by Russell Palipane
Former Sri Lanka leg spin
maestro, D. S. de Silva, an old boy of Mahinda College, Galle,
was appointed Advisor for Cricket and Sports, by President
Mahinda Rajapaksa. The President handed over the appointment
letter to D. S. De Silva on December 18, at Temple Trees, in
(Pic by Chandana Perera)
Former Sri Lanka leg spinner, Somachandra de
Silva, who hails from southern Sri Lanka, and played in Sri
Lanka’s inaugural Test against England, at the Colombo Oval, in
1982, who was appointed cricket advisor to President Mahinda
Rajapaksa, last week, has been tasked with developing and
spreading the game in the country's war-hit north and
The move was part of the president's initiative
to try and increase the representation of players of
Tamil-speaking origin in the national team.
DS, who played 12 Tests for Sri Lanka and
captained in two of them, was appointed on the basis of his
experience in coaching school teams in Sri Lanka and England.
The president was keen on tapping into the
talent at the school level in these parts, where no first-class
cricket is played.
The Sri Lanka side currently has one player of
Tamil origin in off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, who recently
broke the world record for the most number of wickets in Tests.
A vast majority of the players are from the
southern and central parts of the country and the same regions
regularly host international games.
"The president is aware Sri Lanka will soon have
to have replacements for star performers like Sanath Jayasuriya
and Chaminda Vaas if it is to retain its top position," AHM
Azwer, a Tamil commentator and a presidential advisor on media,
was quoted as having told the IANS news service.
Muralitharan is after all a Tamil of Indian
origin. President Rajapaksa is keen on building a stadium of
international standard in the northern town of Jaffna, where
cricket is quite popular.
His interest in the game is well known, and he
recently inaugurated the new pavilion at the Galle International
Stadium, a ground ravaged by the tsunami of December 2004.
"The people of Jaffna are cricket crazy," Azwer
"They can make excellent fast bowlers because
they are hard working,” added Azwer.
Jaffna lads have learnt to work and play under
harsh climatic conditions.
Sri Lanka is yet to produce a leg spinner of the
calibre of DS, though the winsome Muttiah Muralitharan, who hit
the scene as just an off spinner, more than compensates for that
with his guile and versatality.