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Well done President Rajapakse

President Mahinda Rajapakse would earn the plaudits of all sports lovers, especially supporters of Sri Lanka's master basher Sanath Jayasuriya for initiating an inquiry to find out as to why Jayasuriya was dropped from the Test team touring India.

The President who was inundated with complaints, did right in asking Minister of Sports Jeevan Kumaratunga to launch out on an inquiry and get to the crux of the matter.

The inquiry would reveal all. Whether Jayasuriya was dumped for fitness reasons, poor form or whether his detractors have ganged up to prematurely end Jayasuriya's illustrious innings.

Lots of gossip was doing the rounds that Jayasuriya was wilfully axed. President Rajapakse wanting to clear the air, ordered this inquiry and it was a move well executed.

That Jayasuriya has done wonders for the game, no one would deny or contest. He gave his everything for the game and country over the years and Sri Lanka winning the World Cup in 1995/'96 was in a big way due to his skilful and bludgeoning of opposing attacks.

It is every cricket fan's hope that Jayasuriya would consider this setback as a bad dream and come back firing all cylinders and hungry for more runs and wickets.

In Lanka's endeavour to grab the next World Cup in 2007 in the Caribbean, Jayasuriya's presence is essential.

An allrounder of his calibre is hard to find.

When President Rajapakse ordered this inquiry, a similar incident flashed to my mind. And that was when Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike ordered the immediate recalling of former Sri Lanka skipper Arjuna Ranatunga to the team when he was forced to suffer a suspension for no fault of his.

The cyclops bent backwards to toss Ranatunga out of the game. Mrs. Bandaranaike to whom representations were made, and realising the machinations of Ranatunga's detractors, in consultation with the Cricket Board President Tyronne Fernando got Ranatunga back into the game.

And what Ranatunga did thereafter - winning the World Cup being his crowning glory - is history now.

Had Ranatunga's critics succeeded, Sri Lanka would never have won the World Cup. Ranatunga with his fearless and dynamic leadership made other cricketing nations regard and respect the Lankans by instilling in his team, that the opponents were also after all human and that high and mighty or colour was nothing to feel inferior or cringe.

So President Mahinda Rajapakse will earn rounds of thunderous applause for his timely action.

England down to earth

Michael Vaughan's Englishmen who were riding a crest of a wave of success, was brought down to earth with a thud by the marauding Pakistanis led cleverly and more efficiently by Inzamam Ul Haq. The three-Test series was convincingly pocketed by the Pakistanis 2-0.

When the England side arrived in Pakistan the stage was set for a closely contested series. But what happened must have been galling to the Englishmen.

That England came with a marvellous record did not cause the home team any concern. The visitors were boasting after their Ashes success against Australia, and apparently expected the Pakistanis to be easy beats. But they did not reckon with a set of fighters, fine tuned by skipper Ul Haq and coach Bob Woolmer and that they dented the Englishmen's record did not come as a surprise.

While every Pakistani contributed, it would be unfair not to mention the names of skipper Ul Haq, Akmal, Akhtar, Butt, Kaneira, and Yousuf.

The abovementioned fired, triggered by their other teammates and the visitors were just sitting ducks.

Inzamam led from the front with high class batsmanship and captaincy. Akhtar the 'Rawalpindi Express' thundered down blasting all England barriers with tremendous pace.

Butt, Akmal and Yousuf provided the runs when needed and then leg-spinner Kaneira had the visitors from Old Blighty in a flat spin with leg spin and googlies that was a treat to watch.

England's big names Trescothick, Flintoff and Pieterson failed to show consistency and add to their reputation and the end result was that they had to go back with their unbeaten record in pieces.



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