Cricket selectors at last | Sunday Observer

Cricket selectors at last

18 April, 2021

Ah! At last! After a long wait and much speculation, cricketers and cricket fans will finally have heaved a sigh of relief now that the Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs Namal Rajapaksa has finally played the stroke that everyone was waiting to watch and appointed a six- member selection committee.

It will be headed by Pramodya Wickremasinghe, and padding up with him will be Romesh Kaluwitharane, S.H.U. Karnain, Waruna Waragoda, Hemantha Wickremaratne and Nilmini Gunarathne.

Firstly we must give credit to Ashantha de Mel who bowled the first ball when Sri Lanka began their safari in Test cricket against England after the country attained Test status. He resigned as chairman, the game went off pitch and the selection committee he captained fell apart with no genuine selection committee appointed.

In favour of de Mel it must be said that he got the committee he captained to do a job to the best of their ability and he disciplined, directed and saw to it that picking the teams to represent the country were done purely on merit and no other consideration.

De Mel’s shoes were big to fill! After De Mel and his team’s departure, lot of uncertainty prevailed with teams being picked with nobody knowing by whom and the game moved on. It moved on not for the betterment or benefit of the game, the players or success, but to utter disaster.

The game is now grasping for breath after the disastrous showing against England in the two Tests on home soil which was inexplicable and unacceptable followed by the thrashing by the West Indians in the limited overs games. The Lankans saved face somewhat by drawing the two Test series.

Now to the new selection committee and it must be stated that some them have been in the hot seats, un-seated and re-seated again like the recent ‘Mrs World Contest’ held at the Nelum Pokkuna where the winner was crowned, un-crowned and re-crowned finally. All’s well that ends well.

We have nothing against those who recommended the selectors or the selectors, but as for us it would have been better and refreshing to see new faces who would have different ideas of how selections should be done. Anyway now the selectors have been appointed and let’s watch how they go. We wish them the best. What is acceptable is that all of them have played the game at the highest levels.

We would like to say a few words about former dashing opening batsman and wicket keeper Kaluwitharane who sports the gloves of a selector for the first time. After the famous Kingsley and Susil Fernando produced by St. Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa ‘Little Kalu’ as former cricketer and commentator Tony Greig loved to call him, begins a new innings as a selector.

What is still in the memory of the writer was the good fortune of watching his dashing debut hundred against Allan Border’s Australians at the SSC and the century he made on a tour of New Zealand. ‘Kalu’ was given to the big time game by Bro Gurusinghe who saw the rare talent in him when he was the cricket master at St. Sebastian’s College, Moratuwa. Bro. Gurusinghe showed him how and his rise was phenomenal.

It is every cricketer and cricket fan’s hope that the new selectors when they sit to perform their arduous tasks will do so with an open mind, with no favourites marked and pick purely on merit not worried from which school, club, politician or political party he supports.

If they follow these principles and pick teams, they will leave no room for the scribes to take their selections and them apart. It is accepted that not only in Sri Lanka but the world over that the selectors act in mysterious ways. Let these selectors offer straight bats and leave no gaps to be bowled out.

Bens-Wesley at cricket

Two of the oldest schools in the country St. Benedict’s College and Wesley College will play, not what they call is a ‘big match’ but one that they call ‘special’ on April 23 and 24 at Kotahena and a 50-over game at the P.Sara Stadium on May 8.

The heads of the two schools Bro. Director Pubudu Rajapaksa of St. Benedict’s and Principal of Wesley Avanka Fernando and the Organizing Committee headed by the hard working and efficient Benedictine Lalith Madapulli must be congratulated not only on their success of making this match a reality, but for not tagging it a ‘big match’ and making a farce of the game that the so called ‘big matches’ have ended up as.

The ‘special match’ will be contested for the Rev. James Cartman Cup and the limited over game for the Rev.Bro. Luke Gregory shield.

Both schools have a rich tradition of producing top class cricketers and while we appreciate the naming of trophies in memory of the above, ours is only a suggestion that it should have been the Mahadevan Sathasivam and Ranjit Fernando trophy in honour of the two finest and best cricketers produced by the two institutions.

St. Benedict’s and D.S. Senanayake College organized and played what they called a ‘big match’ sometime back and it progressed smoothly and with great success until after a one-day game, supporters of DSS were alleged to have stoned the Benedictine team bus and Bro. Gurusinghe who was the Director of SBC during that time did right by putting a stop to that ‘big match’.

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