Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 22 November 2009





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

International Cricket Council or Indian Cricket Council?

The International Cricket Council will not be faulted if they change and call themselves the Indian Cricket Council. We say this because it has now come to pass where the International Cricket Council has a penchant to dance to the tune of Indian Cricket Board - BCCI.

The ICC made a big song and dance that the Referral System where the two teams could go to the third umpire, if they felt that the on field umpire had made a mistake. A certain number of referrals were allowed.

The Referral System first saw the light of the day during the Sri Lanka- India series played here. It was on a trial run with some players being for it and some others not. It was a system for debate.

The ICC even sent their emissary former South African wicket-keeper Dave Richardson who was the first behind the stumps when the nation had kicked out the inhuman apartheid system and had been readmitted a full member of the ICC.

Waxed eloquent

Richardson waxed eloquent on the system in a hurriedly got up media briefing. I had reason to write and denounce this system giving reasons for it. Apparently Richardson did not like the comments made by me. But that is history now.Then the ICC satisfied that this Referral System would work,made it known that it would become law during the India- Sri Lanka Test series that is now in progress in India.

We would like to call it the Weeraratne Referral System because it was Sri Lanka's own Senaka Weeraratne who first mooted this system,that has sadly not being acknowledged by the Interim Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket or the International Cricket Council.

But hey presto. Before the series began some of the Indian cricketers made it known that they were against this system and would want it done away with. Now what was a black mark on the ICC was that they meekly surrendered to the Indian request and now the Weeraratne Referral System is sure to be a thing of the past.

No backbone

The ICC should have had the backbone to stand straight and tell the guys who were against it, that they are the ones running the game and calling the shots and that the Referral System stays and be played accordingly. But what did the ICC do.? They were as meek as lambs and without a murmur bent backwards to please the cricketers who objected to that system, like they did during the Australia- India series when the Indians threatened to pull out of the series if action was taken against Harbhajan Singh. That was not all. The Indians objected to Steve Bucknor standing in the rest of the Test series because he failed to rule Andrew Symonds out caught behind. The Indians felt that the decisions made by Bucknor went against them and asked for his removal. Here too the ICC came out in poor light by pleasing the Indians.

The ICC it seems has still not shed their toothless tiger image. By failing this time too, it can be said that the ICC sheiks in Dubai are destined to stay with this toothless tiger image. Sad when one thinks as to how the ICC has become pawns.

Weeraratne system

Probably it has still not dawned on the ICC that they would not be able to introduce the Weeraratne Referral System into the game again, because other countries too would be objecting. What the ICC now have to do we need not tell them. However one must appreciate the stand taken by the Indians. At one time the lords at Lord's thought that they were Lords Almighty and used the jackboot on the Asian cricketing countries. They enjoyed the veto powers and the Asian countries had to always play second fiddle. Now the Indians the powerhouse of finance are calling the shots and the ICC now have to do their bidding. Sad when one thinks of the levels that the ICC has dropped to. Serves them right.

We remember where Sri Lanka's attempt to get into the elite as full members of the ICC was repeatedly turned down asking us to go back and grow. Junors came down from England and even went round sniffing and saying that we lacked toilets and other infrastructure and wrote that we did not deserve full membership of the ICC.

Heroics and daring

It needed the heroics and daring of the late Gamini Dissanayake who was the President of Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka helped by the dynamism of Abu Fuard, R. Rajamahendren, Daham Wimalasena and Vasantha Coomaraswamy backed by the then President J.R. Jayewardene to corner the ICC lions in their own den and get them to see reason and finally admit Sri Lanka as a full member of the ICC.

Now that the Indians have told the ICC to hell with the Referral System, we wonder how the sheiks in Dubai would react and how they will go from here. We will be keenly watching. Will they come back like a wounded tiger and pounce on their opponents or will they remain with their toothless tiger image.

McHeyzer Stadium in Trinco

During my three-day stay in Trincomalee, I made it a point to visit the McHeyzer Stadium which is the pride of all sportsmen and women of Trincomalee. The Stadium I gathered from Hafiz Marikar, Secretary FFSL was built by a Government Agent of that time Rothwell McHeyzer and was named the McHeyzer Stadium.I noticed that the pavilion still remains an imposing one, but the same cannot be said of the playing field. Sadly it has been neglected probably because of the lack of finance.

In addition to the field where football and athletics take place, it has acres of bare land adjoining the ground. This vast land can easily be made use for car parking. It is now up to the Football Federation of Sri Lanka led by that saviour of the game in the country Manilal Fernando to take the McHeyzer Stadium under their wing and rebuild and bring the stadium to international standard.

Persuasive ways

Fernando has only to be asked and with his persuasive ways he can find the finances required and do the needful and make it an international stadium and make it the preserve of sportsmen and women in that city that would be soon bustling with tourist activity now that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ended the war.

The hotels in the vicinity are gearing for a tourist influx and Fernando would do well to concentrate on the Stadium which had produced many outstanding soccerites who have made it to the national team from Trincomalee and take more soccer there.

When asked Rukmal Perera, Media Director of FFSL said that three of Trinco's outstanding soccer players who sported Sri Lanka colours were former SSP Harold Anthony who was impregnable between the posts, SSP Clement de Silva who captained the national team and A. Rajadurai who also stood between the posts for the country. Clement and Harold went on to become managers of the national team. Paramanandan Balendra also played for the country. Clement's brother Nimal de Silva captained the National Youth team.

Outstanding coach

Trinco also had an outstanding coach in N. Ratnasabathy who produced Clement de Silva and Harold Anthony. FIFA referees also came from Trinco in Bala Ariyanayagam and Singaravelu. Trinco also gave national youth players in Anton Alfanso, S. Lakshamann and R. Vadivelu. It is said that when Trinco Joes met Hindu College at soccer, at the McHeyzer Stadium a full house would take in the thrill a minute action produced by these two teams. It is time that the above mentioned players come forward to help the FFSL take the game forward with their expertise.


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