Comment - Elmo Rodrigopulle
Cricket Stadia become a reality
Chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket D.Somachandra de Silva, ICC Tournament
Director Suraj Dandeniya and all those concerned in seeing to the
completion of the stadiums ear marked to conduct 2011 World Cup matches
will now be heaving sighs of relief.
That is because the Test matches between West Indies and Sri Lanka
have been successfully conducted at the R.Premadasa and Pallekelle
stadiums without a murmur from the players. Of concern to the organizers
of the mega event in 2011 were the dressing rooms, the pavilions, the
grandstands, the wickets and the outfields.
Sri Lanka Cricket would have loved to have penciled a Test match at
the Sooriyawewa Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium. But with only
Three Tests, another could not be fitted in there.
But two one day internationals between West Indies and Sri Lanka will
be played there and once finished the players of both teams will be
singing the praises of those concerned in seeing to the completion of
these stadiums in record time.
Everything so far has worked to perfection . And come end of December
the rest of the work – the stands for spectators will see the final
cement slabs placed and roof installed, and will be finally knocked into
shape with the completion of the color washing.
Foreigners and locals flocking to take in the action at the
Sooriyawewa Mahinda Rajapaksa, R.Premadasa and Pallekelle International
Cricket Stadiums will be amazed at the imposing structures put into
place in double quick time and will enjoy the cricket in five-star
Sri Lanka Cricket and Dandeniya came in for savage attacks from their
critics. But being exemplary sportsmen, they have enough experience to
take the rough with the smooth, front up to the attacks and take it in
the spirit in which these attacks were made.
It is to their credit that they took on these onerous
responsibilities fully cognizant of the personal risk. But they never
shirked their duties but instead went about performing their duties
diligently, and at times even burning the mid night oil supporting the
workers entrusted with the job.
Although any good job performed will not be short of critics, and no
good deed goes unpunished, there are only a few who will want to stand
up and say ‘well done’ or heap praise on those who did it. But the team
that performed these—- just short of miracles— by having the stadiums
ready for the mega event can pat themselves.
From us we say ‘WELL DONE’. All Sri Lanka is proud of you.
Darren Bravo will be Darren Bravo
Darren Bravo is on his maiden big league cricket tour in Sri Lanka.
He is the younger brother of Dwaynne and cousin of Brian Lara that
classy left hander that the world of cricket was lucky to see and marvel
In the first three Tests he has played Darren has notched up three
half centuries in style. And there is promise and every prospect that he
is likely to unwind and roll out big three figures as his career gathers
Darren is just 21, and if the competent manner in which he is
striking the ball by showing the correct technique and temperament is an
indication, then he can take the cricket world by storm.
He has the traits of his cousin Lara. The high back lift, bringing
the bat down at the right moment to meet ball and then timing his shots
and caressing the ball to pierce and beat the fielder to screech to the
boundary line or sail over are all there. I have sketched out these
techniques for the benefit of budding Sri Lankan cricketers who should
observe Darren for his gutsy performance and calculated strategy.
But Darren I guess wants to be known in his own right and not
necessarily be tagged as the cousin of the illustrious Lara. Lara will
be Lara and there will never be another Brian Lara. While I am sure
Darren values the Lara DNA, Darren wants to make his own mark. Let’s see
whether how Darren will set about his business.
With critics attempting to bracket Darren with Lara, brings to mind
the misfortune that struck two Australian cricketers who critics rushed
to tag as the next Don Bradman.
We are referring to Ian Craig and Doug Walters. When Craig and
Walters first came on the scene making ripples with the bat and banging
big, big scores like the Don did in his formative years, they received
rave headlines and were expected to continue and perform like the great
Don did. Craig was even prematurely made captain of Australia.
Thankfully Walters was not.
But finally the ‘next Bradman’ tags weighed too heavily on these two
brilliant youngsters and the end result was that they could not give
vent to their tremendous promise and potential and they fell by the way
side. Let not that twist of fate befall Darren Bravo.
Bradman will be Bradman and there will never be another Bradman.
Kandy football in disarray
Pity what happened to the Kandy Association Football League. It was
dissolved. The reasons being given is that they have not been active and
conducting their local tournaments.
One wonders whether that was reason enough to dissolve the KAFL which
has a chequered history in the game, having done so much for its
improvement and having given to the game some players who were magicians
with the ball at their feet.
At the time of the dissolution, the President was former DIG Bodhi
Liyanage and the Secretary was the energetic and lively Hafiz Marikar,
who surmounted many challenges to keep the game alive in Kandy, even in
the face an acute shortage of grounds to conduct tournaments.
Like a beaver
Marikar supported by Liyanage worked like a beaver to find the vital
finances to keep the game “alive and kicking” if one can pardon the pun.
A senior Kandy Municipal Councillor, he used his persuasive powers to
attract the necessary finances. Marikar was efficient as secretary FFSL.
Another who contributed lavishly to see to the furtherance of Kandy
Football was the guardian angel of Sri Lanka football, Chairman Football
Management FFSL and Senior Vice President Asian Football Confederation
Four of Kandy’s most marvelous players were Tom Ossen, Tom Deen,
Mahinda Aluvihare and Oscar Wijetunge who sported Sri Lanka colours with
pride and who could have held their own with the best in Asia and the
world. They are legends.
It’s a real pity that those who worked tirelessly for football’s
development in Kandy were taken out of action. But those who have
followed the accomplishments will continue to pay tribute to Marikar and
Liyanage. Soccer players and soccer fans are watching and waiting to see
where football in Kandy will go from here. We too will be.