Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 21 February 2010





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Government Gazette

History awaits Jayasuriya

Sanath Teran Jayasuriya, known as the ‘ Master Blaster’ or the ‘Matara Mauler’ is no doubt god’s gift to the game. From the time he was knee high to a bat at St. Servatius College, Matara, big run making came naturally to him.

His natural promise began to grow and representative honours was not long in coming. He first served notice when he toured Pakistan with the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team and reeled off two double centuries.

That was his launching pad and since then has mesmerized the cricket world with his unbelievable and amazing stroke play with the willow that has made everyone watch in awe and applaud his brilliance.

Records came naturally to him and now he is in line to create another world record when he becomes a Member of Parliament from Matara in the coming General Election.

Sporting the cap of the UPFA gifted to him by the sports loving and promoting President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he will now take his stance and strike it rich for his party. President Rajapaksa has the god given ability to spot a winner, and in Jayasuriya he has certainly picked an easy winner.

Jayasuriya’s next record will come when he takes the field for Sri Lanka at the next 50 over World Cup tournament to be conducted in the sub-continent as a Member of Parliament. He will be the first in the world to do so. He has promised to make his bat do the talking by scoring heavily and then taking his rightful place in the team.

Cheers to Michael Beloff QC

Loud cheers should be given to the Independent Appeals Commissioner of the International Cricket Council Michael Beloff QC for dismissing the appeal made by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

The appeal was made after ICC Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle and ICC General Manager -cricket- Dave Richardson as per the regulations decided to declare the pitch at the Feroz Shah Kotala Ground unfit and to impose a suspension until the end of 2010.

This was a sequel to the one-day international match between India and Sri Lanka on the ground in December 27 last year which was abandoned after 23.4 overs were bowled.

In his judgment Beloff said that following due consideration of all the evidence and submissions from both the ICC and the BCCI, the correct decision was taken by Madugalle and Richardson to declare the pitch to be dangerous and, therefore,unfit.

What happened on December 27 last year when the game was called off was a disgrace to not only the game, but for all what it stands for. The BCCI when they asked the Feroz Shah Kotala authorities to host the one-dayer should acted more responsibly and followed the preparation of the pitch.

No ordinary game

After all the BCCI should have realized that this was no ordinary game, but an international and the wicket should have been prepared in keeping with the standard of the game.

To do the cry baby act after making the mistake and then appealing is not what was expected of the BCCI. They should have taken to task the culprits and punished them so that it would have served as a deterrent.

Michael Beloff QC must be applauded for standing tall and siding with Madugalle and Richardson and not falling to pressure. India, are slated to conduct the bulk of World Cup matches next year and we hope they will learn.

It is now up to the BCCI to see that the pitches that are being prepared for the World Cup would not suffer a similar fate like did the Feroz Shah Kotala. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have also been entrusted with hosting World Cup matches and this should serve as a lesson to them to be on guard. Madugalle and Richardson made their decision the way they saw it and they too must be appreciated for not going soft, but doing their job and making the right decision. Madugalle and Richardson were known to play straight when batting and in this instance too played straight.

More scorn on ball biter

We stated that the two one-day match suspension on ball biter and Pakistan one-day captain Sahid Afridi was insufficient and that he should have been given an even stronger punishment.

But chief of match referees Ranjan Madugalle had to go by the rules, and the rules allowed only a suspension of two twenty20 matches. That is how far Sri Lanka’s former captain and stylish batsman could go and no more.

Former Australian captain Alan Border sided with us and said he too felt the two-match suspension was insufficient and a more harsher penalty should have been slapped on the offender. Border was expressing what most others felt too.

Now comes the news that Pakistani senators have demanded ‘strict action’ against Afridi who was caught tampering the ball in a one-day match against Australia.

After discussing Pakistan’s disgraceful show on their tour of Australia where they lost the three test series three-nil and the one-day series five-nil, the senate standing committee on sports made the call.

Undisciplined players

According to AFP this is what Senator Tariq Azeem said- ‘ We should not select Afridi for some time and tell the world that we are not cheats and we know how to deal with undisciplined players’, calling for a five-year ban on Afridi.

But the committee had stopped short of calling for such a hefty punishment, instead demanding that the Pakistani Cricket Board take ‘strict action’ against Afridi and ban him for at three series.

According to Ijaz Butt the Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman, premature action cannot be taken against Afridi.’ Once the report of the evaluation committee comes, then only we can take any action on the matter. Under the ICC rules you can’t punish a player twice for one offence’, said Butt.

What has angered the Pakistanis was that the whole world saw Afridi committing this ugly act by biting the ball.

A thrilling draw

In these columns last week headlined - Bens - Joes play out a thrilling draw - and the good time the old boys of the two schools enjoyed at a party after the game, I failed to mention the name of another Old Benedictine Alan Gerreyn who had the gathering cheering him lustily for his eye catching dancing.

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