Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 22 January 2012





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Government Gazette

Time to stop the Calypso Collapso -- bring in a new Captain

Sri Lanka's attempt to make a match of it and keep their chances alive in the five-match one-day series against South Africa at Chevrolet Park in Bloemfontein. The match was buried in a watery grave when thunder showers put an end to it.

When the heavens opened out, South Africa were 179 for 5 in 34 overs chasing 266 for victory. It then required that, that dreaded pair of Duckworth and Lewis bat to bring about a decision.

Duckworth and Lewis using their powers of mathematics came to the conclusion that the South Africans were 4 runs ahead at the time of the stoppage, which was in 34 overs, and tactically handed over victory to A.B. de Villiers side.

When the game was stopped, it was perhaps destiny that the Sri Lankan side were not in a position to claim victory as a punitive measure for their poor showing on the tour. So rain poured down in buckets to call finis to the game and deprive the Lankans of a certain victory. With that defeat, the Sri Lankan cricketers will be only honouring their itinerary as the remaining two games will be only of academic interest.

Disastrous tour

Thus ends another disastrous tour, which not only the cricketers, but all Sri Lankans will want ended and put in the deepest recesses of forgotten memory. No Sri Lankan cricket fan would want to remember, talk or even think about this disaster. With this defeat the score is four defeats in four series. This, to say the least, is unacceptable, no excuses can be trotted out, and no sympathy can be tolerated.

Probably never before has Sri Lanka cricket suffered such ignominy. Never have we been such a laughing stock before the local and the international cricket world. After the series defeats against England, Australia and Pakistan, one expected the cricketers to forget those defeats and come good in South Africa. But that was not to be. Except for that surprising - if not fluke - victory in the Second Test, which was historic considering that it was our first taste of success in Protealand, the remainder of the tour was a calamity.

Near top in both versions

Only recently Sri Lanka cricket was nearing the top in both versions of the game - in Test Cricket what the game is all about, and in the One-day game. Instead of moving on from there and hitting the top, it has been a Calypso Collapso.

Once again, in this game the two youngsters Upul Tharanga and Dinesh Chandimal came good with the bat. Tharanga made 58 and although Chandimal made 38, he showed maturity for a 22-year-old and has a good cricketing future ahead of him.

But what was hilarious in the Sri Lankan innings was to watch the two former skippers who took Sri Lanka to two World Cup finals 2007 in the Caribbean and 2011 in the sub continent - India - being run out.

Jayawardene's run out was excusable because he slipped attempting a run at the non-striker's end. But he should have been more careful and checked the studs in his boots. Obviously studs would have been missing.

Inexplicable and unacceptable

Sangakkara's run out was inexplicable and unacceptable. It was a terrible misunderstanding with Chandimal that led to his dismissal. Both were going well and set to blast the opposing attack and take the team to a stronger total than the 266 they got.

But the 'yes', 'no', 'yes', 'no' comedy saw both batsmen stranded mid pitch and a direct hit saw Sangakkara walking back for 38 when looking good for a big score, which would have boosted the total.

Getting run out is the most cruel form of death. At this level run outs have no place in the game.

Mathivanan in charge

The Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket Upali Dharmadasa, has handed over all cricketing affairs to his Vice President Kanagaraen Mathivanan. Mathivanan former SLC Secretary and now President Colts Cricket Club is ideally suited or this post. With an impeccable character and with a strong record of successful work to show at the Colts CC and when he was secretary of SLC, Mathivanan who shone for Hartley College, Point Pedro and later for Saracens in first class cricket has an unenviable job at hand. He will be tasked with a Himalayan job and that is to resurrect Sri Lanka cricket like the Phoenix from the Ashes. He is competent and has the flair and he must use all resources at his command and from outside and play an innings that the game will always remember as the man in charge of cricketing affairs. We are also glad that Nuski Mohamed, who is a Chartered Accountant, is now back as Treasurer. He has the experience and had served as Treasurer when Cricket administration in the country saw good times. He will no doubt bring in a sense of accountability and professionalism to the management of finances and the restructuring of the entire financial structure of SLC.

Cynosure of all eyes

From now on the cynosure of all eyes will be the new cricket selectors led by that former fast bowling allrounder Ashantha de Mel who takes his rightful place as chairman. De Mel's other team members are - Don Anurasiri, Amal Silva and Hemantha Wickremaratne. The next fling for the Sri Lankan cricketers will be the Commonwealth Bank Tri- series in Australia starting with the first two games against India and Australia in Perth on February 8 and 10.

The selectors when they sit to pick the squad for this series must play straight like they did when playing the game. They must act independently, not tolerate any interference and pick the squad they believe will deliver and come out tops from down under.

At the top of their menu of priority actions must be to appoint a new captain. Fresh leadership is what is needed and this will enable Dilshan to focus on what he is best at without the burden that goes with captaincy.

Time to move on

The appointing of a new captain is not our call or cry. It is the fervent sentiment of every cricketer and cricket fan in the country. Tillekeratne Dilshan has been given his innings, it is now time to move on and effect a change.

Also a young and an emerging set of cricketers must be picked to Aussie land. Lanka's young cricketing cupboard is oozing with talent. They must be let loose.

The selectors will be under the microscope from now on.


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