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Tuesday, 7 December 2010






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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.

Record time

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 comfort.

Savage attacks

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 at.

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 momentum.

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.

Run spangled

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 Manilal Fernando.

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. [email protected]


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