Umpire’s refferal at last
This column may have been sounding like a broken record when we
continued over a long period to advocate the Umpire Decision Referral
System which was the brainchild of Sri Lanka Attorney-at-Law and cricket
enthusiast Senaka Weeratne. From the shaows of an elusive past it has,
at long last given birth. It will finally see the light of day.
The Test series between Sri Lanka and West Indies will have the
system in operation. Good that the two countries and others concerned
have finally arrived at this decision. Posterity will look back and
thank the cricket leadership of the two sides for blazing a trail.
Putting the system in place costs a lot of money. But what is
unacceptable is that while the sponsors of the telecast Ten Sports has
volunteered to bear the major share of the cost, the International
Cricket Council and Sri Lanka Cricket will share the rest of the cost.
Now this is inexplicable. The ICC is the ones who are insisting on
this system. Then it is appropriate and right that they pocket the major
share of the cost. With the mega dollars that they are making, it was
their duty to play a bigger role in this episode.
Well done Ten Sports
Anyway we say well done to Ten Sports - Sri Lanka Cricket’s TV
partner - a channel that is continuing to grow in popularity for
agreeing to foot a major share of the cost of implementing the UDRS that
will help keep the game clean and less of umpiring blunders. Ten Sports
have also introduced a new channel titled Ten Cricket. More strength to
their elbow! Operating the UDRS is estimated to cost a little over
rupees 12 million. Ten Sports will pocket out rupees 7.8 million, while
the ICC and Sri Lanka Cricket will dole out 2.24 million Sri Lanka
rupees. In agreeing to put this system in action, Sri Lanka and the West
Indies have set an example and it is hoped that countries who are averse
and refusing to play this system will begin to see reason and the
benefits— and play to this system.
Umpires are also human and they tend to make mistakes. When this
system is in operation, it will lessen the mistakes made by the on field
umpires. Both teams will be allowed a number of referrals and the
decisions made will be to the satisfaction of both teams. And what is
more the doubts that creep into the minds of the watching public will be
Cricket in Galle again
When this column is read, provided that the weather stays fine, the
first day’s play in the First of Three Tests between Sri Lanka and West
Indies for the ERI Cup will be over.
The Sri Lankan selectors in naming the squad for the Test would have
had good reason to leave out Lasith Malinga the bowler with a similar
action like West Indian Fidel Edwards who unfortunately is not in the
Windies tour party. Apparently the selectors would have wanted to give
the pacie a rest considering that he had been playing a lot of cricket
in recent times. With a peculiar action, there is the possibility of him
breaking down if he is over-bowled.
This is a strategic move no doubt: with the 2011 World Cup looming
and with Malinga expected to spearhead the pace attack, it is paramount
that he be nursed and not over taxed. The rest should do him a lot of
If the Tests seem to be going the way of the Windies, the selectors
may consider bringing him back, not wanting to lose the series. But the
selectors are confident that the rest of the attack can see us through
in this series. At the moment the focus is on the one-day game. With the
World Cup being the bottom line, Test cricket will be relegated and not
taken that seriously. Yet the Lankans will not want to lose and will
strive to pocket the Test series.
The Galle wicket has a tendency to be spin friendly and the Lankans
have gone in with two spinners in Suraj Randiv and Ajantha Mendis. In
batting the Lankans are settled and runs are expected from the top order
who are familiar with the batting conditions. Curator and former Sri
Lankan off cutter Jayananda Warnaweera has once again promised a sporty
wicket. He could be trusted. But the wicket is likely to favour spin as
the game progresses.
As for the cricketers from the Caribbean, they will want to win the
Test series and give new captain Darren Samy an auspicious start to his
captaincy career. They have cricketers who can be threatening and it
will be interesting to see how they go. Besides cricket fans in Sri
Lanka have over the years had a soft corner for the West Indies for
their dashing style and the warmth they exhibit in their relationships.
This column can bear testimony to this camaraderie having covered the
Windies both her in Sri Lanka and in the Caribbean.
England start well
The English team is making a bold bid to win the Ashes in Australia
after 17 long years. They started off nicely beating Western Australia
on a pacy wicket in Perth with captain Andrew Strauss striking early
form with a century.
An opinion poll in Australia has tipped England to win the series.
The poll also indicated that former leg spinning sensation Shane Warne
be given the coaching job if Australia is to get their act together and
This time round England won’t have the vociferous support of the
‘Barmy Army’. With the pound giving them only three dollars, the Pomi
supporters have decided to skip the tour and the England cricketers will
certainly miss their witty shouts and encouragement.
While the teams are promising to keep play out in the middle clean,
there will always be a bit of sledging which was made a fine art by
Steve Waugh’s Australians. Waugh called sledging mental disintegration.
While both teams will be well served in the pace department, in spin
England will hold a slight edge with Greame Swan being a bit ahead of
Nathan Hauritz. Both are off spinners. Swan is certainly not in the top
class of the late Jim Laker who ran circles round the Aussie batsmen in
the fifties and had them in a flat spin when he captured 19 wickets in a
Shane Warne, that former Aussie leg spinning sensation has
volunteered to help Hauritz over come his poor form. Warne is doing it
with all good intentions, because he would not like to see his side
Cricket Australia should not think twice but get Warne to help
Hauritz to get his spin going and pitch in the right areas, that could
prove troublesome to the opposing batsmen. With a few days to go for the
First Test at the Gabba, both teams will be firing barbs at each other,
in an endeavour to hype and unsettle. It would be interesting to watch
as to who will succumb when the final ball is delivered at the end of
the Five Test series.