Ahead of Sri Lanka’s tour of England

Battles rage behind the scenes

By David Hopps
Sri Lanka’s cricketers involved in the IPL have been ordered to report back to their country on 5 May, five days before they are due to depart for their tour of England. Arguments now rage behind the scenes.
The former IPL power broker, Lalit Modi, linked on Twitter to a news article in Sri Lanka’s Sunday Observer which suggested that Sri Lankan politicians were upset at the lack of VIP treatment they received during the World Cup final in Mumbai on 2 April and were out for revenge. According to a Sri Lanka government spokesman, as many as 20 politicians had to buy tickets on the black market and queue for several hours to get in.

Another contributory factor is the resignation as captain and vice-captain of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. These two have been the bedrock of Sri Lankan cricket, not just talented on the field but constant forces for integrity off it. They have not been in charge for long enough. The machinations of Sri Lankan cricket tire the most dedicated of people.

The ICC made noises at its post-World Cup board meeting that it would fight political interference in international cricket. But it is difficult to see what the ICC, toothless and confused at the best of times, can do.
If instructions that Sanga and co should now leave the IPL early originate in the president’s office then the prospect that Haroon Lorgat, the ICC’s chief executive, might get on the phone to Colombo to point out that the intervention could be seen, inter alia, in certain circumstances, notwithstanding this and that, to break article four, code three, clause three of the ICC agreement on political independence does not encourage hopes of success.
It was dubious from the start that Sri Lanka Cricket could initially sign a No Objections Certificate for its 12 players to play in the IPL until 20 May, yet also agree to fulfil a three-day match against Middlesex at Uxbridge, beginning on 14 May. It was just that nobody wished to rock the boat ahead of the World Cup.
This was a World Cup in which Sri Lanka is said to have overspent on its stadiums – impressive stadiums, admittedly – to the tune of US$23m. Do not be surprised if loans are even now being negotiated with India for them to call off their opposition to the IPL.

As for the ECB, it is just sitting patiently. There is every chance that the build-up to the first Test will be a farce, but ticket sales have been sluggish for the Tests at Cardiff, Lord’s and Southampton and any reminder that the World Cup finalists are soon in town cannot do any harm.
England must be strong favourites. Sri Lanka’s new captain, Tillekeratne Dilshan, is not regarded as a natural leader and he succeeds Sangakkara without a coach yet named to replace Trevor Bayliss, who left after the World Cup. Among those in the running is Matthew Maynard, who as the former coach at Glamorgan is at least well versed in internecine strife. – [The Guardian]


Science shocks overconfident Trinity

Little known Science College caused one of schools rugby’s greatest upsets when they downed title favourites Trinity College by a point winning 12 points (1 goal, 1 try) to 11 (1 try, 1 penalty) in their Singer League Under 20 rugby match played at Mount Lavinia yesterday. At half time time Science led 7-6.
Poor ball handling by Trinity contributed greatly to their defeat whereas Science who had nothing to lose went all out playing with no pressure. Whether Trinity were overconfident going into this match one cannot say but they gambled by resting at least five of their regulars.

Science put pressure on Trinity right from the first whistle when centre BO Chamath broke through their defence to score. Second row forward PK Perera made no mistake with the conversion for Science to take a 7-0 lead. Trinity cut down the deficit down to just four points in the 12th minute when full back S Sheik put across a penalty. Sheik reduced the lead further to 7-6 when he fired across another penalty before half time.

Science increased their lead to 12-6 in the second half with scrum half Richard Dharmapala touched down for unconverted try. Trinity fought back to reduce the lead to 12-11 when full back D Nayakaratne touched down but the try went unconverted. The Science defence held strongly despite Trinity’s desperate attempts in the dying stages of the game to avoid their first defeat at the hands of Science. The game played at a hectic pace saw both sides lose a player to the ‘sin bin’.
Referee: Charitha Kodagoda


Delhi wins as Sehwag masters tricky track

KOCHI, (AFP) - Virender Sehwag smashed a 47-ball 80 on a difficult pitch to set up Delhi Daredevils’ 38-run win over Kochi Tuskers Kerala in an Indian Premier League match on Saturday.
The skipper hit five sixes and eight fours as Delhi posted 157-7 before dismissing Kochi for 119 for their third victory in eight matches of the Twenty20 tournament.
Delhi pacemen did the maximum damage, with South African Morne Morkel emerging the most successful bowler with 3-18 off four overs. Seamers Irfan Pathan and Ajit Agarkar each took two wickets.
South African left-arm spinner Roelof van der Merwe completed the victory when he bagged the last three wickets in one over.
Ravindra Jadeja (31) and Australian Brad Hodge (27) were the main run-getters for Kochi, who suffered their fifth defeat in eight matches.
Delhi were struggling at 35-3 after electing to bat on a slow track where the ball sometimes kept low, but opener Sehwag steadied the innings with a 56-run stand for the fourth wicket with Yogesh Nagar (22).
Sehwag stepped up the run-rate after his team managed just 46 runs in the opening 10 overs, hitting left-arm spinner Jadeja for two successive sixes. He scored 49 runs off the last 15 balls he faced.
The Delhi captain completed his half-century in style, pulling seamer Vinay Kumar over mid-wicket for a six. He fell in the 18th over attempting another big shot, caught in the deep off Kumar.
Sehwag put on 41 for the fifth wicket with Australian Travis Brit, who contributed a 13-ball 20 with the help of one six and two fours.
Fast bowler Shanthakumaran Sreesanth earlier jolted Delhi with two wickets in his opening over as he bowled Australian David Warner and then trapped Naman Ojha lbw with deliveries that kept low.

Delhi Daredevils 157-7 (20) (V. Sehwag 80; Y. Nagar 22, T. Brit 20; S. Sreesanth 2/10) beat Kochi Tuskers Kerala 119 (18.5) (R. Jadeja 31, B. Hodge 27; M. Morkel 3/18, R. van der Merwe 3/20, Irfan Pathan 2/27, A. Agarkar 2/23) by 38 runs.


Kingswood thrashes Thomians 63-6

By M. Minhaz in Kandy
The Perera twins centre Oshan and stand off Davanga were the scourge of S. Thomas’, Mount Lavinia as they helped themselves to eight tries in Kingswood’s 63 points (4 goals, 7 tries) to 6 (2 penalties) win in the Singer Shield Schools under 19 Division One rugby tournament match played at the Bogambara Stadium, Kandy yesterday. At half time Kingswood led 29-3.
It was the Thomians who scored first when stand off Devinda Jayasinghe fired a 35-metre penalty in the sixth minute. Thereafter the Perera twins took control of the match to knock the daylight out of the Thomians to score their biggest ever victory over Mount Lavinia school.
Centre three quarter Oshan Perera was spanking form running in as many as six tries and four of them were in a row at the start of the game. His twin brother Davanga Perera helped himself with two tries and they were all 30-metre efforts against a poor Thomian defence who hardly offered any resistance. The other try scorers for Kingswood were winger Mohamed Nazry (1) and full back Thilina Weerasinghe (2) who also goaled four of the tries. For the Thomians, Devinda Jayasinghe put over two penalties.
D. Nimal refereed.
Maliyadeva beat Piliyandala 24-5
Maliyadeva, Kurunegala registered a fairly comfortable 24 points (2 goals, 2 tries) to 5 (1 try) win over Piliyandala Central in their schools under 19 Division III rugby tournament match played at Kurunegala yesterday. At lemons the Devans led 24-0.
But the Devans could not display the same form which they showed in the initial half as they could manage only five more points after the turn around and their opponents also responded the same amount of points. Gerald Rasiah refereed. - (MM)


Chigumbura resigns as Zim captain

HARARE: Elton Chigumbura has resigned as Zimbabwe cricket captain to focus on improving his own form.
The 25-year-old all-rounder was appointed captain in May last year as replacement for spinner Prosper Utseya, but his own performances have suffered under the pressure of the captaincy.
He was sharply criticised after the team’s disappointing results at the recent World Cup.
Chigumbura told local newspaper Newsday on Friday that “I have thought long and hard about the job since my return from the World Cup and I have consulted my family and friends about it.
“While some still think I should have stayed on, others agreed with me that I needed to concentrate on my own game and let somebody else lead the team.”
Opening batsman Hamilton Masakadza or Brendan Taylor is tipped to replace Chigumbura.
– [Agencies]


Discards Maharoof, Silva called up for tour opener

Lanka team to arrive in England in four stages

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq

Sri Lanka’s cricket team for a full Test series of three matches will arrive in England in four stages.
All-rounder Farveez Maharoof currently playing for Lancashire in the English county championships and wicket-keeper/batsman Kaushal Silva, captain of SSC in the ongoing Premier League have been added to the Sri Lanka team for their opening three-day tour match against Middlesex starting at Uxbridge on May 14.
Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said that Sri Lanka will leave for England on May 10 with nine players (including Silva). He said that they will be joined in England by Maharoof and spinner Ajantha Mendis who is playing county cricket for Somerset. Captain Tillakaratne Dilshan and rookie fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep are also expected to join the team in time for the first match against Middlesex where Sri Lanka will have 13 players to choose their final 11.

“Dilshan and Pradeep who are presently playing in the IPL for Royal Challengers Bangalore will join the team by May 13,” said Ranatunga.
“The rest of the IPL contracted players excluding former captain Kumar Sangakkara will join the team in England on May 16. Sangakkara is expected to arrive a day later but all the players will be available for selection for the second tour game against England Lions starting on May 19,” he said.
Maharoof and Silva will remain with the squad until the second tour game before they are released to play for their respective teams – Lancashire and SSC.

Maharoof who last played for Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final in June 2010 and has been out of favour scored a century for Lancashire in their innings victory over Somerset last week.
The first Test between Sri Lanka and England commences at Cardiff on May 26.
May 10: Thilan Samaraweera, Tharanga Paranavitana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal, Prasanna Jayawardene, Rangana Herath, Chanaka Welagedara, Suranga Lakmal and Kaushal Silva.
May 13: Tillakaratne Dilshan and Nuwan Pradeep (both Royal Challengers Bangalore)
May 16: Mahela Jayawardene and Thisara Perera (both Kochi Tuskers), Suraj Randiv (Chennai Super Kings), Dilhara Fernando (Mumbai Indians),

May 17: Kumar Sangakkara (Deccan Chargers).
Note: Ajantha Mendis (Somerset) and Farveez Maharoof (Lancashire) are already in England