Lankan cricketers fine-tuning | Sunday Observer

Lankan cricketers fine-tuning

Sports is so badly starved of good news. So when Sports Minister Dullas Alahaperuma who is cleverly handling a subject that is foreign to him gave the green light for Sri Lanka Cricket to conduct the Lanka Premier League in August, it raised hopes and spirits.  

He is a practical visionary and we need a “get-on-with-it “ attitude that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is instilling in the country. This tournament is something similar to the Premier League conducted by the Indian Cricket Board, but not with the same glitz, glamour and the big money.

SLC has held discussions with some of the foreign players and it is hoped that everything will be on the right pitch.Sri Lanka has been accepted as one of the safest countries for cricket to be played which the whole country could be proud of considering that most other cricket playing countries are still suffering from the dreaded virus.   

The Sports Minister’s green light came  after consulting the health officials with assurance given that all safety regulations will be adhered to..  

SLC is on a good wicket in attempting to conduct this tournament. Chairman of SLC, the hard working Shammi Silva and his efficient band of officials will have to leave no stone unturned to see to the successful completion of this first ever tournament.

This will be a major test for SLC and the country as well, as success here will herald a new era and a proven new haven for cricket.  

Also the heartening news is that the Pakistan Cricket Board has agreed to play the next Asia Cup in Sri Lanka in October when their players return after completing their tour of England in September. However the final decision will rest on the shoulders of the Asian Cricket Council who will have to give the final okay in agreement with all other participating countries. 

Pakistan are due to visit England after the West Indies leave for Three Tests and Three T20s but face a bit of a hiccup with reports that ten of their players have tested positive for Coronavirus according to the Pakistan Cricket Board. 

But the PCB has expressed confidence that the tour would go ahead according to its Chief Executive Wasim Khan.  

Khan was disappointed that so many players have tested positive. 

On arrival in England, the Pakistan team will be in quarantine in Derbyshire before moving to Manchester for friendly games before the more important Test and T20 series begin. 

A  bit of sad news is that Bangladesh have decided not to welcome New Zealand who were to tour there for Two Tests in August/September as part of the ICC World Test Championships. But the two Boards have not given up hopes and are looking for new dates to play the Tests. Earlier Australia was to tour Bangladesh but that tour too was postponed. 

While the pandemic has been playing havoc with not only human lives, but sport as well the world over, Australia a leading cricket nation has had to resort to job loses which would have been hard on the administrators and players. 

The crowd-pulling and big money attracting Indians led by the best batsman in world cricket today Virat Kholi are due to play a Four Test series in December which would be a cracker series and the ACB had to painfully remove its batting assistant and former Zimbabwe and England batting star Greame Hick. 

Not only Hick but the ACB has gone hard on 40 other staff too in an attempt to save Aus$40 million. The players too have had to suffer cuts in contract fees which would have been upsetting all round. But it could not be helped.  

The Sri Lankan cricketers who have been starved of competitive cricket since the outbreak of the Covid 19 virus struck the country with a vengeance, completed two stints of training in Colombo and Pallekele. 

The Sri Lankan cricketers trained assiduously to front up to England in a series here and were ready to fire all cylinders on Joe Root’s Englishmen, but with a few days for the umpires to call‘play’, the spread of the virus forced the Englishmen to abandon the tour and take the next flight back.  

It was a great disappointment to the cricketers of both countries, Sri Lanka Cricket and the cricket crazy spectators.The families of all cricketers, rightly showed concern and it was for the good of all that the tour was called off. Human life is more important than sport. 

Cricket fans here were eagerly looking forward to enjoying the heroics of hard hitting south paw Ben Stokes of England who had put the Australian bowlers to the sword and helped them draw the prestigious Ashes series in England. But the disappointed is that fans will probably have to wait till next year to watch Stokes unwind his blazing strokes. 

With the Lankan cricketers having successfully gone through a fitness training program in Colombo and when they were hard at it in Pallekele, looking forward to unwind against Bangladesh came the news that Bangladesh had decided to call off the tour citing the Covid 19 virus. 

Life was getting back to near normal in the country with no reports of the virus in the past three months thanks to the government and the medical people doing an admirable job in stalling the virus and when Bangladesh could have visited without any fear, the calling off of the tour was a great disappointment. But that is how things go and we can’t blame Bangladesh. 

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