he was made captain as well.

Dimuth was a limited ODI cricketer but he did a decent job both as captain and opening batsman. But the current selection panel ended that experiment without doing proper research. It was like the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government terminating the Light Railways project.

Now we are feeling the pinch with the Sri Lankan team getting bowled out for totals like 73 and 76 in back-to-back ODIs unable to last 20 overs leave alone 50.

The selectors’ much hyped-up fitness regime has been thrown out of the window as well. When the fitness protocol was started the media was constantly kept in the loop as to how the players fared in their fitness drills, but now it is a well-kept secret. Wonder why? That’s because some of the selectors’ pets have failed miserably to maintain fitness standards.

Why the national cricket team fared so badly in the T-20 World Cup in Australia last year was because they carried players who had failed fitness tests. We challenge the selectors to deny our story.

The selectors’ tenure should have ended soon after the T-20 World Cup as Danushka Gunathilaka was arrested in Sydney. The selectors had blundered by retaining their blue-eyed boy on tour even though he was injured. Eventually, he brought the nation shame and condemnation as New South Wales police arrested him moments after Sri Lanka were knocked out of the World Cup. It will be interesting to find out whether Danushka also had failed fitness tests last year although the selectors kept picking him.

Now that Sri Lanka have failed to qualify for the World Cup directly, there needs to be fresh thinking that will ensure there are no more mess-ups during the qualifying round and you pick a team that lasts 50 overs, not one that becomes an international shame unable to last 20 overs.

Yes, Sri Lanka did win the Asia Cup in the T-20 format under the current selectors’ watch but instead of that success becoming a springboard for higher achievements, they became cocky and thought everything was tickety-boo tolerating unfit and undisciplined players.

There’s very little progress you are going to make in any walk of life without discipline.

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Novak Djokovic & Carlos Alcaraz to meet in French Open 2023 semi-finals




Carlos Alcaraz won his first Grand Slam title at the 2022 US Open (pic BBC)

Top seed Carlos Alcaraz will face Novak Djokovic in the French Open semi-finals after crushing Stefanos Tsitsipas to set up the highly anticipated clash.

Spain’s Alcaraz, 20, won 6-2 6-1 7-6 (7-5) against the Greek fifth seed.

Serbia’s Djokovic survived a quarter-final scare from Karen Khachanov to keep his bid for a record 23rd men’s Grand Slam singles title alive.  Djokovic, 36, was in danger of falling two sets behind against the Russian but prevailed 4-6 7-6 (7-0) 6-2 6-4.

The third seed could become the first man to win all four majors at least three times. But if he is going to do that he must come through his toughest test yet when he meets US Open champion Alcaraz in the last four on Friday.

(BBC Sports)

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Sri Lanka confident World Cup qualifiers will go well



Angelo Mathews bats during training at Suriyawewa ahead of the third ODI against Afghanistan.

Rex Clementine
at Suriyawewa

Having failed to qualify automatically for the World Cup later this year, Sri Lanka will be flying shortly to Zimbabwe to secure one of the two remaining slots for the sport’s showpiece event. But before that they have got to finish off the ODI series against Afghanistan and the former champions will be hoping that they will be able to clinch the series prior to flying off to Harare.

After losing the first ODI by six wickets, Sri Lanka bounced back to square the series with a 132-run win on Sunday. That was a match where they basically produced the perfect game and ticked all the boxes.

The top order gave a solid start before the middle order capitalized on it and the lower middle order finished things off in style scoring 109 runs from the last ten overs. Sri Lanka piled up 323 for six and Afghanistan were never in the hunt as they were shot out for 191.

“The last game was a perfect exhibition of our plans. Everything was executed well. Since we had wickets in hand we could take risks. We could double the score and that was the plan. That’s what we want to do,” Sri Lanka’s Batting Coach Naveed Nawaz told journalists.

Prior to this series, we had a free period and we worked a lot on players’ fitness at the High-Performance Center. During this series we brought in a dietician and planned our food patterns. There is also a psychologist around. This is all done in a bid to establish whatever we have lost in the last few years,” Nawaz added.

While Sri Lanka are fretting over World Cup qualifications, there’s no such trouble for Afghanistan. Their captain Hashmatullah Shahidi told journalists that they will be one of the dark horses during the World Cup.

“Our ratings are improving day by day and match by match. We believe that we can do something special in this World Cup. We will be one of the best teams in the World Cup. We are the dark horses. The Asian conditions will suit our spin bowlers and we are excited,” Hashmatullah Shahidi said.

For today’s series decider leg-spinner Rashid Khan is expected to make a comeback having missed the first two ODIs due to a back injury.

“He is obviously our star performer. We didn’t want to take any risks with him as we have the Asia Cup and the World Cup. We will assess his situation during training and make a call whether he is ready to feature in the final game. It will mean a lot to us to come here to Sri Lanka and beat them in their own backyard,” the Afghan captain said.

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Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh reject PCB’s hybrid model?



Asia Cup:

Have Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh formally rejected the hybrid model proposed by Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for the Asia Cup? That seems to be the latest on the imbroglio that has led to prolonged uncertainty over staging of the six-national continental championship. Sri Lanka is set to be the host.

According to the news coming in from Pakistan, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) and Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) have written to the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) formally rejecting the host PCB’s formula of conducting four games in Pakistan and rest of the matches in the UAE, thereby upholding the position of the BCCI which has been opposed to the model.

The development was revealed by Rashid Latif. “India and 3 countries, except Pakistan, rejected Hybrid model for Asia cup, All agreed on one venue due to logistics and financial issues. Might be a Zoom meeting soon or a general meeting in Dubai in a few days to finalise the matter (Sic),” the former Pakistan captain said in a Twitter post. When contacted by Cricbuzz, Latif confirmed the news and also guaranteed the authenticity of this update.

“I have information from independent sources that four countries have rejected the model and it is now a formality that the Asia Cup will be moved out of Pakistan,” Latif, a highly respected former captain, told cricbuzz on Tuesday morning. Asked if Pakistan would participate in the tournament, he said it should. “I feel Pakistan should and will.”

However, there was no official clarity on the topic until late in the evening yesterday.

Previously cricbuzz had reported, quoting an SLC official, that Sri Lanka were prepared to host the championship if allotted by the ACC.

The six-team Asia Cup, tentatively scheduled to start in the second week of September, is seen as a significant precursor to the World Cup in October-November. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Nepal are to take part in the 17-game championship.


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