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Tuesday, 1 February 2011

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Stop the cry baby act and play on

Had the heavens not opened up and poured down the torrential rains or tears that stalled the playing of the one-day internationals against the West Indies last year, the Sri Lankan cricketers would have had an opportunity of playing at the three stadiums.

Had the one-dayers been played, the batsmen would, of course, have got a feel for the wickets, whether it would be conducive to stroke making, the bounce and other variable that the vagaries of a wicket can being to reign.

The bowlers could also have gauged whether the wickets would be helpful to spin or going to be pace and movement friendly. But the unexpected rains unfortunately stalled all this and with it went the opportunity to get accustomed to the wickets. The story should end there.

Inexplicable

But no! The tears from those clouds seem to have infected the eyes if not the minds of some of our cricketers! There is now a spate of inexplicable crying, moaning and grumbling by some cricketers for not being allowed to play on these tracks, because the World Cup engagements against Canada, Australia, Pakistan and Zimbabwe would be contested at these venues.

Sri Lanka Cricket would have loved to afford the cricketers the opportunity of getting the feel of these tracks and the conditions. But ICC rules require that once they take charge of the venues, cricket cannot be played there because of the approaching 2011 World Cup. So the three one-dayers against the West Indians had to be shifted to the SSC ground, much to the dismay of SLC. This cannot be helped. The ICC rules and the World Cup is their tournament. And we play by their rules, not ours!

Experienced

One can't understand the attitude of the cricketers. Why they have to grumble for not being allowed to play at these venues is simply puerile. Being experienced cricketers having played on tracks abroad and in varying conditions, and this should not be a factor to make a fuss about, except that it was a missed opportunity and there the case should rest.

Any batsman or bowler once in the big league must be able to adapt to any wicket and conditions. No cricketer or team should cry and demand that wickets and conditions should be to their fondness and liking.

One wonders whether the cricketers are already getting ready with excuses. If that is the thinking then it is a sad commentary of our self confidence.

Positive

The cricketers must always take the field with that second to none feeling. They must always remain positive whatever the wickets, the conditions or the opponent and always remember that fortune favours the brave and those who dare win. The Sri Lanka cricketers must thank Sri Lanka Cricket for coaxing the West Indians to come back and play three one-dayers, so that they will have some exposure against international opposition.

It is good to have the Windies back, this time round with a squad that will attempt to emulate the great deeds of their teams of 1975 and '79 led by that dazzler Clive Lloyd did in winning the World Cup. They also have a new manager in former captain and batting marvel Richie Richardson.

Collapsed

Clive Lloyd's team would have made it a hat-trick of World Cup wins by pocketing the 1983 tournament. After dismissing the Indians for 183, they collapsed dramatically after the dismissal of Vivian Richards who was threatening to win the game with his bat - but alas, events did not turn to favour the Windies.

The dismissal of Richards with skipper Kapil Dev taking a breath taking running catch seemed to have inspired the Indians who from that moment had the Windies batting bemused and bewildered as the Indians romped home.

With the Sri Lanka cricket selectors electing to face the West Indians with the squad picked for the World Cup, the hope that the selectors would recall veterans Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas who narrowly missed making it to the World Cup squad was squashed.

Opportunity

Supporters of these two cricketers were hoping that if selected, the two cricketers could have used the opportunity to announce their retirement from one-day international cricket and go out in a blaze of glory.

On the other hand had the selectors tossed in the two marvels and had they performed, it would have embarrassed, not only the selectors, but also the others who were against the inclusion of Jayasuriya and Vaas.

How or when Jayasuriya and Vaas would announce their retirements from big time cricket will be interesting to watch. Sri Lanka Cricket has a big obligation in this regard. They must see that the twosome are given a fitting farewell, considering their tremendous contributions in making what Sri Lanka cricket is today in the world scene.

Eden gardens bowled out

Eden gardens in Kolkata, India's Lord's of cricket suffered humiliation when the ICC ruled that the stadium is not fit to play a World Cup fixture between hosts India and England on February 27. The ICC ruled out the stadium because the renovation program had fallen months behind schedule. Another stadium will have to be found for this important game.

A statement issued by ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgart states- regrettably Eden Gardens has not made sufficient progress to justify the level of confidence required to confirm that the venue would be ready in good time. The 2011 World Cup is to be contested in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and an estimated crowd of 64,000 spectators are expected to fill the stadium for one of the most important games in the early rounds.

Understanding

Lorgart further added that all venues had ample time in which to prepare for the World Cup matches. We had been understanding and had provided extensions to the deadline dates but unfortunately we are now at a point where we must carefully manage our risks.

Eden Gardens was once one of the best and one of the largest cricket stadiums that could hold 100,000 spectators, before renovations reduced the capacity. Now it can hold up to 64,000 spectators.

But the good news is that the ICC has passed fit the Sri Lanka Stadiums R. Premadasa, Mahinda Rajapaksa in Hambantota and Pallekelle with minor finishing touches to be completed in the next two weeks.

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