With most cricket playing nations initiating a franchise based tournament in their calendar, Sri Lankan cricket was left stranded for years not being able to start something of their own. However, with the launch of Lanka Premier League, there was a shot in the arm. Interest for franchise ownerships were mostly shown by Indian and Pakistani business entities. Jaffna Stallions’ ownership though is different.
Anandan Arnold, who played cricket for St. John’s, Jaffna is the founder CEO of Jaffna Stallions and leading investor. Canadian born Rahul Sood, who now lives in Seattle is a major co-owner in the consortium which also consists of Sri Lankan expatriates living in the UK, Canada, Australia and Europe. The owners are multi-ethnic, multi-faith Sri Lankans of diverse backgrounds.
Jaffna Stallions are also the most organized franchise in the competition. While most franchises were putting through the logistics in the 11th hour, according to Thisara Perera, the captain of the team, all his players were taken to Kandy for a five-day residential training camp. While no doubt the training camp helped develop skills it also enabled the team to bond well.
The franchise has a formidable outfit. Their fast bowlers – Suranga Lakmal, Duanne Olivier, Kyle Abbott and Usman Shinwari are good enough to form the nucleus of any international side. But the franchise has not forgotten the development of young talent as well and hence they have picked a few uncapped players – from north and south – Sebastianpillai Vijeyaraj, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, Kanagarathinam Kabilraj, Theivendram Dinoshan and Nuwanidu Fernando.
Among the four youngsters Viyaskanth had an impressive debut last week but there is another exciting talent in Vijeyaraj, who bowls like Lasith Malinga. He has been nicknamed ‘Killinochchi Express.’
Viyaskanth was the talk of the town as he debuted last week. His line and length were impeccable and the leg-spinner foxed Angelo Mathews of all players. His efforts came in for high praise from all and sundry – both team mates and opposition.
The Stallions are the in form side in the competition as they recorded four straight wins while the others were playing catch up. For the fifth game, with a slot in the semi-final certain, the team rested four of their front line players and gave a break to some others. If they continue to rotate players, that will be a good idea as well as when the business end of the tournament comes along, the leading players will be fresh and raring to go.
The team’s motto is to be a cricket club that provides a pathway to excellence for local and national athletes. They have made huge strides in the LPL and don’t be surprised if they win the maiden title for they say, ‘well begun is half done.’RELATED TOPICS:FEATURED
With the evolution of T20 and ODI cricket, we have seen the role of the performance analyst plays a bigger role. England (& Andy Flower) were one of the first teams to identify this when they hired Nathan Leamon, an ex-mathematician to be their lead analyst to enhance the team performance. During one of the recent LPL matches, the TV commentators discussed the role of an analyst and Sri Lanka’s head coach and now the commentator Mickey Arthur revealed how the Sri Lankan team team can reach great heights.
“In white ball cricket the analyst is becoming such an important part of your management team now in terms of match ups, selections, etc. It’s something that any team needs to have because you might not want to be filtering all that information to your players but if you find 1 or 2 gold nuggets then it could be the difference in terms of your selection or your match ups in giving you a positive result”, Arthur said on air. “We have just employed a guy in our Brain Centre at Sri Lanka Cricket, Prad Navaratnam who is top drawer and our analytics has gone to another level now”.
“In T20 cricket, analytics are so crucial in guiding decision making, in terms of strategies, in terms of match ups. Those are things that coaches, players & captains rely on to help them have winning outcomes on the field”, another commentator Darren Ganga added to the conversation.
The decision to call off England’s tour of South Africa after the outbreak of Covid-19 in both camps could have serious ramifications on Sri Lanka’s tour this month.Sri Lanka are scheduled to travel to South Africa next week but that will now come under consideration, it is learnt. “We will be talking to Cricket South Africa (CSA) and their health ministry before deciding on the tour,” Prof. Arjuna de Silva, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) Medical Panel, said.
“We will also speak to our own players and health ministry. If the England team is calling off the South Africa tour, then its a serious problem and we will not give the consent for this tour,” de Silva added.
The England team is also scheduled to arrive in Sri Lanka next month. Interestingly, the seven selectors met and picked the 22 players for the tour. Captain Dimuth Karunratne was present and Head Coach Mickey Arthur’s suggestions were obtained over the phone.Arthur is on a commentary assignment in the LPL.
The selectors are likely to have retained the same 22 players who trained recently and were [accepted] by the captain and the coach. Oshado Fernando who injured his ankle has been retained.
The team, if the tour takes place will have Dr. Daminda Attanayake as a sports medicine doctor traveling with the team. Chaminda Mendis, one of the selectors, who has been a technical committee member too arrived. He may be required to give another PCR test before joining the hotel in Hambantota.
SLC officials did not respond to calls seeking clarification regarding the tour.
Opening fast-medium bowler Shabnim Ismail made her debut for South Africa as they emerged from their wilderness years in 2007, and quickly became their all-time leading international wicket-taker, a position she maintained throughout her career, having taken 149 international wickets up to and including the 2016 Women’s World T20 in India.
Today she won the player of the match award when Sydney Thunder defeated Melbourne Stars. — with her dimsissal of star batswoman Meg Lanning as a critical moment in this process.
MATCH REPORT: Sydney Thunder 3 for 87 beat Melbourne Stars 9 for 86 (Johnson 2-11, Ismail 2-12) by seven wickets
A searing opening spell from Shabnim Ismail and menacing seam by Sammy-Jo Johnson set up the Sydney Thunder for title glory in overwhelming fashion against the tournament pace-setters Melbourne Stars, who crumbled for the lowest total in a WBBL final.
Ismail, named Player of the Match, took 2 for 12 from her four overs, and could easily have more, claiming the vital scalps of Meg Lanning alongside Elyse Villani. The entire Thunder attack played their part, with all six bowlers taking at least a wicket, and such was their dominance that five dropped catches (one of them off Lanning) did not come back to bite them.
The Stars limped through their 20 overs with Katherine Brunt top scoring with 22, but for such a power-packed batting order the innings included just three fours and two sixes. It was fitting that the Thunder’s attack was so central to their success: if you take it back to the semi-final, when they fought back against defending champions Brisbane Heat where the game seemed lost, they had taken 15 for 98.
The chase wasn’t without its occasional moment of unease, but the target was reached in a rush through a collection of crisp boundaries of by captain Rachael Haynes, who led the side superbly in the biggest match, and Heather Knight, who secured the title with a straight six.
A former Sri Lanka cricketer is under probe after his alleged attempt to entice a player into corrupt practice in the inaugural Lanka Premier League tournament that will get underway today at Hambantota.
The former player – an off-spinner with a dodgy action – had represented Sri Lanka frequently from 2012 to 2016 before being discarded after being reported for a suspect action. He has featured in various T-20 leagues since losing his spot in the Sri Lankan side. Cricket officials said that he had been under the spotlight for corrupt activities but had escaped punishment due to lack of evidence.
The player who was approached was former S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia spin bowler Tharindu Ratnayake. The ambidextrous Ratnayake bowls both left-arm orthodox spin and right-arm off-spin and represents Sinhalese Sports Club in domestic cricket. The former Sri Lanka player had got to know him at the club having also played for the Maitland Crescent club.
Ratnayake had reported the approach after he received a Watasapp message tempting him to corrupt practice during the Lanka Premier League. Ratnayake represents Colombo Kings.
Sri Lanka Cricket officials said that while they were disappointed that something of this nature had occurred on the eve of the tournament added that they were happy that players are taking corruption in the sport seriously.
“We have spent a lot of time, energy and money educating our young players of dangers of corruption and we are glad the incident was reported,” a senior cricket official told The Island.
The captain of the Colombo Kings franchise Angelo Mathews also came in for special praise by SLC. “We are glad to note that Angelo as the captain of the Colombo franchise had called up all his players for a meeting and had warned them to be vigilant of nefarious plots,” the official added.
The official said that Mathews also had vehemently opposed an Indian player who was banned for corruption being flown in to be part of the Colombo franchise which Mathews leads.
The LPL will get underway today at Hambantota and the scandal was the last thing the organizers wanted having gone through many difficulties in making the event a reality. The organizers were working in a short time frame to make this a reality and in the middle of that the outbreak of the pandemic threatened the event.
Sri Lanka Cricket has successfully worked with health authorities in bringing down overseas players, support staff and television crew who have gone through isolation before being drafted into a bubble to resume training ahead of the tournament.
Mumbai Indians (MI) Head Coach, Mahela Jayawardene believed that their ability to clear the ropes consistently was the key to the team’s success in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 Cricket Tournament, which concluded in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Tuesday.
Mumbai, under the guidance of Jayawardene went on to clinch their fifth IPL title as they outclassed Delhi Capitals by five wickets in the 2020 final of the world’s biggest franchise based T20 Cricket Tournament.
“Hitting sixes has been in Mumbai’s DNA for a long time. We have tried to bring in the touch play a little bit to balance it out,” the former Sri Lankan Captain revealed after the final. In fact, middle order batsman, Ishan Kishan of MI won the award for hitting the most number of sixes this season with a tally of 30 sixes from 13 innings.
Jayawardene also commended the efforts of all his players and the support staff for a magnificent performance, which helped them complete a highly successful season in the end. “We have a good leadership group out there, and a great support staff who have helped them out. The boys have seen my not-so-soft side but the group has worked off-season, and today is the culmination of all of the hard work.”
“It was a tough tournament. There were lot of superstitions about odd years. I have to congratulate Ricky Ponting and his team, they have had a great season and they were a tough opponent today,” Jayawardene elaborated.
Jayawardene further said that their early preparations also paid dividends as the players realised their different roles that need to be execute during the tournament. “We had a great preparation, and we tried to manage them well and ensure they didn’t overdo or underdo any of the work,” Jayawardene explained.
“Credit to the management who bought into our ideas and that helped create history today. It’s all about helping the team preparation-wise and explain their roles to them,” he added.EmailFacebookTwitterPinte
Sri Lanka’s SAF Squad with one Surprise ‘Packet’ from Hambantota
The 20-year-old hails from the fishing village of Hungama in the Hambantota district. His father is a fisherman and his talent was spotted by former fast bowling great Chaminda Vaas. A couple of years ago, Madushanka had turned up as a net bowler in Hambantota as Sri Lanka were training and Vaas referred him to former Test captain Hashan Tillakaratne, who was the Head Coach of the Under-19 side.
Soon, the youngster was drafted into Sri Lanka Under-19 team and played in this year’s ICC Youth World Cup. Madushanka’s raw pace – clocking over 140 kmph – has impressed all and sundry and so is his smooth action. Then of course left-arm quicks are a rare breed.
All 22 players who will take part in the residential camp and the coaching staff comprising ten individuals went through PCR tests on Wednesday and all reports returned negative.
Sri Lanka are carrying seven extra players to South Africa as they will be not provided net bowlers due to health regulations. A notable feature in the squad is that Dimuth Karunaratne’s side taking as many as nine seam bowlers.
Dushmantha Chameera, who once was the quickest bowler in Sri Lanka makes a comeback to the side after injury. Chameera and Dasun Shanaka, both of whom hail from Negombo made it to the national team at the same time and Chameera was the most impressive. However, Shanaka has gone onto captain Sri Lanka but Chameera has made little progress due to injuries.
The reason for Sri Lanka to carry that many seam bowlers is that the Tests will be played at Wanderers in Johannesburg and Centurion, a half-hour drive from the South Africa capital. Fast bowlers dominate at both venues and the hosts rarely play a spinner at these venues.
Sri Lanka’s squad for South Africa (subject to Sports Ministry approval):
Twenty Sri Lankan cricketers and support staff of the national cricket team had gone through PCR tests yesterday. The results of the tests will be known today. If all players and support staff received negative reports, they will be heading for Pallekele next week to start training ahead of the tour of South Africa.
Sources said that Sri Lanka will take 20 players to South Africa as net bowlers are not allowed during their stay there due to health restrictions.Sri Lanka will play Boxing Day Test and New Year Test in Johannesburg and Centurion.
The national cricket team has not been involved in any form of international cricket since March this year following the outbreak of the pandemic.
A peerless Rohit Sharma led defending champions Mumbai Indians to an unparalleled fifth IPL title on Tuesday, dismantling Delhi Capitals in the summit clash with his famously elegant batting and tactical shrewdness. If last year’s one-run win over Chennai Super Kings was an absolute cliffhanger, Rohit’s aristocratic 68 off 51 balls made it an anti-climax with Mumbai Indians chasing the target of 157 in 18.4 overs.
“We know it’s a difficult time, everyone is stuck at home. We’re lucky that we could come to work and entertain people watching at home,” said MI’s star pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who went wicket-less on Tuesday but snared 27 overall this season.
But he might never play a more significant one considering the little whirlpool of controversy that his “once damaged and now on the mend hamstring” created. The ‘Hit-Man’ has given an altogether new meaning to what has one known till now about crushing pain barriers. A hamstring injury can be very painful but the manner in which India’s regular white-ball skipper exploded inside the ‘Ring of Fire’ at the Dubai International Stadium, he was fighting a battle of his own. The cover drive was about his class, the whiplash behind square was his swagger and the so very familiar “Rohit Sharma pull shot” was an assurance to BCCI president Sourav Ganguly that “All Is Well”.
And to prove a point, he fetched those doubles, tap and run singles including a misjudged one that saw Suryakumar Yadav (19) sacrificing his wicket for his skipper and rightly so. The carrom ball bowled by Ashwin was deposited to the point fence with a cracking square cut and the straight six off leg spinner Praveen Dubey was “Boss Man” written all over it. There has never been an edition where a team has looked in a different league compared to seven others.
As Rohit had said earlier, it’s not rocket science but investing in pure match-winners that has given Mumbai Indians such a menacing look. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither a champion outfit that has now won five titles out of the six finals it has played. If Jasprit Bumrah wreaked havoc in the Qualifier one, Trent Boult (3/30) decided that final was his turn to inflict the damage and he did it with a first ball beauty that Marcus Stoinis will remember for years to come. Nathan Coulter-Nile looked like a weak-link but got the dangerous Rishabh Pant (56 off 38 balls) at the nick of time to put the brakes. IPL 2020: Rohit Sharma completes 4,000 runs for Mumbai Indians Rohit’s batting only finished what looked inevitable but it was his captaincy that set it up. Only 45 runs conceded in the last five overs during the DC innings was a game-changer as Shreyas Iyer (65 no off 50 balls) literally struggled during the end overs.
That was the time when save for Bumrah (0/28 in 4 overs), Boult and Coulter-Nile took the pace off the deliveries with slow bouncers and cutters making it difficult to hit. And the decision to have off-spinner Jayant Yadav replace leg-spinner Rahul Chahar also proved to be a success. Jayant, a former India player, did what was required. Bowled an off-break inducing an in-form Shikhar Dhawan (15) to go for a hoick against the turn and get bowled. But in the end, it will be a mere footnote on a day that belonged to one and only ‘Captain Marvel’ Rohit Sharma.
IPL 2020: Rohit Sharma completes 4,000 runs for Mumbai Indians
Dave Middleton with Andrew Ramsey, in cricket.com.au/news/australia-test-squad-selections-india-series-green-pucovski-abbott-burns-tour-games/2020-1
Rising stars Will Pucovski and Cameron Green were today confirmed among five uncapped players in Australia’s extended squad of 17 for the Vodafone Test Series against India. Spinner Mitchell Swepson and seam-bowling allrounders Michael Neser and Sean Abbott are the other members of the Test squad yet to wear the Baggy Green.
Pat Cummins was named the sole vice-captain of the Test team, while selectors also named a 19-player Australia A squad that includes nine members of the Test squad.
It’s the first time in an Australian Test squad for Green and Abbott, with all five new faces called up on the back of extraordinary form in opening rounds of the Marsh Sheffield Shield.
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner
Australia A squad: Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Joe Burns, Jackson Bird, Alex Carey (wk), Harry Conway, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Nic Maddinson, Mitchell Marsh (subject to fitness), Michael Neser, Tim Paine, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Mark Steketee, Will Sutherland, Mitchell Swepson
The fresh faces joined the incumbent Test 12 that swept through Australia’s most recent Test series’ – against Pakistan and New Zealand at home before the global pandemic hit – and took the team to the top of the world rankings.
It sets up a showdown between Pucovski, who struck successive double centuries in his two Shield appearances, and fellow opener Joe Burns, the incumbent who had a torrid start to the first-class summer, to partner David Warner at the top of the order.
Both players were named in a strong Australia A squad that will face India in a three-day match, as well as a three-day pink-ball day-night warm up that also includes Test captain Tim Paine as well as likely Test starter Travis Head.
CA’s National Selector Trevor Hohns said the Shield performances bode well for Australian cricket’s future.
“Two of those many standout players were of course Cameron Green and Will Pucovski. Their undeniable form demanded selection and we are very pleased to have these young men in the squad for what will be a tremendous Test Series against an extremely formidable opponent,” Hohns said in a statement.
“Cameron has already won selection in the white-ball squad and continues that in joining the Test squad. He is a wonderful young talent who has great potential to become an allrounder of substance over time. His batting alone has demanded his place in the squad.”Play VideoPucovski doubles down on Test bid with back-to-back 200s
“Will’s record-breaking start to the summer has been exceptional. His ability to show such patience is something which stands him in good stead for Test cricket and he is in rare company with two double centuries to start the summer. We very much look forward to Will developing further on the international stage.”
The 22-year-old Pucovski has been in stunning touch in the opening rounds of the Shield competition, plundering 495 runs at the scarcely believable average of 247.50 in his two matches to make an irresistible case for the Baggy Green cap that’s beckoned for years.
The uncapped seamers – Abbott and Neser – are expected to be back-up for front-line quicks Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and James Pattinson
Green has been earmarked as a future Test star, but has only just returned to bowling after a serious back injury and is likely to come into consideration in the allrounder role if Australia looks to play two spinners (perhaps in the third Test at the SCG) and needs to bolster its pace options.Play VideoHighlights of Cameron Green’s epic 197
The Western Australian has been in stunning batting form in the Shield competition this summer including a career-best 197 against New South Wales, and took the new ball in his first match back at the bowling crease.
He has been on restricted loads, bowling just 24 overs across the past two Shield matches since his return.
Queensland leg-spinner Swepson, the Shield competition’s leading wicket-taker after the first four rounds with 23 wickets at 21.17, will act as understudy to record-breaking off-spinner Nathan Lyon. The introduction of COVID-substitute regulations this year means teams are expected to carry a ready replacement for each specialist in their extended squad.
Former Test wicketkeeper Matthew Wade will fill the back-up ‘keeper role should injury or illness befall skipper Paine.
“Mitch Swepson is another who has excelled and is in fine form for Queensland. He gives the side a strong second spin option to Nathan Lyon and we feel he is ready and deserving of the opportunity,” Hohns said.
“Sean Abbott has also been outstanding at the start of the summer and comes in to his first Test squad as a very strong fast bowling option. Add that to his recent batting form over the last 12 months he presents a very complete package in the squad.”
Neser, who struck his maiden first-class century in Queensland’s opening Shield match, has been an uncapped member of Australia’s Test squad for most of the past two years.
While form in the first four rounds of the Shield has earned the uncapped five their places in the squad, the jockeying for positions in the starting XI for the opening Test at Adelaide Oval from December 17 begins in earnest now with players involved in the Indian Premier League to land in Sydney on Thursday afternoon.
That group includes Test regulars Steve Smith, Warner, Cummins, Hazlewood and Pattinson, who have not played a first-class match since at least the previous season’s final Test against New Zealand.Play VideoNeser blazes maiden century in Shield opener
The IPL players will clear mandatory quarantine in time for the Dettol ODI and T20I Series against India in Sydney and Canberra from November 27 to December 8.
Those matches will be followed by two Australia A fixtures against Indian sides in Sydney, the first at Drummoyne Oval (Dec 6-8) and the second under lights at the SCG, to prepare players for the opening pink-ball Test at Adelaide Oval.
Final squads, and captains, for each of the two warm-up matches will be named closer to the contest. Both matches will be live streamed on cricket.com.au and the CA Live app to a global audience.Play VideoAbbott defies Shield run fest to take six against WA
Hohns said removing the title of co-vice-captain from Travis Head was not a reflection on his standing in the team.
“As was the case with the white ball side we have reverted to a traditional leadership model of captain and vice-captain now we have a settled and in-form group of experienced players,” Hohns said. “Travis remains an important member of the senior leadership group and has been integral in the recent success of the side which is now ranked as the best Test team in the world. He has been a great support to Tim and is a very experienced leader.”
India Tour of Australia 2020-21
Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner
Australia ODI & T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey , Pat Cummins (vc), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa
The literature on Sri Lankan cricket is rather sparse. Two histories have obtained currency outside the country itself. One, written in 1924, is by S. P. Foenander, with an Introduction by P. F. Warner, and deals with the period 1863 to 1923. The other is a more recent and comprehensive work published by Janashakthi Insurance (itself run by a cricketing family, the Schaffters) is written by S. S. Perera. Thorough though this latter work is it contains some vital errors and is stronger on detail than on comment.
This new book by Michael Roberts, a native of Sri Lankan, but long time resident of Adelaide where he taught anthropology at the University of Adelaide, can unequivocally be heralded as the most substantial literate and stimulating analysis of Sri Lankan cricket ever published.
The format is distinctive. Of coffee-table size, it is spiced with more than 150 photographs and imprints of paintings, together with facsimiles of scoresheets, dinner menus and even stamps and a miscellany of other memorabilia. The captions of these are revelatory of the impact that cricket has had on this small island.
Some of the reprints are of considerable beauty. In particular the paintings and sketches of a remarkable Sri Lankan supporter, Joe Hoad, an ebullient West Indian who has resided for some time in Adelaide, are noteworthy. His pastel painting, “The Winning Shot,” depicting Arjuna Ranatunga’s delicate glide to seal Sri Lanka’s victory at the World Cup in Lahore in 1996, is masterly. As striking are the real life tales of two different scales of disaster: one (no. 157) revealing the scenes in front of the Galle Fort and embracing the Galle cricket grounds after the tsunami had struck –made all the more poignant by an idyllic shot (no. 152) of cricket on the same ground, the author’s home turf, taken well before the grounds achieved international status; and the other a wonderful naturalistic photograph of Steve Waugh’s broken nose after he was floored by Jason Gillespie as both went for a catch during the Test Match at Kandy in 1999.
The substance of the book consists of reproductions of articles published for the most part in journals or on the internet. The first 178 pages contain writings of Michael Roberts himself, written mostly in the years 2000-04. The remainder are guest essays from a wide variety of writers. Some are Sri Lankans themselves. Others are internationals.
Roberts’ writings reveal two aspects of his character. first there is the dispassionate historian/anthropologist. Secondly there is the passionate patriot. But even those essays that purport to deal with the facts (e.g. the sections entitled “Sri Lanka and Its Cricket Politics” and “Sri Lanka at Cricket”) express the bias of an informed, but uncompromising critic.
Some of Roberts’ prejudices will arouse surprise – for instance, an apparent animus against Romesh Kaluwitharana. But his informative insights into the shenanigans of the BCCSL (pp. 120-23) amount to reasoned polemics.
This forthrightness leads to stimulating reading. Much of it is directed at Sri Lankans themselves. Arjuna Ranatunga’s’s captaincy comes in for strong querulousness. Little love is bestowed on Australian combatism. Roberts constantly emphasises the cultural iniquity of sledging, often directed at South Asians whose first language is not English and who have been educated to revere politeness and respect their elders.
The “Guest Essays” are of varied quality and on varied topics. But Roberts has gathered together a galaxy of distinguished authorities. Naturally, a considerable number deal with the throwing allegations against Muttiah Muralitharan. For the most part the tenor of these is in support of this great and humble bowler. Particularly perceptive essays in this mode are those of Bernard Whimpress, Sambit Bal and Glucka Wijesuriya.
But there are other non-adversarial writings that excite attraction by virtue of their charm. Neville Jayaweera’s account of Don Bradman’s visit to Ceylon in 1948 and Lucien de Zoysa’s description of the 1936 tour of Australia by the boys of Royal College (one of two elite schools that used to dominate cricket in before it became democratised) are real gems.
Most of these chosen essays take Sri Lankan cricket as their theme. But there are exceptions. Mike Marqusee trenchantly describes the furore caused by David Frith and Robert Henderson in their calumny against foreign-born cricketers selected to play for England. This led to defamation actions successfully brought by Devon Malcolm and Phil De Freitas. Marqusee’s piece is a telling diatribe against racism.
Michael Roberts has presented a work of substantial scholarship, pungent writing and handsome production. Not merely does it illuminate the remarkable history and background of a troubled but beautiful cricket-mad country, but it also brings to the attention of a new audience several vignettes of some talented players of the past. Not least it draws attention to topical issues in the contemporary cricket scene that should concern serious cricket-lovers of whatever country or persuasion.
J. NEVILLE TURNER of Melbourne
Michael Roberts, ESSAYING CRICKET; SRI LANKA AND BEYOND, (Vijitha Yapa Publishers, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2006) ……. pp xvi,= 372 with 157 photographs. ISBN 955-1266-25-0 & ISBN 955-1266-26-9
Note that the classic photograph of Steve Waugh and Jason Gillespie crashing into each other as they went for a catch was taken by Anuruddha Lokuhapuaratchci of Reuters [ who has since migrated to UK]. Gillespie was eventually invialided home but the sturdy Waugh returned to the cricket field a week or so later. The Asgiriya grounds are relatively small, so both injured palyers were taken by ambulance to the Bogambara playing fields where an SLAF helicopter summoned via the good offices of Sanath Jayasuriya whisked them to Colombo. Friendship links do matter in Sri Lanka … and the medical services are usually first-grade.