Cricket News

Duleep’s grit and courage – need of the hour – by Rex Clementine

Source: The Island

It was on a day like this, 43 years ago, Sri Lankan cricket made its biggest impact in the world stage. The six full members of the ICC were automatic choices for the 1975 World Cup and in a bid to make up the numbers, Sri Lanka and a team comprising cricketers from East Africa were invited to play the inaugural event. The quality of Sri Lankan cricket was displayed on this day at The Oval against an Australian side comprising the Chappell brothers, Dennis Lille, Jeff Thomson and others.

A century by Alan Turner and half-centuries by Rick McCosker, Greg Chappell, and Doug Walters had propelled Australia to a total of 328. Many would have thought that Sri Lanka had little chance. But they did well; reaching 150 for two and needed 179 runs in 30 overs with eight wickets in hand.  Australian skipper Ian Chappell was a worried man.

Duleep Mendis and Sunil Wettimuny were out in the middle and yet to come were the team’s two best batsmen – Anura Tennekoon and Michael Tissera. Chappell’s last throw of the dice was to call up Jeff Thomson, who needed no invitation for aggression.

On a placid Oval pitch, Wettimuny and Mendis were making merry until Thomson came in for his second spell. The two batsmen were subjected to a barrage of short-pitched bowling. Wettimuny was left with a broken hip bone and a broken foot while Mendis was hit right on the center of the temple.

Mendis was set for his favourite cut shot, but the ball swung back sharply to hit him. There was no first aid at The Oval and no stretcher to carry the batsman off. He was taken to the nearby St.  Thomas’ Hospital. Wettimuny had gone onto become the first Sri Lankan to score a half-century in an international match and soon he too joined Mendis at the hospital.

Celebrated cricket writer Jack Staggles visited the two Sri Lankans at the hospital. In the story he published the next day, a quote from Mendis described the man. “What happened was one of those things. It would not bother me in the slightest if I had to go out and face Thomson again tomorrow. It would take more than this to intimidate me.”

Mendis was 22 then and his courage and grit was visible. The same traits were seen as he held many other responsible positions of Sri Lankan cricket over the next four decades.

An insatiable passion for the game, no-nonsense approach, and his visionary thinking saw the game thriving under his charge. Some of the decisions he took weren’t the most popular ones, but leaders are meant to take those unpopular decisions with the well being of the institution they serve in mind. Some of the problems that Sri Lankan cricket faces at the moment wouldn’t have happened had Mendis been around as the CEO of SLC.

How on earth Sri Lanka Cricket decided to promote a gym assistant to the post of Assistant Venue Manager of the Galle International Stadium is beyond our comprehension. Ousted SLC chief Thilanga Sumathipala owes an explanation to the cricket loving public in this country. It was this Assistant Venue Manager who was caught by the Al Jazeera sting that investigated corruption in cricket.

The hallmark of some of our politicians is to appoint clowns and cronies around them to important positions. Thilanga Sumathipala is no different. National Curator is one of the most prestigious positions in the cricket board held by some fine individuals over the years.  But under Thilanga this has been compromised and one of his confidants – Godfrey Dabare was appointed for the position. It was Godfrey’s suggestion to promote Tharanga Indika, who was caught in the sting operation, to be promoted as Assistant Venue Manager.

Had Mendis been the CEO of SLC, he would have vehemently opposed such a move.

Thilanga also has been criticized heavily for almost doubling the number of teams with First Class status. With the likes of Mendis sitting on the Executive Committee meetings, such a resolution wouldn’t have got passed so easily.

When Thilanga won the cricket elections in 2016, there was a move to bring Duleep back into the Sri Lankan cricket fold from Oman. In the end, the efforts didn’t materialize. It was said that SLC wasn’t fit enough to match the remuneration package that Oman had offered Mendis. Surely, given the deals that SLC has signed with some individuals in recent times, roping in Mendis was a child’s play.

Perhaps why Thilanga didn’t aggressively persuade to bring Mendis back home was because that he knows that with the likes of him around, there wouldn’t be smooth sailing all the time. The position SLC was going to offer Mendis was team Manager. We learn that individuals within the SLC Ex-Co were eyeing for the position of Team Manager.

When SLC terminated Mendis’ services as CEO in 2010, The Island pointed out the injustices meted out to one of the greats of the sport. SLC responded saying that Mendis was paid three months of his salary and was allowed to keep his car valued at Rs. 3.5 million as compensation.

We then pointed out that the service rendered by Mendis to Sri Lankan cricket is invaluable and it cannot be measured in terms of rupees and cents or aging automobiles. Today Sri Lankan cricket is paying a heavy price for getting rid of such visionary thinkers.

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Sri Lanka vs West Indies – First Test 2018 – Day 1

Sri Lanka vs West Indies – First Test 2018 – Day 2




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Sri Lanka vs West Indies – First Test 2018 – Day 3

Sri Lanka vs West Indies – First Test 2018 – Day 4

Sri Lanka vs West Indies – First Test 2018 – Day 5

 




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Can Sri Lanka rise from the ashes?

The Rise of an Island
Cricket’s Phoenix?

 

Ranjan Mellawa believes that – despite serial disappointments, setbacks and poor strategy –
Sri Lanka can rise from the ashes

The year in which Sri Lanka was reeling from bomb blasts and bloody battles was also a watershed in the history of the island’s sporting career. An improbable Cricket World Cup victory in 1996 was an unlikely balm for all Sri Lanka’s wounds – and fittingly, the islanders celebrated together.

Paradoxically, the rise to the top in the cricketing field triggered an avalanche of politicos, businessmen, and sundry others in committee rooms who began competing for honorary positions to administer the game on behalf of the nation.

Even the cup winning heroes wilted. As they rested on their laurels, the commitment of many of these champions waned. Poorly led, Sri Lanka were shambolic at the 1999 World Cup – beating only the lower ranked Zimbabwe and Kenya, and losing badly to England, South Africa, and India. However, in 2003, they fared better before losing to Australia in the semi-finals.

Following their retirement, some World Cup winners, their replacements, and the remaining players charted our island nation’s course to a golden era in white-ball cricket. The Sri Lankans were five times finalists at major world tournaments between 2007 and 2014 – two in 50-over ODIs and three in T20s – and they added another world trophy by winning the 2014 World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.

Sadly, poorly planned itineraries, fitness issues, poor form, lopsided strategy, selection blunders, and infighting among the coaches made Sri Lanka falter in 2015. Since that World Cup, Sri Lanka has had a dreadful run in ODIs at the time of writing, losing 39 of 64 matches played (one tied and four no results).

 

Sri Lanka played 42 matches against stronger teams – England, India, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and Pakistan. Out of 20 ODI wins, only 6 were against these teams.

 

Notwithstanding four consecutive scores of over 300 in the group stage of the 2015 World Cup, Sri Lanka couldn’t progress beyond the quarter-finals. The modern one-day game with two new balls and four men outside the circle requires at least four frontline bowlers – not half-baked ‘all-rounders’ who could hardly deliver 10 overs and are occasionally effective with the bat!

Cricket is not the game it used to be 10 years ago. Twenty20 has made major inroads into traditional ODI cricket. Bigger bats have enhanced performance with new strokes covering 360 degrees round the pitch. Scores once deemed impossible to chase are now the norm. Innovative fielding, including spectacular boundary line catches has emerged. Even bowling has evolved as a result of T20s.

Notwithstanding four consecutive scores of over 300 in the group stage of the 2015 World Cup, Sri Lanka couldn’t progress beyond the quarter-finals. The modern one-day game with two new balls and four men outside the circle requires at least four frontline bowlers – not half-baked ‘all-rounders’ who could hardly deliver 10 overs and are occasionally effective with the bat!

Following the 2015 World Cup, muddled selection policies and reportedly, undue administrative interference resulted in lack of continuity, leaving the team in perpetual survival mode.

A staggering 44 players represented the country in ODI cricket since the 2015 World Cup, 23 of them debutants. This situation has been aggravated by poor people management skills of key officials, which has had a negative impact on players’ confidence. The repeated replacement of coaching staff has hampered players’ progress in contrast to their counterparts from stronger cricketing nations.

Injuries to key players have also been a stumbling block. The players themselves must take ownership of fitness levels with professional guidance from support staff. Speaking last year about self-discipline and high standard of fitness, the evergreen Virat Kohli revealed that he hasn’t eaten butter chicken and naan for the past four years!

Bowling was considered Sri Lanka’s Achilles’ heel but batting and brilliant fielding compensated for it over the years. Dubbed ‘best fielding team in Asia’ over three decades, Sri Lanka slid with costly misses along the way.

No wonder then that Sri Lanka almost missed out qualifying for the 2019 World Cup. Teams with a battle hardened core group, aided initially by Arjuna Ranatunga’s aggressive leadership and then Mahela Jayawardena’s tactical brilliance, guided Sri Lanka to success at different times.

Unlike in the past, exceptionally talented schoolboys may not walk into the national team and perform well as the bar is much higher now in international cricket. A bloated domestic first-class structure is not conducive to fostering excellence. Despite repeated efforts by past greats, vested interests have stalled any meaningful steps towards restructuring.

Though next year’s World Cup kicks off in early English summer, the ICC will want to prepare batsman-friendly pitches to satisfy broadcasters and sponsors. The expected par-score is around 350. Mastering the art of hitting sixers should be a priority for the team. Successes in Bangladesh augurs well for players’ confidence under Chandika Hathurusingha – highly rated, many believe his arrival could swing Sri Lanka’s fortunes. The reappointment of Angelo Mathews as ODI captain has also given the team hope. Experienced in English conditions, the team’s premier batsman and useful medium-pacer, will be the key player for Sri Lanka at the 2019 World Cup – if he stays fit.

On the other hand, Lasith Malinga will be badly missed. Out of form and low on fitness, he is closer to retirement than playing another World Cup. So the team is far from having a settled ODI unit, yet. A more committed and consistent Thisara Perera has the potential to be a match winner against any opponent. And Akila Dananjaya and Lakshan Sandakan are also poised to enhance Sri Lanka’s legacy of producing mystery spinners. Include Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Janith Perera, Kusal Mendis and Nuwan Pradeep, and Sri Lanka may very well overcome its dubious dark horse status in the next World Cup.

In 1996, the odds against Sri Lanka winning (even as a co-host) were as high as 33-1. In comparison, it’s 12-1 for 2019 amidst moderate expectations. Nevertheless, Sri Lanka have a history of punching above their weight and performing unexpectedly in major tournaments. Pinch-hitting in the restrictive first 15 overs gave them a competitive advantage in the 1996 World Cup.

At the 2009 World Twenty20, Tillakaratne Dilshan’s audacious Dilscoop, and Malinga’s slow full tosses (they swerved away from right-handers towards the stumps) shell-shocked the opposition. What can they come up with next – two spinners opening the bowling?
Let’s hope the players and administrators get their act together and come up with another ideal innovation in the 2019 World Cup.
This article appears in the May 2018 issue of the LIVING magazine.

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Cricket News – South Africa confirm 2018-19 fixtures

 

Source: Cricket.com.au

One-day international focus for Proteas ahead of World Cup, with visits from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe next summer

South Africa will play three Test matches against Pakistan and two against Sri Lanka during their 2018/19 summer.

The Proteas will also host a total of 13 one-day internationals and nine Twenty20 internationals against Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.

Pakistan, who will tour South Africa for the first time since 2013/14, will play the prime holiday season Tests in December and January.

Centurion has been awarded the Boxing Day Test starting Cape Town the traditional New Year Test starting on January 3.

The third Test will be in Johannesburg from January 11.

Pakistan will also play five one-day internationals and three Twenty20 internationals.

Sri Lanka will play Tests in Durban and Port Elizabeth in February, to be followed by five one-day internationals and three Twenty20 internationals.

Zimbabwe will play three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 internationals at some of South Africa’s smaller cricket venues.

Cricket South Africa acting chief executive Thabang Moroe said that the scheduled 13 one-day internationals during the season would enable the national team to fine tune their preparations for the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England.

Cricket Australia are expected to confirm their fixtures for next summer in the coming days.

Fixtures:

Zimbabwe in South Africa 

Sept 30: First one-day international, Kimberley

October

 3: Second one-day international, Bloemfontein

 6: Third one-day international, Paarl

 9: First Twenty20 international, East London

12: Second Twenty20 international, Potchefstroom

14: Third  Twenty20 international, Benoni

Pakistan in South Africa

December

19-21: SA Invitation XI, Benoni

26-30: First Test, Centurion

January

3-7: Second Test, Cape Town

11-15 : Third Test, Johannesburg

19: First one-day international, Port Elizabeth

22: Second one-day international, Durban

25: Third one-day international, Centurion

27: Fourth one-day international, Johannesburg

30: Fifth one-day international, Cape Town

February

1: First Twenty20 International, Cape Town

3: Second Twenty20 International, Johannesburg

6: Third Twenty20 International, Centurion

Sri Lanka in South Africa

February

13-17: First Test, Durban

21-25: Second Test, Port Elizabeth

28: SA Invitation XI, Benoni

March

3: First one-day international, Johannesburg

6: Second one-day international, Centurion

10: Third one-day international, Durban

13: Fourth one-day international, Port Elizabeth

16: Fifth one-day international, Cape Town

19: First Twenty20 international, Cape Town

22: Second Twenty20 international, Centurion

24: Third Twenty20 international, Johannesburg

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ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 – full fixtures

Source: BBC

All 10 teams play each other in a round-robin format, with the top four qualifying for the semi-finals.

May

30 England v South Africa, The Oval

31 West Indies v Pakistan, Trent Bridge

June

1 New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Cardiff

1 Afghanistan v Australia, Bristol (d/n)

South Africa v Bangladesh, The Oval

3 England v Pakistan, Trent Bridge

4 Afghanistan v Sri Lanka, Cardiff

5 South Africa v India, Southampton

5 Bangladesh v New Zealand, The Oval (d/n)

6 Australia v West Indies, Trent Bridge

7 Pakistan v Sri Lanka, Bristol

8 England v Bangladesh, Cardiff

8 Afghanistan v New Zealand, Taunton (d/n)

9 India v Australia, The Oval

10 South Africa v West Indies, Southampton

11 Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Bristol

12 Australia v Pakistan, Taunton

13 India v New Zealand, Trent Bridge

14 England v West Indies, Southampton

15 Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval

15 South Africa v Afghanistan, Cardiff (d/n)

16 India v Pakistan, Old Trafford

17 West Indies v Bangladesh, Taunton

18 England v Afghanistan, Old Trafford

19 New Zealand v South Africa, Edgbaston

20 Australia v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge

21 England v Sri Lanka, Headingley

22 India v Afghanistan, Southampton

22 West Indies v New Zealand, Old Trafford (d/n)

23 Pakistan v South Africa, Lord’s

24 Bangladesh v Afghanistan, Southampton

25 England v Australia, Lord’s

26 New Zealand v Pakistan, Edgbaston

27 West Indies v India, Old Trafford

28 Sri Lanka v South Africa, Chester-le-Street

29 Pakistan v Afghanistan, Headingley

29 New Zealand v Australia, Lord’s (d/n)

30 England v India, Edgbaston

July

1 Sri Lanka v West Indies, Chester-le-Street

2 Bangladesh v India, Edgbaston

3 England v New Zealand, Chester-le-Street

4 Afghanistan v West Indies, Headingley

5 Pakistan v Bangladesh, Lord’s (d/n)

6 Sri Lanka v India, Headingley

6 Australia v South Africa, Old Trafford (d/n)

9 *First semi-final: 1st v 4th, Old Trafford

11 *Second semi-final: 2nd v 3rd, Edgbaston

14 *Final, Lord’s

*Semi-finals and final have a reserve day

NB Fixtures and start times are subject to change. The BBC is not responsible for any changes that may be made

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Dates revealed for Canberra Test between Australia and Sri Lanka

source; Sydney Morning Herald

Canberra’s historic cricket fixture is set to avoid a nightmare timeslot clash with the Australian Open tennis tournament when the capital hosts Australia’s first February Test match in 21 years.

Fairfax Media can reveal Cricket Australia is poised to announced the dates for the summer of cricket as early as Friday, with officials putting the finishing touches on the schedule.

Andrew Barr with Steve Smith and Nathan Lyon before a one-day international in Canberra.Photo: Elesa Kurtz

It’s understood Canberra will likely take centre stage from January 31-February 4 when Australia plays against Sri Lanka in a perfectly timed match for new broadcaster Channel Seven.

It will be the first time Australia has played a home Test so late in the summer since 1998 and is a bonus for Cricket Australia’s $1.2 billion broadcast deal with Channel Seven and Fox Sports.

Channel Seven has the rights to the Australian Open for one more year and the extended summer of Tests has caused a schedule headache for officials.

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FRIENDSHIP CUP 2018- Cricket Carnival – Photos & Video thanks to MC Duke

Richmond-Mahinda joint committee of NSW held on 25th April 2018- ANZAC Day Jamison Park- Penrith, NSW, Australia

Enjoy the Photos thanks to MC Duke – Please click on the Photos below or on this link to view all the Photos on eLanka Facebook page

 

 

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NEWS FROM THE AUSTRALIAN CRICKET BOARD – FULL LIST OF CONTRACTED PLAYERS FOR 2018/19

 

Player
State
Age
Ashton Agar
WA
24
Alex Carey
SA
26
Pat Cummins
NSW
24
Aaron Finch
VIC
31
Peter Handscomb
VIC
26
Josh Hazlewood
NSW
27
Travis Head
SA
24
Usman Khawaja
QLD
31
Nathan Lyon
NSW
30
Glenn Maxwell
VIC
29
Shaun Marsh
WA
34
Mitchell Marsh
WA
26
Tim Paine
TAS
33
Matthew Renshaw
QLD
22
Jhye Richardson
WA
21
Kane Richardson
SA
27
Billy Stanlake
QLD
23
Mitchell Starc
NSW
28
Marcus Stoinis
WA
28
Andrew Tye
WA
31

Well balanced list to represent Australia across all 3 formats

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David Warner Breaks down in tears admits he let Australia down at PRESS Conference

Inside the lavish homes of David Warner which he stands to LOSE after cricket scandal

 

Inside the lavish homes David Warner stands to LOSE: Cricketer’s $10MILLION property empire at risk as he prepares for financial crisis amid Australia’s shameful ball-tampering scandal

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