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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

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ICC bows to Sri Lankan think tanks

It is nothing unusual, but customary, to see the International Cricket Council bow before the Board of Control for Cricket in India.But its hard to imagine that they would do the same with Sri Lanka Cricket.

If what we gather is to be believed then it was heartening to see the usually cocky ICC officials come down to terra firma and plead with the Sri Lanka Think Tanks.It all happened when some clever thinking by the Sri Lankans strategists led by Manager Charith Senanayake, made the ICC see red when they stumped them by switching captaincy for the Twenty20 game against England at Pallekele.

Previous game

In the previous game, skipper Mahela Jayewardene and his team were fined for a slow over rate, which was not done in bad faith.Had the Lankans repeated their slow over rate, Jayawardene would have had to miss an important game.

Now had that happened due to the short sighted rule by the ICC, the Lanka team would have looked a ship without a rudder. In doing what the Lankans did, it sure would made the ICC come down from their Ivory Towers and, we hope, finally see reason.

This tactical act by the Lankan the think tanks made the ICC scramble to address the issue as it embarrased them so much. We hope the ICC will not delay in doing away with this rule or amend otherwise it should not have any room in the books and in the game.

No doubt

There was no doubt that the Lankans were going to continue with the captaincy switch with Kumar Sangakkara doing the tossing and Jayawardene assuming his role as captain,and directing his troops out in the middle for the rest of the matches.

Now it has been revealed that ICC General Manager – Cricket Geoff Allardice and Match Referee former New Zealand Captain Jeff Crowe had been instructed by Chief Executive David Richards to meet Sri Lanka Coach Graham Ford and Manager Charith Senanayake and plead with the Sri Lankan management to reverse the decision to switch captains which probably heaping embarrassment to the ICC.

It was after getting the ICC to bow and agree to go slow on that harsh over rate rule that the Lankans agreed to reinstate the great Jayewardene as captain for the semi-final and final.

Assurance given

The ICC officials had given the assurance that the team would not be unjustly punished as long as the cricketers showed urgency to bowl their overs quickly. The officials had also admitted that by punishing an important player, it was taking the glamour out of not only this tournament, but all other tournaments.

To say the least, it was obvious that the ICC had gone bonkers in implementing such a ridiculous rule. To have the Sword of Damocles hanging over the head of the captain for 12 months for the infringement was totally misplaced.

Jayewardene who is a deep thinking gentleman captain and who gives his everything to game and country was humble enough to admit that they ‘played’ the rule with no malice.He explained that it was too stringent to penalize a captain for not bowling 20 overs in 80 minutes. A captain has to talk to his bowler, set fields among other things and it makes it impractical to rush this process.

No big deal

And what is the big deal in penalizing a captain 20 per cent and each team member 10 per cent for bowling, repeating bowling ONE over short?

This is beyond comprehension.Jayewardene need not worry. In fact he has stood up not only for himself, but all other countries by getting the ICC to finally see reason on this rule that should not have been inked in rule book.Jayewardene was playing to the rules. And he must be admired for this courageous act.

The spirit went out of the game with the introduction of money bags into the time honoured game. Now it is winning at all costs that is the thing and as long as one plays to the rules and plays about with the rules and wins, there should be no big fuss.

Once again we say well done to Manager Charith Senanayake for his clever bit of thinking and for Captain Jayewardene, Coach Graham Ford and Kumar Sangakkara for having the courage to stand by their convictions and getting the ICC to see reason.

Vettori will be missed

Now that the ICC Twenty20 World Cup is over, Sri Lanka’s next bash will be against Ross Taylor’s New Zealanders who will, later this month, be playing a Two Test, Five one-day Internationals and Two Twenty20 games.

The Lankans would surely give the Kiwis a run for their money; and their job will be made all the more easy because of the absence of their former Captain and all rounder Daniel Vettori.Vettori had picked up an Achilles strain during the Twenty20 World Cup and has yet to recover. His tremendous all round ability will be missed by the Kiwis. Vettori had been a permanent fixture over the years in the Kiwi line up.

As a top class left arm spinner and a hard hitting batsman, he added muscle to the team over the years. His absence will leave a big void in the Kiwi team. But the NZ selectors have picked the best available and if they perform to ability should stretch the Sri Lankans.

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