The speed of the leader is the speed of the pack

“They will have to run at my pace”

By M Naushad Amit
The newly appointed Minister of Sports in the new Sri Lanka cabinet, Mahindananda Aluthgamage hinted that drastic changes will be on the way to ensure top officials of all sports governing bodies of the country perform their duties in the rightful way while at office. This he said soon after assuming duties at the Ministry of Sports last Thursday (November 25) at Reid Avenue in Colombo.

“Officials including the heads of the 54 affiliated sports governing bodies will have no time to kill just warming their seats. I as an individual know the reason behind setbacks of many of these governing bodies and the time has come to make them work hard. Whatever their speed maybe, they will have to run at my pace. I just took over the office as the Sports Minister, give me some time and the difference will be clearly visible,” minister Aluthgamage pledged at his inaugural press briefing with the local reporters.
Aluthgamage further affirmed that he will not make any changes in the strategies initiated by his predecessor, former Minister of Sports, CB Ratnayake who ran the office since April 23 earlier this year during the earlier cabinet.

“The former minister initiated certain plans for the benefit of local sportsmen during his short tenure. As the new Sports Minister I’m here to draw the guidelines and give the leadership. My job here is not to change plans, positions or fire anybody. We have a journey ahead of us,” he said.
However, he made a clear statement to the reporters that the time is too early to unveil his visions for his tenure at office. But according to the statements he made during the press briefing it was clear that minister Aluthgamage had come well prepared after finding factual details on his new subject.
“It’s just been three days since I was appointed to this ministry. It’s a huge challenge but I’m ready to face them. But it will be unfair by others if I make any statement of the future plans without correctly studying the background. I assure that I will spend more time at office and reveal our plans for the future within a week or two at a press conference,” he explained.
The minister also stated that the common vision of his is to make sure that every child in Sri Lanka who is talented in any sport be given the correct guidance to reach the top level.
“The existing system does not help children to craft their talents and move up in the ladder of sports. My aim is to provide these children of different levels the perfect background to master their talents and reach the top level”.

He further pointed out that the reason Sri Lankan sportsmen are far behind the international level is due to the lack of making use of the correct technical systems.
“If our sportsmen achieved at international level it is due to the talent. But other countries make maximum use of the technical support. One of our plans is to combine both these aspects and look into the possibility of gaining more in the global arena. This method also can be useful to help the rural talent to reach the highest level. I’m sure we can achieve this,” added the minister.
The minister also brought up the fact that each governing body of sports in the country should have their own methods in finding sponsors.
“There are few sports associations and federations which are doing fine financially. But most of them are running in debt or are in a grave state due to lack of funding. The government will not be able to fund these bodies forever.”

“Officials who fight for the top post should have the same energy to continue with their responsibilities. They should be able to create interest among the general public and generate funds and if it’s hard to do so they should step down. If they work according to a well prepared strategy targets are always achievable. The ministry has plans to help less active sports bodies but they too have a responsibility,” Aluthgamage said.
Minister Aluthgamage held the Deputy Minister of Power and Energy post in the previous cabinet. Clarifying further, minister Aluthgamage admitted that he has not taken part in many sports activities other than soccer at school level.

“Every now and then I do play badminton at the sports ministry facility and I must say that I haven’t done sports at the top level even in school. But I love sports and I know the subject.”
Minister Aluthgamage who is an old boy of Royal College, Colombo will take charge of the country’s sports affairs for the next six years at his ministerial office which is located few yards away from his alma mater.


Spin bowling still effective in Test cricket

By Dyan Pathiravithana
It is indeed encouraging to see spin bowlers from the West Indies coming back to play a larger role once again in their bowling attack. Anyone following the game will not forget the likes of Ramadhin and Valentine or Lance Gibbs and even Sobers joining in with his spinning after opening the attack.
They always made the headlines with their high class performances. Even today Ramadhin’s long spell of 98 overs against the English is a record in Test cricket. In fact the legendary ‘Chinaman’ which was often used by Sobers, has its beginning with Elliss “Puss” Achong a West Indian player of Chinese origin.
Folklore has it that in 1933 Achong, a left-arm leg-spinner, bowling to the famous Walter Robins (a right-hand bat) had him stumped by a ball that spun in from outside the off stump. Robins was taken by complete surprise and retorted, “Fancy being done by a bloody Chinaman” and the name stuck.

All the Test playing countries now depend on genuine spinners. And many have enjoyed the great harvest of wickets they manage to get or if necessary help to slow the game down when batsman start scoring freely. They have once again become an important feature in the bowling attack. A good spinner who is able to bowl length with variations is an asset to a team.
At the rate scoring is done by the top order batsmen pace bowlers have been getting punished to a larger extent. Any coach will tell you it is often easier to score off pacemen. But a good spin attack can deplete those boundaries and slow a team down to minimum run scoring. This is as a result of the shorter versions of the game that makes it a necessity to make it difficult to score and do it fast.

Terms often used by commentators to describe the strokes played by a batsman are often woven around the limbs and eyes of the player. “He has the feet of a dancer” “He is so wristy” or “He has good reflexes” these comments may be in use more often than not during periods that spinners operate.
These are some of the skills needed to overcome good spin bowling and are a great asset in the armoury of good batsmen. Feet of the dancer, describes coming out or leaving the crease to get at the spin. When you get to the ball before it could take effect you could smother the spin and make it look ordinary.
Spin bowling is an art following the techniques of a dancer or painter; and, being so wristy describes a batsman who could also be an artist himself, this is due to his ability to move with the form that spinning would take at that moment. If it takes the form of the dancer the ability to reach the spin and play it with supple wrists is an advantage such artistic batsmen have.

The wrist is also used by spinners who are known as wrist spinners. The batsman who uses his wrists to advantage can always master such bowling; a good example was Brian Lara. Lara was an artist with the bat who could dance down the wicket, be supple and wristy as a result and had good reflexes to spot the ball quickly and use his body to benefit.
Reflexes are a most important part of the game mostly benefiting batting; as a sharp eye gives the batsman the advantage of knowing what is in the mind of the bowler. When you watch the bowler while batting, you have to watch all moves he makes and it includes his arm that delivers the ball and where he keeps his foot, and that needs quick reflexes, especially when facing fast bowling. That is an important feature one must adopt as a batsman because you can reliably know in advance what to expect. A definite benefit.


Mega publicity campaign to capture the spirit of the event

Join the fun: It’s our World Cup

The Secretariat office of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2011 in Sri Lanka will begin the countdown to Cricket’s most awaited global event, the ICC CWC with a chain of mega events to be hosted in the country. With less than 84 days for the ICC CWC 2011 Sri Lanka as a co-host nation will stage a series of ground level activations in a bid to capture the spirit of the mega event.

The first of these activities will feature an on-air radio promotion to identify a suitable voice for the ICC CWC 2011 official mascot ‘Stumpy’. This promotion will enable Sri Lankan cricket lovers to get involved with the ICC CWC 2011 pre-event activities.

“This publicity campaign is planned for almost 10 weeks before the beginning of the ICC CWC 2011. It’s just not about the cricket World Cup, it’s also a project to build Sri Lanka’s image as a co-host of the mega event. We undertook a huge challenge to establish three new venues for the ICC CWC 2011 in a short period. This is a milestone for Sri Lanka cricket and we as Sri Lankans should work collectively to make it a great success where we can claim pride,” said DS de Silva, the chairman of the interim committee of Sri Lanka Cricket at the launch on Wednesday (November 24).

The promoters will also conduct an ‘ICC Mini Cricket World Cup’ for the locals in a bid to create the ICC CWC 2011 hype among all Sri Lankans. This tournament which will be conducted across the three world cup venues of Hambantota, Kandy and Colombo will begin on December 4 and run until January 8. Two winning teams from each district will play against each other and the champions of this event will get a rare feat of playing against six members of the original 1996 World Cup winning Sri Lanka cricket team.
Among other promotional items is the World Cup Glory Express, a 45-day island wide promotional tour to assemble local cricket lovers to support the ICC CWC 2011. The well decorated World Cup Glory Express open truck will carry a giant cricket ball where fans can show their support to the tournament by signing or placing their hand print.

“With the entire country free of war this will be the ideal platform to gather the cricket lovers from the extreme northern and southern parts of the country. The World Cup Glory Express will be the best way for those fans to show their pledge for the ICC CWC 2011 and also the Sri Lankan cricket team,” said Sudesh Sunder Moorthy, Director Operations of Phoenix Ogilvy, the public relation firm appointed to promote the mega event along with Wizcraft by the ICC.

“This should not be counted just as another World Cup. The ICC has come up with a plan to promote the ICC CWC 2011 in India and Bangladesh which are the other co-hosts along with Sri Lanka. This ICC CWC 2011 should be able to create an entire new image about our country to the outer world,” said the Tournament Director of ICC CWC 2011, Suraj Dandeniya. [MNA]


Junior football carnival in Jaffna

The Amalaseelan Invitation Soccer Carnival for the under-11age group was held for the third consecutive year at St. John’s College grounds in Jaffna on November 13. Junior footballers representing St. John’s College, St. Charles MV, Columbuthurai MV, Navanturi MV, St. Patrick’s College, Jaffna College, St. James MV and Manatkaadu Model School participated.
The chief guest, J. Amalaseelan retired vice principal of St. John’s Jaffna, distributes footballs to all participants at the competition


MCA Centenary 2011 ‘D’ Div. Tournament

The Mercantile Cricket Association (MCA) Centenary 2011 season got off to a start with their D Division 50-overs league tournament last week. The tournament is sponsored by Ceylon Cold Stores (CCS) for the eighth successive year and is contested once again for the ‘Elephant Lemonade Cup’ by nine teams in a single group round robin. The tournament will consist of 39 matches with the final scheduled for January 8.

The official sponsorship cheque handing over ceremony took place last Tuesday (November 23) at the MCA board room. National Sales Manager of CCS Wasanthalal Fernando (2nd from right) handing over the sponsorship cheque to Niran Mahawatte Vice President of MCA (3rd from left). Others in the picture are from left: Rohana Dissanayake (Secretary, Tournament Committee MCA), Roshan Iddamalgoda (General Secretary MCA) and Deeptha Perera (Regional Sales Manager CCS)


Schools cricket gets funding from Sydney

Sri Lanka Cricket Sydney Incorporated Association organised a cricket carnival to felicitate the Sri Lanka national team and also to generate funds for Sri Lanka Schools Cricket development to promote and uplift the development of schools cricket in Sri Lanka.
SLC chairman receives a cheque for Australian $8000 from Chanaka Senanayake, Chairman Sri Lanka Cricket Sydney Incorporated Association


Junior novices’ tennis

The annual Novices’ Junior Tennis Tournament conducted by the Otters Aquatic Club (OAC) will be worked off from December 4 to 12 at the OAC premises. The tournament which will be open for non-ranked novices from Sri Lanka Tennis Association will be conducted in four different age categories. Girls and boys of the under-8, 10, 12 and 14 age categories will be eligible to take part in the tournament which will be held only in the singles category.
According to the organisers this tournament is conducted for the juniors who lack exposure and the proper ability to gain rankings. A player will be given the opportunity to take part in two events. Entries for the event will close on November 29 at the OAC office and the draw will be held on December 2 at 5.00pm. [MNA]


Nationalised Services Carrom C’ship

Ajith Chandrasoma of Ceylon Petroleum Corporation emerged singles champion while Inoka Atapattu of State Engineering Corporation won both the singles and doubles titles at the Nationalised Services Carrom Championship held at the Sri Lanka Carrom Federation at Reid Avenue recently. Atapattu’s partner in the women’s doubles was Kalyani Amarasinghe.
Results Men’s singles: Ajith Chandrasoma (CPC) beat JN Abeywardene (SLCTB) (25/7, 25/6). Men’s doubles: Lalith Hewage/RASH Ranasinghe (CECB) beat Ajith Chandrasoma/AD Vijitha (CPC) (20/16, 24/25, 25/24).
Women’s singles: Inoka Atapattu (SEC) beat Kalyani Amasasinghe (SEC) (25/6, 25/18)
Women’s doubles: Inoka Atapattu/Kalyani Amarasinghe (SEC) beat Pushpakanthi Abeyratne/KS Jayawardene (SLIS) (25/2, 9/25, 25/15.)