Daily Archives: May 9, 2007
The pages of history of World Cup 2007 would record the event as a tragi-comedy where Australia, under Ricky Ponting, emerged winners. The much dwarfed rice-and-curry lads from Sri Lanka, though beaten, can gain comfort and consolation for exhibiting supreme sportsmanship throughout the tournament, especially in the final at Kensington Oval, Barbados.
By Stanley Jayasinghe
Skipper Mahela Jayawardena and his deputy Kumar Sangakkara set standards of decency and fair play which politicians and cricketers world wide would do well to emulate. We saw how, despite the momentous occasion, Sangakkara dived and grabbed an Adam Gilchrist snick which, to cameras and naked eye, appeared a clear catch. Immediately and without prompting, Sangakkara frantically swung his hands vigorously, whilst still grounded, indicating a “No Catch”, to relieve the umpires of an unwanted puzzle.
Sangakkara appears to have transformed himself from a vociferous wicket-keeper in the recent past, whose exuberant but often times unwarranted appeals earned this writer’s censure. I can only deduce from such mature conduct that Sri Lanka cricket will continue to prosper linked to standards of decency which could be the envy of all cricket-playing nations. It proves my oft repeated contention that successes in this gentlemen’s game could be achieved whilst upholding its lofty traditions.
Mahela Jayawardena’s gracious acceptance of Pontings appeal to continue the game in semi-darkness, honouring the dictum that “The Umpire’s Word Is Law” is in keeping with true sportsmanship. Admittedly captains of other Test-playing countries have defied umpiring decisions and had their own way. In this WC 2007 final, despite Jayawardena’s prompting the umpires that the match could be considered as completed after the mandatory 20 overs, the foolhardy umpires insisted that the remaining three overs be bowled.
One is entitled to question those critics of Sri Lankan policies the reasons for their deafening silence on this issue. Such ridiculous direction by a crew of cricketing umpires of international repute demands condemnation.
Sri Lanka were progressing smoothly, with Sanath Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara middling the ball confidently in a century stand, when bad light and rain intervened, it was reported.
It was at this juncture that Velveddithurai’s villainous Velupillai Prabakharan struck in Colombo and suburbs with his beggarly aeronautical armaments. The black-out denied cricket enthusiasts their long-awaited and much cherished Sri Lanka vs. Australia match on the TV screens. This unexpected set-back prompted this writer to head for the land of nod thereafter.
Uncertain of subsequent events at Kensington Oval the writer would not venture to dwell on further issues. However, considering the importance of the occasion, and disappointed by the match result, it would be justifiable to pose a few pertinent questions to the powers that be.
That Australia was the superior team on the day may be acceptable. A few points, however, keep niggling. With a battery of selectors who had winged their way to proffer advice and guidance to Mahela Jayawardena it would appear comical why the erratic and unpredictable Dilhara Fernando was in the final line-up. Despite 6 – 7 years in the National pool he continues to be an enigma with his wides and no-balls. Juniors such as Lasitha Malinga and Fervez Mahroof have hit the headlines more often. The Selectors should hasten to put their thinking caps on and not hope for divine intervention like some other countries do!
Admittedly, Fernando exceeded the wildest expectations of most cricket fans when he dismissed the last Englishman a fortnight ago, in the final over, to bring Sri Lanka a thrilling victory. But to expect a repeat-performance with his dismal and erratic record in recent times was the height of optimism, especially when this wicket was benign to batsmen. The grassless, well-rolled strip, which carried a sheen on it, was a batsman’s dream and a bowler’s nightmare. Gilchrist’s prayers had been answered!
Sri Lanka’s pace ace, Chaminda Vaas, who over the years has not failed to give the initial break-through, was for once, out-thought and out-shone by the devastating Gilchrist. It would not be incorrect to state that the eventual result of the game was a consequence of Vaas’ s failure to get his usual early prey and Gilchrist’s dynamic hitting.
A very valid query should be addressed to the ICC and the Tour Management of both teams. Was a copy of the Duckworth-Lewis calculation system submitted to all participating teams and the relevant officials prior to the commencement of this momentous tournament? If such mandatory obligation had been fulfilled why were the concerned officials so much in the dark regarding the correct and wisest course of action? This oversight may, perhaps, have contributed in some measure to Sri Lanka’s miscalculation when chasing the required target. Without a doubt this vital aspect should have dawned on the parties concerned when dark clouds gathered in the distant horizon.It is pertinent to mention that a similar situation arose in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1999 where this writer officiated as Manager. After Zimbabwe had exceeded the two-hundred mark Sri Lanka went in search of victory. Around the half-way mark of the innings heavy dark clouds were threatening play. The Duckworth-Lewis calculation system had just come into force a couple of months earlier. Chief Executive Dave Ellmon Brown had ensured that a copy had reached this writer prior to the commencement of the first ODI
Having had a glance at the Duckworth-Lewis system it had registered in the writer’s mind that a match could be decided at the conclusion of a minimum of twenty overs. Anxious that rain could wash-out play this writer secured his copy of the Duckworth Lewis system and sought the assistance of Coach Dav Whatmore who was in the vicinity. As statistics were not our forte, neither was able to unravel the mysteries of this unusual puzzle. A few distinguished visitors in the VIP enclosure too found it confusing.
Thankfully a Sri Lankan cricket enthusiast happened to overhear our dilemma and sprang to the rescue. He was none other than Group Captain Sriyan Samararatne who was most certainly a God-send at that crucial moment. Samararatne proved equal to the task His well-studied analysis soothed our nerves, as he kept track of the runs, overs and wickets which are all involved in the D-L calculations. Russel Arnold and Upul Chandana changed gear with a flurry of strokes and ensured Sri Lanka beat the rain and Zimbabwe.
From the foregoing it is the writer’s candid opinion that the finger of guilt should be pointed not only at the two Umpires and the Match Referee but also at the Tour Management. Unfortunately, as is the usual practice, the stable door will be closed after the horse has bolted. -Wijeya Newspapers
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TO FACE LTTE AIR WING SRI LANKA WILL TAKE DELIVERY OF FIVE MODERN MIG29 FIGHTER JETS FROM RUSSIA
By Walter Jayawardhana
The Indian defense web quoting a Sri Lankan weekly said the Sri Lanka Air Force will purchase five Russian Mig 29 fighter jets with interceptor capabilities to face the challenge by the air wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
In addition to the Mig 29 the the Air Force also will upgrade its Israeli made kfir fighter planes to have interceptor capabilities.
At present none of its fighter planes are having intercepter capabilities. Due to the lack of such capabilities Sri Lanka’s only International Air port remains closed.
The Indian defense web said, “Sri Lanka’s air force is shortly to take delivery of five advanced fighter aircraft from Russia to counter the threat posed by the LTTE’s air wing, The Nation newspaper reported Sunday. In addition to buying the five MiG 29 interceptors, Sri Lanka is looking to upgrade its ground attack Kfirs to interceptor role by adding radars and missiles, the paper said.
“Though the Sri Lankan officials were in talks with their Indian, Pakistani and Chinese counterparts, it is reliably learnt that the new MiG 29s joining the air force, are from Russia,” the paper said, adding that India has been manufacturing the interceptor since the 1980s.
“The average price in the world market of the MiG 29 is in the range of US$ 15 million, it said.
“The MiG 29 fighter aircraft designed in the former Soviet Union, for an air superiority role entered service with the Soviet Air Force in 1983. It is now in use with the Russian Air Force (which reportedly has over 450), as well as in many other nations, including India (which has over 60).
“The MiG 29 was mainly produced to counter leading US fighter aircraft such as the F15 and F16 and in most of its variants has only an air to air strike capacity, the The Nation said. “If the necessary upgrades are not carried out on the newly acquired aircraft, their role would be limited to intercepting the LTTE’s light aircraft, with limited contribution to the main task of the SLAF, which is ground attack.”
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TO AVERT A MAJOR CRISIS INDIAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS HAVE RECOMMENDED A JOINT INSPECTION OF THE SOUTH INDIAN COAST BY INDIAN AND LANKAN NAVIE
By Walter Jayawardhana
India’s largest selling news magazine the Frontline, published in Chennai said a senior intelligence bureau official on review has strongly recommended a joint inspection of the South Indian coast should be undertaken by the Indian and Sri Lankan navies to face the situation arisen after the killings and abduction of Indian fishermen by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to avert a major crisis.
Quoting the unnamed intelligence official the news magazine said,” New Delhi must extend logistical and technical assistance to Sri Lanka to meet the heightened threat from the LTTE’s sea and air wings.”
Further quoting the official as saying the magazine said, “”The State police, with the assistance of the Central Intelligence agencies, the Indian Navy, the Coast Guard and the Coastal Security Group, should launch a determined crackdown on the LTTE, its support groups and all their clandestine activities in Tamil Nadu and adjoining areas.”
Remembering decades long association of the LTTE and the Tamil Nadu fishermen the Frontline quoted a Research and Analysis (intelligence branch) official as saying about the murder and abductions “If the Tamil Tigers can do this to the coastal fishermen, who have been their allies for over two decades, what will they not do to India?” says a former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) officer, who has worked for years on the Sri Lankan Tamil issue and studied the functioning of the LTTE.”
The following is the full text of the Front Line item:” THE recent developments relating to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have raised serious security concerns on both sides of Palk Straits – in Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan ethnic issue has always cast a shadow in Tamil Nadu. The people of this southern State have not forgotten the violence let loose by the LTTE between 1989 and 1991. The recent spate of seizures of arms, weapons, ammunition, explosives and umpteen consignments of deadly raw materials for the manufacture of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by the Tigers have added to their fears. The Union government is also under pressure as Indian shores are being used by a terrorist organisation to continue an armed struggle in a neighbouring country.
“Perhaps the most important seizure in recent months was an explosives-laden boat captured by the Coast Guard off Point Calimere on February 13. Its booty included an AK-56 assault rifle and an explosives-packed jacket that reminded people of the LTTE suicide bomber who assassinated former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi at Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991. Where was this boat headed? What was it doing off the Cuddalore-Nagapattinam coast? Was another suicide mission in the offing? If so, where? Was the LTTE only using Tamil Nadu to source its requirements or was it also planning to perform another major operation on Indian soil? Such questions remain unanswered. Read the rest of this entry