Stop playing ‘pandu’ with Malinga | Sunday Observer

Stop playing ‘pandu’ with Malinga

The square-armish, two way swinging Yorker bowling maestro Lasith Malinga boiled, skinned and stuffed the Kiwis and had them on display to the world with a four in four balls wicket taking record breaking odyssey at the Pallekelle International Cricket Stadium under lights on Friday.

He performed this feat earlier against South Africa in Guyana in the West Indies in the 2007, 50-over World Cup and then inscribed his name in Twenty20 cricket by bemusing and befuddling the New Zealanders. He has five hat-tricks in all which is amazing. He should be made a national treasure.

Malinga from the time he shed playing softball cricket to take to the hard ball game, he has had opposing batsmen jumping like catfish on a hot tin roof. They were trying to protect their feet from being in plaster casts with his two way swinging speedy vicious Yorkers and if it hit could be disabled for life.

Malinga who has hat-tricks and taking four wickets in four balls DNA in his blood strikes like lightening when least expected and has the cricket world in a dizzy inexplicable spin.

But with Malinga having quit the 50-over game and wanting to captain the team in the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia next year that his presence in the team is essential, the selectors will be in a quandary how to allow him his wish of captaining.

We say this because, allegations are being made against him by some of the senior players of favoring his favourites and leaving seniors out; and opinions of him having no captaincy DNA in him and unable to get the team to jell and play as a team which is important for success.

There were some who may have had complaints against Malinga as captain playing in the team at Pallekelle. But then hypocrisy was at its best to see all of the players hugging and kissing Malinga after his four in four.

The selectors named Malinga captain for the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales and then played the ‘Snakes and Ladders’ game or ‘pandu’ with him stripping him after repeated losses to South Africa and instead appointing Dimuth Karunaratne who has the all important attribute of getting the team to play together to lead.

With Malinga showing keenness to captain in the next Twenty20 World Cup and with him unable to get the team to jell and win the series against New Zealand, it would be interesting to watch how the selectors will go. The selectors must understand that in today’s highly commercialized game there can be no sympathy. So the selectors, if they remain that long will be watched.

As for us if the selectors are in a quandary as to who to lead in the 2020 Twenty20 World Cup we who have played the game at the highest level and not being an armchair critic would make bold to toss in the name of Kusal Mendis as captain who with his aggressive style of play to consider him and if agreeable to groom him from now on and get him into the feel of things.

Pakistan tour must go ahead

Sri Lanka Cricket after sending its officials to check on the security situation and getting an all clear have decided to send two teams to play a one-day and a T20 series in Pakistan.

Several seniors have preferred to skip the trip and SLC have accepted their fears and picked some new blood who have shown their willingness to tour. Pakistan a country rich in cricketing tradition should not be allowed to be a cricketing graveyard.

Not touring could also mean giving in to terror. We salute the guts of the players who have decided to tour and wish them well. True the team is a make shift one. But the main thing is breaking the impasse and making international cricket possible again in Pakistan. Let other countries follow Sri Lanka’s fearless approach.

At the time of writing Sri Lanka Cricket has sought a government reassessment of the security measures in place for the national team’s tour of Pakistan this month, following a warning of a possible terrorist threat. But we hope fears will be allayed and the tour will proceed for the sake of the game.

Pakistan became a cricketing graveyard after insensible terrorists launched a grenade attack on the bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team in March 2009. That team and Sri Lanka cricket must thank the gods that no lives were lost which would have been a calamity.

Terrorists are the scum of this earth with no human feelings, with destroying lives being their game and they have the element of striking when the guard is down and authorities remain complacent. A case in point was the terror strike on innocent church goers in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday that cost several hundred lives. Only those who have lost their dear ones will know.

The first terrorist attack on sportsmen took place at the Munich Olympics in West Germany in 1972 when several Israeli athletes lost their lives.

The ’Daily News’ and ‘Sunday Observer’ sports journalist who covered that tour of Pakistan in 2009 Chris Dhambarage, who was not far behind the Sri Lanka team bus when it was attacked, still recoils and shudders when recalling that fear filled moment.

Stanley de Alwis passes away

It was sad the passing away of former Prince of Wales, Sinhalese Sports Club and All Ceylon pace bowler the tall and strongly built STANLEY DE ALWIS recently at 83.

Stanley was a fast bowler in the true sense of the word. When today medium pace bowlers are called fast bowlers, Stanley with square armish action was tall and strongly built bowler who carried vicious pace and terrific bounce and not many batsmen of that era, which was late 1950s and early 1960s would want to face.

An incident worth recalling was this. BRC was playing SSC at the Havelock Park mat in a Sara Trophy game. That mat was fiery and on which pacemen reveled. Opening batting for BRC was former Thomian Claude Reid and the eldest of the famous Reid brothers.

Stanley ran in and delivered. The ball took off like a missile off a good length and struck Reid on the jaw. Reid was shouldered to the pavilion in great pain. Another BRC cricketer Dr. T.L. Pereira was at hand to attend on Reid and after putting Reid through the testing described it as a broken jaw.. But the tough as nails Reid continued batting later on. That was how fast Stanley was. The writer played in that game and the story is true.

Stanley shone in era when there was a surfeit of bowlers who could be termed fast. There was Lucky Gunetilleke, Sonny Yatawara, Cecil Waidyaratne, T.B.. Kehelgamuwa, Sylvester Dias, Dennis Ferdinands, M.N. Samsudeen, Anton Perera, P.I. Pieris, Jackie Robertson, Nihal Zoysa, Darrel Lieversz and Norton Fredrick names that come to mind. Where are those of their ilk now?

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