Cricket - A view point from England
CRICKET: As Sri Lanka embarks on a tour of England comprising 3 Tests
and 5 ODIs, it is only pertinent to analyse the prospects facing the
team and in preparation. Once again the ECB has assigned Sri Lanka the
first part of British Summer, where the English morning conditions may
be alien to some batsmen with a suspect technique against swing and seam
bowling. On a more promising note, the overseas players Chaminda Vaas,
Maharoof and Mendis are performing well with brighter slices and rising
temperatures greeting the autumn air.
While a chorus of criticism must have travelled from various corners
at SLC and its committees, it is widely accepted as a hard nut to crack
India on their own soil in a World Cup finals. Following the defeat
captain, vice-captain and the selection committee resigned gracefully
paving the way for new blood to takeover.
New selection committee
Amidst the analysis of pros and cons of those resignations, outcomes
a new selection committee with old faces, some may be their third tenure
in the circles of Sri Lankan cricket. Some critics may contemplate with
anger and anxiety the methodology behind these appointments, the winds
of change has blossomed Tillekeratne Dilshan as captain of Sri Lanka at
the age of 34, the age factor making his term a short and sweet one. A
product of Kalutara Vidyalaya, a proud moment for a non public school
boy to wave the willow wand so brilliantly and trust his leadership
skills will shine upon the strategies stepped on to the playing fields.
The tour itself commences on a bizarre fashion with most of top Sri
Lankan players arriving separately, late due to their engagement in
Indian Premier League. This may create some disrupt and disturbance.
During the early part of the tour with the aspects of team building as a
unitary force with the first Test coming up as soon as May 26. This is
nothing serious but the onus yet again falls on SLC tournament committee
and their foresight and thinking comes into question once again. First
this will do no harm at large to the team in its competitive eloquence
and superlative performances on the field as cricket enthusiasts
expected Sri Lankans.
Special events are organised to be held at the Rosebowl and Lordís
Test matches to promote Sri Lankan culture in a wider sense to the
public here in England. Those events will act as a precursor to
inordinate and invigorate the already dented and debilitated
relationships between Sri Lanka and the European Union as a whole.
Following the end to terrorism and the commissions and inquiries,
these events will help to rejuvenate the relationships and bring in its
wake a renaissance of Sri Lankaís image with a buoyant optimism towards
its future as projected in the Western World.
Iím sure the Sri Lankan cricket will act with sartorial elegance and
ambassadorial affluence to promote and pursue the above games with
vigour and vibrancy towards this all important events that will takes
place behind the big event of cricket. This in effect, encourages our
diplomatic gordon to act with great omnipotence, to bring
quintessentially Sri Lankan values and hospitality to the forefront in a
The England team too facing a period of transition with the
appointment of new captains for the 50-over and 20-over formats and this
will present Sri Lankan players to exploit the nervousness that will
prevail in an atmosphere of changing winds. Further itís worth noting
whether English and Wales Cricket Board will use the Tiflex balls,
currently used in the County First Division and itís widely thought that
the Tiflex moves about more. ECB has also banned the use of heavy
rollers after play has commenced on the first day. Indentations remain
and often lateral movement and variable bounce result. These factors may
present an interesting phenomena if pitched against the Sri Lankan
cricketers and remains to be seen the outcome if presented.
R. Premadasa Stadium - focal point
The SLC glittered in itís glory during the World Cup with R.
Premadasa Stadium becoming the focal point and a potent symbol of our
nation through its exposure on the world media. Sadly the responsible
authorities SLC and the Colombo Municipal Council failed to camouflage
the dwellings in dilapidated and derelict state with clothes hanging
from lines, surrounding the stadium. This portrayed a bad image across
the world in the midst of a game of cricket, a tale of two worlds.
Going down the memory lane in the late 1960s if I remember correctly,
then All Ceylon had a tour of England arranged by the efforts of then
Sports Minister late V.A. Sugathadasa. The team comprised some greats of
the calibre of T.B. Kehelgamuwa, Daya Sahabandu, Anura Polonnowita, D.P.
de Silva, Lionel Fernando amongst others. Sadly just before the tour
commenced to unravel the greener pastures of English conditions, the
tour got cancelled. The simple reason being, two selectors selected
themselves. Had the tour gone ahead, our cricket would have given a new
impetus and a much sooner entry into Test arena. But this is history -
yet malpractices raises its ugly head more often than not today, where
cricket is a thriving business.
Not to mention the past Boards and Presidents even todayís Interim
Committee faces allegations in the nature of claiming travelling
expenses to appointments of Director and Deputy during the World Cup of
Cricket, leaving cricket loving public of Mother Lanka bewildered and
beleaguered. I invite the Honourable Minister to intervene with
appointment of independent auditors to balance the books, so that fair
play prevails on our playing fields. Then only the public can trust the
SLC, a seed of belief had to be sown now to produce the fruits of its
labour for the future of our cricket.
The Bangladesh cricket received 5 million dollars for the group
stages and donated the whole sum to alleviating poverty and perhaps SLC
should take a leaf out of Bangladesh Cricket book and donate good sums
for good causes from the multi-million dollars earned from reaching the
World Cup finals. Hence for SLC a period of learning from the lessons
and reconciliation and a breath of fresh air to boost and bounce the
morale and bringing trust and honesty back to our cricket, where ethics
ethnics and ethos of a governing body takes priority and prominence
creating a passion and vision to shift the dominance of Colombo cricket
to outstation fields.