|Tuesday, 15 June 2004|
Blair doing the jig of joy
by Elmo Rodrigopulle
Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister would certainly have done the jig of joy when he learnt that the International Cricket Council along with the country in a crisis Zimbabwe have decided to call off all Tests scheduled for this year.
While the British Government would have liked the English cricketers not to tour Mugabeland, the English Cricket Board would have had no alternative, but to honour their engagements.
Man's inhumanity to man, is the reasons cited by the Blair Government for asking their cricketers not to tour. But the ICC issued a stern warning to the ECB that if they do not tour, heavy penalties would be slapped on them.
Blair would now be a very relieved man, now that his cricketers would not tour.
England would at some date have to honour their tour of Zimbabwe. But it would not be in the near future. England are down to play 4 one-dayers, in Zimland. The 'cowboy' game is not what cricket is all about and with these games being of little significance, England would endeavour to skip.
Now that the ICC have shown their fangs and cancelled all Test cricket for the Zimbabweans, they must go a step further and suspend the former Rhodesians from Test cricket until they amicably settle their problems.
The lords at Lord's would be applauded if they told the Zimbabwe Cricket Union that racism in any form would not be tolerated. The beastly apartheid was thankfully done away in South Africa and today their cricketers are plying their trade much to the delight of the world.
The ZCU has been rightly, roundly condemned for their racist approach in selecting teams. Teams must always be picked on merit. Colour, creed or religion is not what is required for selection.
Even former captain Heath Streak is on record requesting the ICC to slam the ZCU out of the ICC. How the ICC would react to these requests would be interesting to watch. Eshan Mani, the ICC Chairman in his short stint at the wicket, has batted very convincingly, negotiating the bouncers and under arm deliveries bowled at him. Playing a straight bat, is what everyone expects from Mani.
Hussain and Cairns retire
Two wonderful cricketers who gave much joy to the game and everyone watching, former England Captain Nasser Hussain and New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns have sadly decided to quit the game.
Hussain played with great distinction as a steady batsman and captain for England. Although his batting was not in the exciting class, yet he did his part well and many were the times he saved his country from defeat with his dogged batting.
Before the First Test against New Zealand, Hussain came in for a bit of hammering from former England captain and all-rounder Ian Botham. Botham wanted Hussain to quit. Hussain replied Botham with a gallant century which would have silenced the former England captain.
Shortly after this century innings, Hussain announced his retirement. He should have played in another Test and allowed his supporters to give him a fitting farewell for the loyal service he rendered to game and country. Cairns' retirement would be a void that the Kiwis would find hard to fill. From the time he sported the Kiwi cap, Chris has done wonderfully well as an all-rounder.
He was one of the most exciting hitters in the game and many were the times that he put opposing bowlers to the sword with some Jessopian hitting. In the first innings of the First Test against England he blasted an electrifying 80 odd that had the spectators yelling for more.
He lived up to the reputation of his father Lance who, too was a big hitter in the game. All bowlers hated to bowl to Lance. Length or line did not matter to Lance who lofted sixes with consummate ease.
One can't forget the way he pounded Sri Lanka's paceman Vinodhan John at the P. Sara Stadium hitting him for near 30 runs in one over.
Rev. Bro. Alban Pavilion
The Old Bens Union and the Sports Club have finally decided to name the imposing pavilion at its ground in Bloemendhal Road Kotahena as the Rev. Bro. Alban Pavilion.
Naming it the Bro. Alban Pavilion was first proposed a few years back by Kenneth Dabrera, who was an encouraging cheer leader in the late fifties and early sixties and seconded by General Cecil Waidyaratne, a fast bowler who instilled fear into all schoolboy batsmen along with his pace pal Neville Wickremasinghe.
Waidyaratne and Wickremasinghe were known as the terrible 'Ws' under Lovellyn Rayen in 1957 and Neville Casiechitty in 1958. Sadly Waidyaratne, Wickremasinghe and Rayen are no more. Those were the years when the Bens had its best Prefect of Games in A. Gnanapragasam. Gnanapragasam too is no more.
It was in 1957 after the Bens emerged unofficial school cricket champions that Bro. Alban, the director of that time decided to build the pavilion and also the turf wickets. So it is but right that the pavilion be named in is honour.
OBSC President Dinesh Madawela has set in motion the collecting of funds for the renaming of the pavilion and he is confident that all Old Bens would rally round and make it a reality.
In the past there was a one-day game between the Bens and the Joes that was played for the Rev. Bro. Alban Trophy. But unforgivably that game has been scrapped for no known reason.
It is hoped that the Bens would have tete-a-tete with the Joes and restart this game that was much looked forward to in years gone by.
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