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Sunday, 15 May 2011

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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 world stage.

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.

 

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