Canada learn the hard way despite Lankan support

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq
Having two coaches familiar with Sri Lankan conditions and its players is one thing, but to convert that knowledge into a winning result is not as easy task as one would believe it to be.
Minnows Canada found that out the hard way when they confronted Sri Lanka in their open fixture at the newly built Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota on Sunday and were soundly beaten by 210 runs, the seventh largest defeat in a World Cup match.

This was despite having two former Sri Lanka cricketers as coaches in their ranks – Pubudu Dassanayake (head coach) and Chandika Hathurusingha (assistant coach) to guide them. Hathurusingha discarded by Sri Lanka Cricket not so long ago joined Canada for the World Cup.
“We knew the weak and strong points and the in and out of all the Sri Lankan players, but the problem was that we didn’t have the weapons to make it happen on the ground,” said Dassanayake.
“The plans were there. Some of our guys struggled with the heat and especially players like Mahela (Jayawardene) and (Kumar) Sangakkara once they settled down, you needed really experienced bowlers,” he said.
“They actually changed the game. Until the middle of the game we had the plan, but Mahela and Sanga took the game away from us.”

Nevertheless Dassanayake said that it was a great experience for his younger players to be in this situation.
“Playing against the greatest bowlers like (Muthiah) Muralitharan and (Nuwan) Kulasekara gives a lot of confidence for them. All these youngsters are highly talented. But they haven’t got exposed to this level. We know that we can’t come to a level to win against Sri Lanka. It’s a good experience for me too.”
“Canada right now is in a development stage. It’s a young team. We have five under 19 cricketers in this group. It’s the experience we want to take up from this game. Most of the players have never played in front of a crowd like this,” Dassanayake said.
Among the youngsters was Sri Lankan-born Ruvindu Gunasekera who represented Canada in the ICC Under 19 World Cup last year and also played domestic cricket in Sri Lanka representing Badureliya CC in the Premier tournament.

“Our plan is to develop the game and by 2015 or so to become a full member. Cricket is growing in Canada in a big way. Lots of South Asians are moving in there. There has been a lot of development in the last two to three years. But from now onwards we don’t know which way we have to go,” said Dassanayake.
“For us cricket is the number one game, but in Canada they are pushing for the shorter version of games like ice hockey, basketball and baseball. We were able to develop the game because of the South Asian population,” he said.

“Right now our focus is the schools. We have a lot of hurdles as we play cricket from May to September, but schools holidays are from June to September. So playing inter-school cricket is a task. But we are working on that to improve it.”
Dassanayake said the game had developed in North America but it was a big task to emulate them although they had plans in place.
“Our next aim is to build up a good team for next year’s Twenty20 World Cup. They are going to have 16 teams and we have a good chance of getting into that. We will do everything to build up a good team for the event,” said 40-year-old Dassanayake who represented Sri Lanka in 11 Tests and 16 ODIs from 1993-94 and has also represented Canada in the ICC Trophy.
The 2012 ICC Twenty20 World Cup will be hosted by Sri Lanka.


Wake me when the finals start

These floggings are tiresome

By Stuart Clark
DURING the past week, we have seen some of the most boring and one-sided cricket ever to be played, at a time when one-day matches need more substance and relevance. It proves that at this World Cup there are too many teams and not enough talent.

We have seen Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli belt a third-rate Bangladesh attack, we have seen Shane Watson have a net against a Zimbabwe side that contained players who would not make first grade for Sydney University, and we saw Kenya get bundled out for 69 in 23.5 overs and the New Zealanders peel them off in eight overs. If you weren’t bored of one-day cricket after this summer, I think you might be now.
To prove the first week is nothing more than a glorified warm-up fixture, the most interesting piece of cricketing news from India came in the shape of the “Ricky Ponting smashed TV scandal”, which sent Indian media - and their Twitter accounts - into meltdown, and has caused uproar here as well.

It even had one former Australian cricketer calling for Ricky to be sacked and sent home. His memory must still be sketchy from his playing days or he must have forgotten what batsmen of previous generations did upon being dismissed. Oh, and by the way, I would have been a little frustrated as well if I got run-out facing that attack. I am not for one minute condoning this behaviour but surely the World Cup has something more interesting and more important to offer.

If you still need further evidence for me to prove my point, look no further than John Davison. The slow bowling coach at the Centre of Excellence and a former player for Victoria and South Australia has not played at a substantial level since the 2007 World Cup, but has answered the call from Canada aged 40 to appear in another World Cup. This is by no means an attack on him or his cricket, because he is a great guy and fine coach. But should a cricket fan be subjected to this level of international cricket? And who is accountable for allowing it to happen?

I hear you say, what about the Netherlands versus England? The fact England only won with eight balls to spare shows that the system of developing countries is working, and soon the land of clogs and windmills could be a powerhouse of world cricket. Wrong. England is a fine Test-playing nation but a poor one-day team, and if they continue to play like that, they’ll find themselves in the developing nation category.

So before the World Cup of 2015, the ICC needs to decide what is more important - the game or revenue. If they decide to reduce the amount of games and eliminate the weaker nations, they will make the cricket more competitive and a much better spectacle, but if they decide the revenue is more important, they will keep all the teams, potentially add more and therefore increase the revenue generated from TV contracts. It means we will be watching more games of meaningless cricket.
I’m not interested in watching the minnows. The World Cup needs to be the best of the best. If the ICC wants to make it a combination tournament of Test nations and minnows then I’ll switch it on when the finals begin. (The Sydney Morning Herald)


CPRFU office bearers

By Hafiz Marikar
The Annual General Meeting of the Central Province Rugby football Union (CPRFU) was held recently at the OTSC Auditorium. There were no nominations for election as it was agreed that the previous committee, under the dynamic presidency of Mohan Samarakoon, continues in office for 2011. The Committee
Patron: Malik Samarawickrema, President: Mohan Samarakoon, Vice President: Tuan Dole, Secretary: Gamini Udugama, Treasurer: Anura Madawela, Trustee: Maurice Perera. Executive Committee - Hafiz Marikar, HG Ariyaratne, Kalu Perera, Nikoo de Silva, M. Madagamage, S.Alawathagama, A. Mallawarachchi, S. Madugalle, Viper Gunaratne - Development Officer, Nihal Viper Gunarathne - Technical Officer, Anil Jayasinghe - in charge of Referees, Brig. Udaya Ariyaratne - Schools Representtive.
CPRFU is a large district spread over Kandy, Matale, Gampola, Nawalapitiya, Nuwara Eliya, Dambulla, Haguranketa and Wasgamuwa. The need to develop rugby in these districts is a huge task. The CPRFU is solely dependent on the IRB funding in 2011 to continue its earlier development programme suspended by the Interim Committee in 2008.