Tuesday, 7 October 2003  
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Alls well that ends well

Comment by Dr. Elmo Rodrigopulle

The United Cricket Board of South Africa have done well in ultimately agreeing to tour Pakistan. At one time it looked as though the cricket world of both countries would collapse, after a bomb blast in Karachi forced the UCBSA to say no to the tour.

Alls well that ends well and the International Cricket Conference too will heave a sigh of relief now that the South Africans are in Pakistan playing the game even though it is a shortened tour.

When the tour was called off the Pakistan Cricket Board threatened to sue for losses incurred. Had that happened it would have been a headache for the ICC and would not have been for the good of the game. Now that the South Africans are in Pakistan, it is hoped that the game will be allowed to be played free of violence and terrorist interference.

Sometime back the New Zealanders had to abort a tour when a bomb exploded near their hotel in Karachi. The horror of what a bomb could do was witnessed by the Kiwis and that put an end to that tour.

Most countries are today troubled by violence and terrorist activity. True that the safety of the players must be uppermost in mind. But if tours are called off for no reason other than cricket, then a precedent would be set and it won't be long when countries would call off tours for frivolous reasons. When tours are called off countries suffer great losses, so do the sponsors and those televising the game. Today cricket is big money. Money is needed for the players and countries to keep the game going.

Lack of money would mean that all things good for the player, the administrator and the game would be on the back foot.

Zimbabwe are in Australia and soon the world champions Australia would be joining India and New Zealand for a triangular in India. India too is not free of terrorists. But indications are that the tours would go on without untoward incidents. The host country is duty bound to see to the safety and security of visiting teams and officials. Once this has been assured, then teams must tour.

True when there are threats the cricketers would not have peace of mind to perform at peak. When safety and security are assured, then the cricketers must get on the field and perform because that is their job and that is what they are there for.

Tours are arranged months or years ahead and a lot of preparations are made and when tours are suddenly aborted, it upsets every good thing and it is suffering allround.

One hopes that everything will be done for the good of the game, because the game's the thing. With Pakistan struggling to regain their lost glory, the coming series with South Africa will be keenly contested.

Chandrishan excels

In a session that took place the other day at the National Sports Institute which was tagged a one day athletic open forum, the most sensible offering came from former sportsman Chandrishan Perera. Perera who was good at cricket, but who preferred to switch to his favourite sport rugby, where he excelled for the CH & FC and later Sri Lanka, stunned the audience when he revealed that our sportsmen and women have natural talent, but they stagnate due to various reasons. Speaking further and quoting from an Aussie survey Perera said that it has been discovered that the Lankans are very competent in the world at tender ages, combining natural combination of eye, mind and body at 15 years.

But from that point onwards while sportsmen and women from other countries make rapid progress allround we tend to fall away. Now our sports bodies must take it from that point. But what for the talking. We don't go beyond. This one day forum was held especially to find out what went wrong at the World Athletic Championships in Paris and the Asian Championships in Manila.

Now that this forum gave a fair indication and what is required for progress, we dare say that the Athletic Association must now forget our athletes who brought fame and concentrate on the future, by spotting young talent and putting them through their paces.

Our famed athletes are now on the other side of the hill. The AA must send young athletes to the next Olympics in Athens, so that they can use it as a learning experience. Sirasa No. 1

After 19 long years the Havelocks tasted victory and won a trophy beating over their arch rivals, the CR & FC in the final of the Premier rugby championships worked out at the Red Shirts ground last Sunday. In the past what excitement there was in the build up to this derby. For weeks supporters of the teams, including the fair sex get embroiled in discussing form, the odds and they even sport new fashions on this big day. But now all that are things of the past. How sad.

While Minister Johnston Fernando must be congratulated for seeing to the excellent conclusion of the tournament, special mention must be made of Secretary SLRFU Nalin de Silva and Hansa Singhawansa, Tournament Director for the splendid show they put up.

Also we will be failing in our duty if we don't mention Sirasa the TV people who did a grand job taking the action to the viewers who could not get to the ground to watch the action.

Sirasa's showing of the action was star class.

Call all Sri Lanka






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