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Sunday, 26 February 2012

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Casiechetty and Abeynaike were classy sportsmen

We record with sadness the passing away of two outstanding cricketers in Benedictine Neville Casiechetty and Thomian Ranil Abeynaike, although they excelled in different eras.

Short and stocky Neville had two other brothers Francis and Freddie, who all shone at cricket for St.Benedict’s College. But Neville was the star.

A right-hand hard hitting batsman in the mould of a West Indian, he could pulverize any bowling attack with his quick footwork, superb timing, grace and power.

Batting prowess

Neville showed his prowess with the bat in the early and mid fifties. He learnt his cricket, like did most Bens by first playing softball cricket at the St.Lucia’s Cathedral Square.

From there he graduated to the first team at St. Benedict’s , and what a batsman he turned out to be. He was the quintissential batsman that spectators yearned to see. And he seldom let them down.

He played in L.P.Rayen’s team that emerged unofficial schools cricket champions in 1957 and then went on to lead the Bens in 1958.

He was picked to tour Malaysia with the Board President’s XI and in one game missed a century scoring 99.

Wonderful dribbler

In addition to his cricket he was a wonderful dribbler in football. Several were the goals he scored for the school that helped them win games and become champions. He captained the team in 1958.

He later helped clubs such as Cambridge Sports Club and Kotahena Rangers go places in the football scene. The likes of Neville will not be seen for a long time.

Ranil Abeynaike

The passing away of former Thomian Captain and Sinhalese Sports Club cricketer Ranil Abeynaike came as a shock to the cricketers, the officials and those who knew him here and in Australia.

Ranil was a fine allrounder and a classy genteleman. He batted and bowled left handed and after a successful stint for the school by the sea, he played for SSC with great success and the national cap was not long in coming.

He helped the Maharaja Organization win many a trophy in Mercantile cricket and also toured India with the Maharaja team for Quadi Azam Trophy which team also included Gehan Mendis.

After his playing days were over, he moved to Australia where he learnt the art of preparing wickets and served as a curator at the SSC. He also excelled as an international cricket commentator for many TV channels. He recently completed 25 years of cricket commentating.

His expert commentaries will be missed at the Royal-Thomian big match this year.

When St. Benedict’s College redid their ground it was Ranil who relaid the turf wickets.

May the souls of Neville and Ranil rest in peace.

Wake up call to ICC

The incident that took place at the Gabba in Brisbane during the Sri Lanka-India Commonwealth Bank Tri-series game where Ravichandran Ashwin, the Indian off spinner did a ‘Mankad’ in attempting to dismiss Sri Lanka’s Lahiru Thirimanne, requires reflection if only to learn lessons from it.

Ashwin knocked off the bails as he came into bowl in the 40th over and appealed – with non striker Thirimanne well out of the crease.

Umpires Billy Bowden and Paul Reiffel conferred with Indian acting captain Virender Sehwag.

But the appeal was suddenly withdrawn when Sachin Tendulkar walked over to the umpires and captain and said something, probably asking Sehwag to withdraw the appeal.

Point to ponder

Now the point to ponder here is – why did not the umpires give their verdict when the appeal was made? ‘Out’ or ‘not out’, should have been their verdict.

They need not have consulted Sehwag. Obviously Ashwin did what was in the laws of the game. To everyone it was obvious that Thirianne was infringing and playing unfair by leaving the crease before the ball was delivered.

A batsman is expected to run the full length of the pitch and not yards less in scampering a run. Thirimanne was infringing repeatedly and Ashwin irritated by the unfair play of the batsman, whipped off the bails in his delivery stride with the batsman yards out of crease. And Ashwin was dead right!

Underarm incident

Remember the incident where former Australian Captain Greg Chappell; got his younger brother Trevor to bowl an underarm delivery in a one-day game against New Zealand which nearly prompted a war between the two countries? The Chappells were unfairly rapped. The umpire in that incident did right in allowing Trevor to bowl an underarm delivery because it was in laws of the game. Subsequently the International Cricket Council did away with that rule, saying that, that action although it was a law was, not in the spirit of the game. Similarly the action that Ashwin took in attempting to run out the batsman is in the law. But if its not in the spirit of the game, then ICC must get rid of the rule. Obviously again the ICC has been caught napping.

Sake of the game

When the game was played in the good old days, where it was played for the game’s sake, warning the batsman, beore resorting to running him out was appreciated and applauded.

But today where winning at any cost is the only thing that seems to count, the spirit of the game has gone with the wind. Money is what seems to count!

Look at the reverse or the switch hit as they call it. The

bowler sets the field according to the batsman being a right hander or a left hander. But the batsman turns around and plays the switch hit or the reverse sweep.

Reverse sweep

The reverse sweep or the switch hit has come in for criticism from the knowledgeable. But the ICC does not seem to care a damn. The sooner they act, it will be for the good of the players and the game.

Now isn’t this unfair by the bowler, and is it in the spirit of the game? The ICC or its Cricket Committee without only looking to make the mega bucks, must be alive to these shortcomings in the game and put them right. They must not let the players and the umpires be held to ridicule.

erodrigopulle@gmail.com
 

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