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Why do we have so much focus on fitness?

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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.

 

 



Foreign News

Australia T20 captain retires from international cricket

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Aaron Finch hit 63 in his final international innings against Ireland at the 2022 Men's T20 World Cup (pic BBC)

BBC reported that former Australia white-ball captain Aaron Finch has announced his retirement from international cricket.

Opening batter Finch, 36, was Australia’s T20 captain, having retired from one-day internationals in September..

He represented Australia in five Tests, 146 one-day internationals and 103 T20s, leading them to their first T20 World Cup title in 2021.

Finch said it had been “incredible honour” to play for Australia.

He is set to continue playing in domestic T20 competitions, including in the Big Bash League (BBL) for Melbourne Renegades.

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Fun Run announcing Asian Games at Port City today

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The Fun Run announcing the Asian Games will be held at Port City today. The event was announced at a function held in Colombo on Monday.

The official Fun Run announcing the 19th Asian Games will be held under the patronage of the Olympic Council of Asia Director General -Dr. Husain Al-Musallam and a host of dignitaries at the Colombo International Financial City (Port City) today.

The quadrennial Asian Games which was originally scheduled for September 2022 was postponed in May due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in and around the host city of Hangzhou in China. The Game will now be held in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8, 2023 under the motto of “Heart to Heart, @Future.”

The ‘Fun Run’ which acts like a baton relay of sorts was announced at a function held in Colombo yesterday.

The Fun Run will be held at the presence of Wu Jianzhong -Deputy Director of Games Services Department, Ge Jianyang -Staff of Press and Public Relations Department, Bao Hanyuan -Staff of Games Services Department and delegates from the Olympic Council of Asia. The National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka will be represented by its President Suresh Subramaniam, Secretary General NOC Sri Lanka Maxwell de Silva along with the executive committee of the NOC Sri Lanka.

To liven up this colourful pageant there will be a surfeit of sports and cultural activities involving over 700 persons. The highlight of the day’s activity will be a Jet Ski show presented by Sri Lanka Navy and a traditional Martial Art -Angampora Demonstration recited by the Army sports division. The President of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka Suresh Subramaniam aired the importance of the Fun Run. He said “the presence of the Olympic Council of Asia Director General -Dr. Husain Al-Musallam who is the main cog behind Asian Games 2022, signifies how serious they are about the success of the event. Besides that, there is a host of other Games Officials who will await eagerly to see the successful completion of this event and report back as to what Sri Lanka is capable of delivering. For us this is a momentous opportunity and we are taking it with both hands”.

Commenting on the significance of the event, NOC Sri Lanka Secretary General Maxwell de Silva said “akin to the Olympic Day Run or the Commonwealth Games Baton relay or the Asian Games Fun Run is very significant. In reality the “Fun Run” is the flag-off of the event and the Lankan leg of the baton that will take place at the Port City, Colombo.” The Olympic Council of Asia is stepping up its “Asian Games for All” promotional campaign right now.

A major part of this campaign is the Asian Games Fun Run, which is held throughout the continent and brings together elite athletes, social runners, students/children and sports officials. The OCA is working closely with the National Olympic Committees in all five zones to create a Fun Run calendar in order to promote the upcoming Asian Games and involve all levels of the community in a family-oriented activity. To this end, the OCA has released a schedule for February and March taking in two of the five zones: South Asia and South East Asia. The programme is still being assembled for the three remaining zones -West Asia, Central Asia and East Asia -in conjunction with the NOCs and will be released shortly.

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Amameth century propels Mahanama

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Under 19 Cricket

by Reemus Fernando

A century by Kavindu Amameth was the highlight of the day as Mahanama posted 363 runs against De Mazenod on day one of the traditional cricket encounter at Kandana on Monday.

Amameth top scored with 126 runs (in 173 balls, 9x4s, 4x6s) and put on a third wicket stand of 206 runs with Inuka Karannagoda as Mahanama dominated proceedings on day one.

In the Under 19 Division I Tier ‘B’ match at Uyanwatta, St. Servatius’ cemented their top position in Group ‘Z’ by scoring a first innings points against Devapathiraja.

Results

St. Servatius’ earn first innings points against Devapathiraja at Uyanwatta

Scores:

Devapathiraja

113 all out in 35.3 overs (Gimhan Rasanjana 24, Pawan Sandesh 24, Tharush Damindu 3/18, Kushan Wijerama 4/25, Chathum Bimsara 2/32) and 151 for 8 decl. in 36.2 overs (Darshaka Sandeep 46, Jeewaka Shashin 31; Chathum Bimsara 2/21, Kushan Wijerama 3/34, Thisan Dewmith 2/40)

St. Servatius’

92 for 6 overnight 123 all out in 48.3 overs (Mithila Charles 39, Vishwa Supun 23, Diniru Abeywickramasinghe 25; Irushka Thimira 6/47, Puljith Wathsuka 2/34) and 110 for 4 in 26.2 overs (Mithila Charles 27, Diniru Abeywickramasinghe 36, Chiran Neththaru 23n.o.; Puljith Wathsuka 2/38)

Mahanama dominate day one proceedings at Kandana

Scores:

Mahanama

363 all out in 92.1 overs (Kavindu Amameth 126, Inuka Karannagoda 75, Rashmika Perera 52, Chamika Heenatigala 24, Eshan Withanage 24; Kavindu Kaushalya 4/97, Thushan Udayanga 3/64, Sithum Fernando 3/71)

De Mazenod

2 for 1 in 5 overs

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