Sri Lanka’s fitness trainer Grant Ludon keeps a close eye as players complete the two kilometer run.
by Rex Clementine
When Sri Lanka announced Mickey Arthur as their Head Coach, it was just a matter of time that he confronted some players on their fitness. Along the way, he had dropped Dilruwan Perera, Prabath Jayasuriya, Avishka Fernando and Bhankua Rajapaksa. The first to speak against the stiff fitness regime is Rajapaksa and it can be assured that there are many others who are moaning about the two kilometer run that they are supposed to do in less than eight minutes and 30 seconds and the skin fold test.
It’s not just over as yet. The eight minute 30 seconds given for the two kilometer run is just average standard. It is supposed to get stiffer by next year where players are supposed to finish the run in less than eight minutes, like it is done in rest of the world.
Head Coach Arthur and Director of Cricket Tom Moody have got good reason to argue as well. If Sri Lanka’s fast bowling coach can finish two kilometers in less than seven minutes and 30 seconds at the age of 47, why not the players who are 20 years younger than him.
Opening batsman Avishka Fernando has learned it the hard way. One of the most promising young batsmen in international cricket, Fernando failed the skin fold test. As a result, he was sent home from Galle in January having joined the team for the two match Test series against England.
Then he failed the fitness test and was overlooked for the tours of West Indies and Bangladesh. Fernando has got his act together and has improved his fitness. He now finds himself back in the side for the tour of England. But he has missed out on a central contract. Quite harsh one may say but given the team’s poor fitness standards, there’s only one way players are going to learn.
Exciting times are ahead as we are going to see two attacking batsmen in Danushka Gunathilaka and Avishka Fernando opening the batting in England. Well, not if Gunathilaka fails a second fitness test. Both him and Dhananjaya de Silva need to finish the two kilometer run in less than eight minutes and 30 seconds if they need to be on that plane to England.
New fitness standards are going to help improve the game overall. You’ll see new energy levels on the field, better running between the wickets and more importantly batters being able to bat for long and bowlers having the stamina to go for longer spells.
Sidath Wettimuny during the Lord’s Test in 1984 had an opportunity to go onto become the first Sri Lankan to score a double hundred. It would have been quite an achievement as well as he would have become the first Sri Lankan to score a hundred, first Sri Lankan to 150 mark and then the double hundred. But he was dismissed for 190 on the third day of the Test match having batted for two full days. Wettimuny always says that if he had the fitness levels of the current players he would have achieved much more.
Dates announced for India’s tour of Sri Lanka
by Rex Clementine
India will send a second string team to Sri Lanka later this month for a six-match bilateral series. The teams will be involved in three ODIs and three T-20 Internationals with all games taking place in a bio-secure bubble at RPS. It is unlikely that spectators will be accommodated for the series due to current rising numbers of COVID cases. RPS underwent extensive renovation recently and hasn’t hosted a game in two years.
India have made tremendous progress in the game in the last ten years that they are able to send their main team to England, that too an extended squad and then send a second string team that looks not too bad on paper to Sri Lanka. IPL has opened up a whole lot of new opportunities for India.
India must be confident of winning in Sri Lanka even with a second string side. For example, their main team whitewashed Sri Lanka 5-0 in ODIs when they toured here in 2017 and the following year at the Nidahas Trophy, they sent a second string team and won the competition where Sri Lanka even failed to make it to the finals.
Sri Lanka’s players or SLC will not be complaining. Tours by India will result in huge profits for SLC. Board of Control for Cricket in India has been extremely generous in helping out Sri Lanka coming in for hastily arranged series previously to bail out SLC that was feeling the pinch. This tour, however, was part of the Future Tour Programme.
In the three match ODI series, 30 points will be up for grabs in the ICC World Cup qualifiers and pitted against a weaker Indian team, Sri Lanka will be fancying their chances to win and boost their opportunities of automatic qualification for the sport’s showpiece event. At the moment Sri Lanka are languishing last at 13th position.
India will arrive on the 28th of June and after mandatory quarantine they will be allowed to train. The ODIs will be played on the 13th, 16th and 18th of July followed by the T-20s on the 21st, 23rd and 25th of July.
– 13th July – RPS – 2.30pm
– 16th July – RPS – 2.30pm
– 18th July – RPS – 2.30pm
– 21st July – RPS – 7.00pm
– 23rd July – RPS – 7.00pm
– 25th July – RPS – 7.00pm
Shikhar Dhawan (Captain), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (Wicket-keeper), Sanju Samson (Wicket-keeper), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Vice-captain), Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya
Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, Sai Kishore, Simarjeet Singh.
Ranindu draws with grandmaster, settles for third place
Asian Zonal Hybrid Chess Championship 2021
National Champion Ranindu Dilshan Liyanage fought hard to secure a draw against grandmaster Enamul Hussain on the final day as he settled for the third position of the Asian Zonal Hybrid Chess Championship 2021.
Starting with the Sicilian Defense the grandmaster sacrificed a pawn and got a strong knight against Ranindu’s bad bishop early in the game. He used all tricks available to earn points as a win would have earned him the gold medal and the possibility to play in the Chess World Cup 2021. But Ranindu had other ideas as the Anandian achieved the third spot winning six points from nine games.
Bangladesh grandmaster Ziaur Rahman (2434) also secured a draw in a hard fought game against 11-year-old, Manon Reja Neer who is also from Bangladesh and settled for eight points. Bangladeshi grandmaster Enamul Hussain needed a full point to tie with the leader but finally settled for the second position as he drew with Ranindu. He had 7 ½ points.
Grandmaster Ziaur won the gold medal and the ticket to the FIDE Chess World Cup. A total of US$ 3,000.00 is distributed among the winners. While the champion receives US$ 1,000.00, the runners up wins US$ 700.00. Ranindu is entitled for US$ 500.00 as he was placed third.
FIDE master Susal de Silva of Nalanda College met his colleague A.A.C.B. Amarasinghe of SJP Chess Club and the game ended in favour of Amarasinghe. Amarasinghe scored six points out of nine games. There were five other players who had scored six points each but he was placed eighth according to the tie breakers. Susal had a total of five points after nine games. Amarasinghe too is entitled for US$ 100.00.
The Asian Zonal Chess Championship 2021, the preliminary event for the FIDE World Chess Cup 2021 for the South Asian region started on June 1 and was held on the Tornelo platform. A total of 39 players from South Asian countries of Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Maldives and Sri Lanka participated in the event. India is considered a single zone by FIDE and has a direct entry to the FIDE World Cup.
The Bangladesh Chess Federation conducted the event from Dhaka and the Sri Lankan players competed from the Chess Federation of Sri Lanka headquarters, Gangodawila, Nugegoda. The event which concluded on Wednesday was conducted according to the Swiss System of nine rounds.
Yupun set to climb up Road to Olympic rankings
Yupun Abeykoon would be delighted to have placed fourth against a solid field that included American veteran Mike Rodgers and Ivorian Arthur Cissé.
by Reemus Fernando
Sri Lanka’s top ranked sprinter Yupun Abeykoon did well to finish fourth at the Rome Diamond League meeting on Thursday. Brushing shoulders against some of the world’s fastest sprinters, the national record holder clocked 10.16 seconds.
The fourth place finish will augur well for the sprinter as he aspires to earn a Tokyo Olympic berth. The 26-year-old is currently placed 65th in the Road to Olympics rankings and needs to secure a spot within the first 56 positions as only 56 athletes are selected for Tokyo Olympic 100 metres. To earn a direct qualification Abeykoon has to clock 10.05 seconds.
With Diamond League competitions guarantying more points, analysts believe that Abeykoon would secure a better position in the Road to Olympic rankings when the World Athletics update the rankings.
To secure the fourth place Abeykoon edged out some leading athletes who are placed higher in the Road to Olympic rankings.
He would be delighted to have placed fourth against a solid field that included American veteran Mike Rodgers and Ivorian Arthur Cissé.
US World Relay champion Michael Rodgers who is ranked 15th in the Road to Olympic rankings was placed fifth in a time of 10.25 seconds.
South African Akani Simbine clocked 10.08 seconds to win while Great Britain’s Chijindu Ujah finished second in a time of 10.10 seconds. Emmanuel Matadi was placed third in 10.16 seconds.
None of Sri Lanka’s male athletes have reached qualifying standards for the Tokyo Olympics so far while Nilani Ratnayake is the only Sri Lankan athlete who is within the required ranking positions to book a berth. The steeplechase athlete is currently ranked 37th in the Road to Olympics rankings.
Rio Olympic participant Sumeda Ranasinghe is also closer to an Olympic berth in the men’s category. The javelin thrower is currently ranked 43rd in the list. High jumper Ushan Thivanka who has produced a superb 2.30 metres is ranked 51st in the list.
At the Rome Diamond League on Thursday one of the highlights of the night was Dutch long-distance star Sifan Hassan’s performance in the women’s 1 500m. The 10,000 metres specialist showed her prowess in the 1,500 metres, beating Olympic 1 500m champion Faith Kipyegon of Kenya in a new meeting record of 3:53.63. It was also a world lead. Kipyegon was placed second in a personal best of 3:53.91.
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