Minister Dullas to shine the light away from him | Sunday Observer

Minister Dullas to shine the light away from him

Minister of Sports Dullas Alahapperuma took first strike in assuming duties by saying he will not be around to hug the limelight and take part in worthless activities that do not augur well for sports. Putting it in another way, he would like those who shine in sports to be justifiably be brought to the fore. For too long Sports Ministers, administrators have tried taking off the shine from those who toil on the field. The Minister’s declaration is welcome as a new dawn will hopefully shine the light on what ails cricket in particular and bring in those who can rapidly and fearlessly address the issues and arrest the slippery slope that the country’s Number One sport is tumbling down on.

Meanwhile, cricket fans will applaud the correct stroke played by the selectors Ashantha de Mel (chairman), Vinodhan John and Chaminda Mendis in getting back former Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal to take strike against Pakistan in the two Test matches to be played in Pakistan this month.

The former Dharmasoka and Ananda College cricketer was a natural highly talented batsman who scored heavily for the school and club Nondescripts. The selectors of that era were quick to give him the spurs and include him in the national squad.

He was doing well and the national team captaincy was not long in coming. While he was motoring, he had the misfortune of running into the rapids, attracting the green eyes who in their greed to replace him succeeded in their dubious tactics.

He was in the game’s wilderness for long which would have greatly disappointed and frustrated this hellishly talented batsman. His removal from the cricketing radar was detrimental to the game and its progress.

But the young Chandimal did not harbour any grudges or think of hanging up his boots, but tolerated his detractors and fools gladly and with his winsome smile he continued in the game, because for him the game was the thing.

Now that the selectors have given him new innings, it is hoped that he will grab that opportunity with both hands and showcase his talent by scoring runs and big runs at that and cementing his slot in the team and also hitting back at his detractors. We dare predict that captaincy honours would be his before long.

It is also heartening to note the return of former captain, the towering all rounder Angelo Mathews. Mathews because of his huge frame had the tendency to suffer career threatening injuries.

He has been out of the cricketing radar for some time and according to info has trained very hard, especially strengthening the areas that he was prone to injury and he is now, as the saying goes, fit as a fiddle.

As a schoolboy at St. Joseph’s College he starred and served notice of what to expect from him in the future by being a more than ordinary all rounder. He was a terrific right handed batsman and bowler who can swing both ways, bagged a bag full of wickets and scored runs aplenty and national honours was not long in coming and when it did came it was for the betterment of the game at international level.

Mathews was fortunate to apprentice and play, watch and learn under Sri Lanka’s two greats Mahela Jayewardena and Kumar Sangakkara in his growing up days in the game and they had a tremendous influence on him. Mathews is ever grateful to the twosome.

In fact before the two greats retired after leading the country with great success, they did not hesitate to make it known that Mathews was the captain in waiting.

It did not take long for Mathews to sport that proud cricketing crown as captain and when he did sport that crown on his head, did so with proud honour realizing the fact that it is the dream of every cricketer, but only a few are blessed with this honour.

Now that Mathews’ place in the team is unchallenged, he is sure to come out with all guns blazing and shoot down his uncharitable critics who are baying for his blood. It will be interesting to see whether he will bowl on the tour.

With his medium pace biting seam and swing bowling, if he is passed fit to bowl he will be a great asset to skipper Dimuth Karunaratne and the team. Mathews’ presence on the field will be a great help to the skipper who can seek his advice when required.

At the time of writing the Pakistanis were outplayed by Australia in the Test series losing the first Test by innings unable to counter the searing pace and bounce of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.

One or two of their batsmen have stood up well. But cricket is a team game and all leading batsmen in the team must rise to the occasion and contribute for success. We hope they would have learnt and will be worthy opponents in the next Test that will be on at the time this is being read.

The Pakistanis awarded the cap to 16 year old paceman Naseem Shah and expected him to rattle the Australian batsmen with his tremendous pace. But he failed to deliver. Maybe he was overawed by the occasion.

But watching him bowl there is no doubt that he is a hellishly talented fast bowler with tremendous pace and if given continuity should get among the wickets and be another Shoab Akthar who was a bowler who instilled fear on opposing batsmen.

Now that the Pakistanis are being humiliated by the Australians there is no doubt that Pakistan will be smarting and will be gritting their teeth to devour the Sri Lankans, considering that the Lankans outplayed them in the T20 series which was infra dig for them.

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