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Selectors bring in leg spinners

Good on the selectors that they kept Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan out of the tour of India for four one-day internationals.

Vaas and Muralitharan have over the years been our match winners. Whenever called upon to bowl and probe for victory, the duo have done it willingly and ungrudgingly.

On the recent tour of New Zealand, they were once again in the frontline, firing to the best of their ability, and that Sri Lanka flew out of New Zealand with their heads held high was mainly due to this duo.

So their rest has been well earned what with the World Cup looming and winning it being the last line. Vaas and Muralitharan would now be able to recharge their batteries and be rarin' to go come World Cup time.

Two leg spinners

The selectors must be applauded for including two leg spinners Upul Chandana and Malinga Bandara for the tour of India.

While the selectors seem to realise the value of leg spinners in the side, it is not easy to convince captains to think similarly. Not many captains like to carry leg spinners in their get up.

Leg spinners are expected to buy their wickets. There is no better sight in the game than when leg spinners get among the wickets.

Champion leg spinner, who sadly decided to quit the game, Shane Warne demonstrated this when he starred in Australia's five-nil whitewash of England in the Ashes series.

Of the leg spinners who emerged in recent times Upul Chandana continued to achieve success, not only as a leg spinner, but also as a dangerous batsman.

Then Malinga Bandara who was ignored for nearly seven years, made his presence after a fantastic effort for his county Gloucestershire and that saw the sidelining of Chandana.

But now that the duo have been brought into the picture, it is hoped that they would remain that way and even be included in the squad that would fly to the Caribbean in quest of one-day cricket's proud possession the World Cup.

If these two are continued to be ignored, then it could sound the death knell for future bowlers wanting to follow in mastering the most difficult art in bowling - leg spin, googly, top spin, skidder and the flipper.

In the late fifties and early sixties there were a surfeit of leg spinners in the schools. To mention them were Lareef Idroos and Michael Tissera (S. Thomas'), Sarath Vithanage (Royal), Raja de Silva (St. Joseph's), Vere de Silva (St. Sebastian's) and the writer (St. Benedict's).

I had the rare opportunity of meeting Sarath in the company of Asoka Atapattu, when Sri Lanka played New Zealand in Napier.

But today leg spin is sadly a dying art. That is because it is a sweat job and because coaches and captains have no faith in leg spinners. How sad!

DIG Lewke good choice

DIG Nimal Lewke has achieved the ultimate in rugby being appointed the President of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union. It needs no telling that rugby is in for good times.

Lewke a 'Muhammad Ali' like boxer at St. Sylvester's College, Kandy before joining the Police and taking to rugby like a duck to water, has been a superb player for the Police helping them emerge champions many a time. After his playing days were over he took to coaching, and became one, if not the best coach in the business. What he did for Kandy Sports Club assisted by Malik Samarawickrema, Kishin Butani and Hassan Singhawansa needs no reiteration. Lewke is a no nonsence man. With him at the helm and if the men working with him join the scrum and push, then the game is assured of reaching great heights and being equal to the best in Asia. We wish the unassuming and hard working Lewke the best in his new endeavour and he can count on us for support in his push to give the game the rightful place it deserves.

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Produced by Lake House Copyright 2006 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

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