|What about a separate Act of Parliament for cricket?
There is a hollow ring about it all when winning the Asian title without the participation of India. The significance of this win however is, not only has Sri Lanka recorded her ninth successive Test win but the first clinched overseas during this purple patch. The absence of Wasim Akram and Saqlain Musthaq from the Pakistani attack may have been a material factor but to have humbled bowlers of the calibre of Waqar Younis, Shoaib Akhtar, Sami and Abdur Razzaq, in their own den, and so convincingly, is surely another feather in the cap of Sanath Jayasuriya and his boys.
Sangakkara and Kaluwitharana
Man of the Match, Kumar Sangakkara, covered himself with glory notching his first Test double century, and that in grand style when he collected 150 runs (33 fours and 3 sixes) in boundaries. Sangakkara was fortunate that he did not have to keep wickets for too long before batting. In the context of modern international cricket it would be unwise for the youngster to bat at No. 3 especially if he has had a long spell behind the stumps. Adam Gilchrist, the Australian stumper, for instance, who has been performing exceedingly well he scored the fastest Test double century only the other day - bats in the middle-order. Which brings me to the question of Romesh Kaluwitharana. What of his future? Surely he cannot be allowed simply go to pasture?
Campaign against Muralitharan
must be thwarted
Muralitharan keeps turning up trumps, and this time it was a match-bag of 8 wickets. Naturally there will be more critics creeping out of the woodwork to cast aspersions on the champions bowling action. After all it is the fruit-laden tree that attracts the stones and the sticks! Anybody is entitled to his or her opinion but when the likes of Michael Holding is enticed - I wonder whether that be the correct word - to criticise Muralitharans action that is indeed a rotten kettle of fish. Because, here is a man who was a member of the advisory committee on the action of bowlers appointed by the ICC - I wonder whether he still holds the post and, as far as the general public is aware said nary a word of protest on this issue earlier. Not even when he was a TV commentator when Sri Lanka played international cricket. Obviously, if Holding is still in this particular committee, the ICC must get him out of it since his bias has been publicly aired. Why has Bedi, and now Woolmer, waited until the off-spinner passed the 400-wicket mark? Who is next on line? Somehow there is a sinister ring when past cricketing personalities suddenly begin to make remarks about Muralitharans bowling action. With important away tours and the World Cup round the corner there seems to be something cooking and it sure stinks to high heavens. Anyway the Sri Lankan Cricket Board must plan a suitable strategy to counter what obviously seems a smear campaign.
Thank you No to the VIP lounge
The victorious Sri Lanka team was to be received at the VIP lounge of the Katunayake airport on their return from Lahore. However skipper Jayasuriya, in an announcement on arrival, stated that he and his mates had decided to come through the normal channel available to the general public. Whether this was to avoid possible future changes by the authorities, based on their experiences after not-so-successful tours, one can only conjecture.
Mahanama re-retired hurt?
Our cricket authorities seem to jettison successful officials fairly regularly. From memory, first it was Ana Punchihewa after Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996. Then life was made exceedingly difficult for Interim Committee chairman Rienzie Wijetilleke, who spearheaded a remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of Sri Lanka cricket when it lay battered and bruised after a pathetic performance in the World Cup of 1999. Of late it was Manager Ajith Jayasekera who was an integral part of the most successful Sri Lankan Test team. Rumours are afloat that former paceman Rumesh Ratnayake who was coaching the fast bowlers too relinquished his post due to dissatisfaction. The latest casualty appears to be former Test batsman Roshan Mahanama who had submitted his resignation as the A team coach after a most successful debut when his charges trounced Kenya 3-0. It is a badly kept secret as to why Mahanama was shabbily treated during his stint as a player which possibly made him publish a book titled Retired Hurt having hung up his boots whilst there was cricket still left in him. After his experience in his new role as coach Mahanama may now have enough material to write another book titled Re-retired Hurt!
Amarasuriya to head the
A recent news report stated that the Minister of Sports hopes to appoint a Cricket Board Committee shortly. One name strongly tipped to head it is Chairman of Singers, Hemaka Amarasuriya. A Chartered Accountant by profession with a snow-white record in his dealings. Amarasuriya is a devoted cricket fan and admirably suited for the job. However it is imperative that he has a good team to work with because if he is saddled with undersirables Sri Lanka cricket will be back to square one. Hopefully the Minister will be in consultation with Amarasuriya when the team is selected. There cannot be room for people who state that they have family and business commitments and have no time but will still consider serving in the Cricket Board if requested by the Minister. Are we to believe that we have amongst us such selfless, noble people who are prepared to neglect their family and professional duties to serve cricket in an honorary capacity? Let the appointees be those with clean records and who are prepared to devote time for the onerous tasks ahead.
A separate Act of Parliament
In this regard I have suggested this before isnt it time cricket was isolated from the Sports Law by a separate Act of Parliament when due respect to other sports, cricket is the only sport that has taken our island to the top. We have been world champions and currently we are brushing shoulders with the best. Our cricketers have done for the promotion of our nation no politician or ambassador has ever achieved. It is time due recognition was given. For those who cry for democracy which implies the voting by clubs to elect officials, please, we all know wolves in sheeps clothing. I need not elaborate the background to Cricket Board elections.
Problems with umpires at the Royal-Thomian
Lack of technical know-how of those responsible in picking inexperienced umpires for the recently concluded Royal-Thomian encounter resulted in a number of poor decisions. The Joint Committee did an excellent job in maintaining law and order during the game and the multifarious chores in conducting such an event but at least in future more care should be made in the appointment of suitable umpires. Jeevan Mendis the Thomian stalwart was unfortunate to have missed scoring another century in the series but what caught my fancy was the emergence of his team-mate, 15-year old right-arm leg-spinner, Videsh Balasubramaniam. Here is a natural and a potential star of the future if handled right. The boy has got the necessary ingredients to be a top-class spinner. In short, hes got rhythm!
Why the confusion about the ICC table?
Finally, there was a news report where the Media Manager of the Cricket Board had stated that the ICC Championship table is complicated and confusing, I am afraid this not. Points are awarded for a series win and/or a draw. The ICC has drawn up a calendar of an equal number of matches to be played by each nation. While the tournament is being conducted, position on the table of each team is worked out by dividing the points gained by the number of matches played up to that date. When all teams have finished playing their full quota of games, the above calculation will naturally decide the final placings.
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