Prabodha hitches his wagon to a star

By M Naushad Amit
With the present popularity and demand for cricket at all levels, regardless of the different versions of the game, an all-rounder is treated as a jewel. Prabodha Arthavidu of Thurstan College, for his age, is one such of a rare breed in cricket.
Arthavidu (18) playing in his final year for Thurstan as a hard-hitting opener and a productive off-spinner has already reached 503 runs and claimed 30 scalps in nine matches. And his ultimate target before he signs off from school cricket is to reach 1250 runs and claim 75 wickets.

ďIím really proud and happy with the kind of cricket I play now. For an 18-year-old youngster I think Iím doing fine in my own style of play. I hope to build up my natural talent in batting and become a productive all-rounder at the next level of cricket,Ē the brawny youngster told The Nation in an interview.
Arthavidu has many junior records to his name achieved at his previous school before he joined Thurstan College. He was barely six-years old when he first attended cricket practices at Presidentís College, Rajagiriya. Then he went on to play in the older age-groups in Division IV and became a confident opening batsman in the under-14 Division I team at the age of 10. At the age of 11 he captained the under-13 cricket team at Presidentís and went on to represent the under-15 provincial team. Before joining Thurstan he played three Division I first XI seasons for Presidentís College.

After joining Thurstan for better prospects in cricket, Arthavidu played at the under-17 age group and being a high-flier earned a call to play with the first XI team. He impressed during the first season by scoring over 500 runs and grabbing over 50 wickets which earned him school colours. He followed the same achievement in the following year with 824 runs and 50 wickets and thinks being very enthusiastic is the key for the achievements.
ďIíve played at two big matches and won the best bowlerís award in my first limited over big match. In that way I think Iím lucky to get these opportunities in my first year with Thurstan. My teammates, coach and the captains gave me the confidence to perform and I did what comes naturally to me. Iím still running with the confidence I gained then,Ē added Arthavidu who had never missed a single first XI match since he first played for Thurstan against St. Josephís in 2008.

Unlike other cricketers nowadays Arthavidu has his own way of relieving pressure when he goes out to bat a new innings. His unique way creating a good knock with the bat comes by a sort of daydreaming.
ďI usually go as the opener or at times as the one-down batsman. Usually when the situation is critical I recall one of my good and memorable knocks. My favourite is a half-century recorded for NCC against Chilaw Marians during last yearís Under-23 Premier season. If the situation is not that serious I normally recall the recent best knock and itís been always helpful. Recollecting one of my best knocks normally helps me to settle down quickly at the crease and score freely. In bowling it depends on the way the batsman acts. If I find him still unsettled I strike quick and make him play a loose shot,Ē Arthavidu explained about his stress-relieving tactic in batting.
By now Arthavidu has played three Division II seasons and a Premier season in the Under-23 cricket tournament where he was able to prove his batting prowess. This naturally hard-hitting batsman however is more concerned about his batting average than the strike rate. At present Arthavidu averages 45 in nine matches which is his best in his school career. But his aim is to better it to over 60 by the end of the season.
ďIn first XI cricket when I go out the opponents usually spread out the field. Though I like to pinch hit I really enjoy playing according to the situation. I love making singles and whenever a loose ball comes my way I give it the deserved treatment. I like to use my feet against the spinners and many have advised me to change that. But Iíve scored most of my runs that way and have never bothered to change this style which I consider useful. Unless of course I have to adjust when I reach the next level,Ē he said.

Like other school cricketers Arthavidu has his idols in the sport. Out of the cricketing stars his favourites are former Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds and Sri Lankan star Angelo Mathews. Arthavidu went on to say that both Symonds and Mathews have inspired him a lot and his wish is to reach that level.
ďI love to watch them play and both these all-rounders have the ability to change a game in no time by their abilities. I donít know if I will ever meet Andrew Symonds but if I ever meet Angelo Mathews I have a question to ask him. I need to find out the secret of handling pressure in a situation which looks hopeless and nothing seems to go your way. The way he played with Lasith Malinga and built that record-breaking ninth-wicket partnership against Australia in the first ODI in Melbourne is magic. He must have been under tremendous pressure but his face was really calm. I lack that kind of patience and the day I could get over this I could reach his level,Ē the youngster who targets to play for Sri Lanka by the age of 24 added.


Bring 2022 World Cup to USA

By Bill Clinton*
This past summer I joined thousands of fans in the stands of the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa, to watch as the United States faced a strong Ghana team during the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup.
I had changed my schedule to attend the game, following an exhilarating U.S. win over Algeria in the first round. Even though Ghana defeated the U.S., I was proud of our team. They played well and fought to the very end.
Iím always amazed by the gameís powerful, unifying force. For 30 days, fans from all nations put aside their differences to embrace a shared love for a game that has been bringing people together for generations.
In 1994, when I was president, it was a great thrill to sit in the stands at Soldier Field in Chicago with more than 67,000 enthusiastic fans, including German chancellor Helmut Kohl and the president of Bolivia, Gonzalo SŠnchez de Lozada, in the opening game of the World Cup.
It was the first time - and so far, the last time - that World Cup games were played on American soil. Iím trying to change that by serving as the Honorary Chairman of the USA Bid Committee to bring the World Cup back in 2022.

The bid could not come at a better time for the game of soccer, the United States and the world. First, the level of enthusiasm for the game has never been greater across America. Thanks in good part to the opportunity FIFA gave us to host the games in 1994, we have become a nation of footballers, young and old. The last 16 years have seen the creation of the MLS professional league, an expansion of the gameís United States fan base to more than 90 million and now a roster of four million registered youth players. Last summer our passion for the sport extended beyond our borders: The United States was second only to South Africa in tickets purchased for the 2010 World Cup.

Second, our nation, like the game, is more diverse than ever before. We have a fascinating mix of ethnicities and cultures within our borders. Players from every competing nation would feel as though they were playing a home game right here in the United States.
Third, this is an important moment for the future of the game of soccer. Our bid promises not only to uphold the great legacy of the World Cup but also to advance global growth by creating new opportunities for the worldís soccer economy, including greater television and sponsorship rights, increased franchise and team values and greater investment in player development.

Last, and perhaps most important, our bid will mobilize American citizens and citizens around the globe to do more to address the economic, social and environmental challenges facing our world in the 21st century. If awarded the opportunity, we will use the 2022 World Cup as a platform to assist those less fortunate and promote environmental sustainability in line with the United Nationsí Millennium Development Goals. For example, a percentage of every ticket sold at the 2022 World Cup will go to the World Cup of Life campaign, a project aimed at providing drinking water for millions in the developing world. Additionally, as hosts, we would set new standards in environmental responsibility by minimizing the footprint of the event in six core areas: water, waste, energy, transportation, procurement and climate change.

In our interdependent world we have to change our theory of success from a zero-sum game, where one team has to win while the other must lose. Itís good for sports, and makes for great World Cup matches, but itís wrong for the world. We need to build a world with more winners.
Our bid will do just that. In 1988 FIFA had the foresight to recognize the potential of the United States. Twenty-two years later, we are ready to demonstrate to the world how much more the United States has to offer and how far our nation is willing to go to deliver an outstanding tournament. If the United States is selected to host the FIFA World Cup, we will be extremely privileged - and ready - to honor the sport of soccer and all that it represents for the fan, for the game and for the world. - [CNN]
*President Clinton is Honorary Chairman, USA Bid Committee for FIFA World Cup 2022. He will be part of the USA presentation delegation on Dec. 1 in Zurich. On Dec. 2 FIFA will announce the host nations for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.


Fourth Sports Minister from the hills

By Hafiz Marikar
Mahindananda Aluthgamage, becomes the fourth to be appointed as Sports Minster from the hill country. Earlier it was SB Dissanayake followed by Lakshman Kiriella and CB Ratnayake. Some of the Sports Ministers who did their best were VA Sugathadasa (Colombo), KB Ratnayake (Anuradhapura), Vincent Perera (Kotahena), Nanda Mathew (Colombo), Johnston Fernando (Kurunegala), Gamini Lokuge (Kesbewa), and CB Ratnayake (Kandy).

Mahindananda Aluthgamage who started his education at Gangasiripura Vidyalaya later crossed over to Royal College. He was in sports at junior level and was a smart Cadet. With or without doing sports he has given a big hand for sports like football, volleyball, cricket and cycling, in his hometown in Nawalapitiya. He also developed several playing fields. He played a grand part in the Youth Sports Festival which was held recently in his electorate.

Mahindananda Aluthgamage, who took office on Thursday morning, has promised to give of his best for sports and also has promised to find sponsors for governing sports bodies.
He was in Kandy on Friday and later visited his hometown Nawalapitya and yesterday was seen at the Pallekele Cricket Stadium. He said that he will take the responsibility to have all three World Cup venues, Pallekele, Hambantota and Colombo ready by end of next month.