Archive for May, 2011


Saving Murali’s Doosra: Impact of Innovative Testing on Malcolm Speed

May 31, 2011

Michael Roberts

Many cricket fans will know that from 1995 onwards Muttiah Muralitharan was hounded by a wide range of powerful figures in the cricket world, individuals mostly located in Australiaand New Zealand. Threatened by Darrell hair’s unconventional umpiring action on 26 December 21995, Murali’s bowling action was deemed legal by the scientific analysis of the Department of Human Movement & Exercise Science at the University of Western Australia after Daryl Foster, an Australian man of common sense and true friend of Sri Lankan cricket, initiated a test in January 1996; while similar work by Dr. Ravi Goonetilleke at the University of Science Technology in Hong Kong confirmed this finding.[i]

 I have never understood why the ICC and the various Sri Lankan Boards running cricket between 1996 and 2003 have not aired the distilled footage created by the UWA unit, footage that has been shown to both ICC and MCC committees at various points of time between 1995 and 2005. I have presented this criticism in mild form in Incursions and Excursions, alas a work that will never be read by many cricketers outsideSri Lanka (if that) and will certainly not reach the men who count in the ruling circles of cricket. As in the book, I insist, here, that such weighty evidence should be widely publicized for the benefit of celebrity idiots of the Bedi variety.

 The weight of such visual imagery as evidence has recently been brought out – in passing let me stress – in a recent book by Malcolm Speed, the former CEO of the Australian Cricket Board who then became CEO of the ICC. This significant act of witness relates not to the initial assault on Murali’s action in 1995/96 and then again in 1999, but rather to the subsequent questioning from circa 2003 onwards of his delivery of the new invention, the doosra. When Chris Broad, as Match Referee at a Test Match in Colombo, formally questioned the action (perhaps in order to resolve the whisperings) on 16 March 2004, this became an official investigation that focused on Murali in particular.[ii] Read the rest of this entry ?


Malcom Speed’s Sticky Wicket

May 31, 2011

Peter Roebuck

Former International Cricket Council (ICC) and Cricket Australia (CA) Chief Executive Malcolm Speed’s memoir of his time in cricket, ‘Sticky Wicket’, is an unbiased and relevant eye-opener about what went on behind the scenes in cricket in the past 10 years, noted cricket columnist Peter Roebuck has said. “If the style is as dry as a paper clip, the content is colourful. Along the way Speed describes the rumour-ridden inquiry into Bob Woolmer’s death at the 2003 Cricket World Cup, an investigation hijacked by a vainglorious detective and a silly coroner,” Roebuck wrote in his syndicated column for the Sydney Morning Herald. “He talks about the disastrous 2003 Cup, the growth of Indian power, the move from London to Dubai, the advent of Twenty20, the attempt to spread the game beyond the Old Empire, and the sensible changes made to the throwing law.” “He focuses on the notorious SCG Test againstIndiathat showed numerous players and both boards in a poor light, an issue from which only a Kiwi judge emerged with credit,” he added. Read the rest of this entry ?


Facebook discussion of Lanka’s Tour of England sponsored by British High Commission

May 27, 2011

Island, 27 May 2011

 Pic by AFP

Pic by ESPN cricinfo

 The British High Commission (BHC) has commenced a Facebook discussion on Sri Lanka’s present tour of England of the BHC and will continue throughout the cricket series. Daily comments will be posted by two BHC staff members and the discussion board is open to cricket fans who would like to post their views as well. The BHC Facebook page is accessible at!/bhccolombo

(Press release by British High Commission)


Outstanding Players in recent domestic League Tournament

May 27, 2011

Chris Dhambarage, in Daily News, 27 May 2011

Tamil Union all rounder Jeewan Mendis was selected as the Player of the Tournament after the conclusion of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) three day Premier League Tier ‘A’ championship which concluded recently.  Mendis scored 667 runs with a top score of 205 at an average of 55.58 inclusive of two centuries and three half centuries. He also had an excellent tournament with the ball claiming 42 wickets with an economy rate of 3.25. Mendis captured five wickets in an innings on four occasions and returned best figures of six wickets for 37.

Meanwhile Dinesh Chandimal of the NCC was picked as the Best Batsman of the tournament for his tally of 1013 runs. Chandimal struck four centuries and six fifties including a top score of 142 not out at an average of 84.41. Sajeewa Weerakoon of Colts CC won the Best Bowlers award for claiming 62 wickets in the tournament. He claimed a match bag of ten wickets on two occasions and took five wickets in an innings on six occasions. Weerakoon completed the tournament with an economy rate of 2.91 and returned best figures of seven wickets for 49.

Meanwhile Panadura SC all rounder Amila Perera was named Player of the Tournament in the SLC Premier League Tier ‘B’ championship. He scored 407 runs at an average of 31.30 inclusive of three half centuries. In addition he captured 62 wickets at an excellent economy rate of 2.46. He also took ten wickets in an innings twice and claimed five, five wicket hauls while returning best figures of eight wickets for 43.

Tharanga Indika of Sri Lanka Police SC was the Best Batsman in the Tier ‘B’ tournament for his tally of 711 runs. He scored three centuries and struck two fifties at an average of 50.78 and had a top score of 158 runs. Dulanjana Mendis of Sri Lanka Navy Sports Club was picked as the Best Bowler in the Tier ‘B’ tournament with a haul of 69 wickets.He captured ten wickets in an innings twice and five wickets in an innings on six occasions. Mendis had an economy rate of 3.46 during the tournament and returned best figures of eight wickets for 45.


Cricket gear for Lanka far and wide: Mike Stables to the fore

May 25, 2011

I was fortunate to sit next to one Michael Stables at the SLC  ‘stable’ during the Sri Lanka vs England World Cup match. Inspired by the affintiy in our names, we deepened the chemistry during the course of that day. Stables was born in Ceylon and has pursued his affair with the land ever since. Of late it has meant the collection and freighting of cricket gear to needy schools and localities far and wide in Sri Lanka. He sent a Note of Thanks to his donors and helpers in England and Lanka recently. I have taken the liberty of presenting it here in order to inspire others to step forth and join him or mount their own endeavours. Michael Roberts.

  1. 1. Entirely through the generosity of those listed below at market value ove £60K approx of cricket equipment was delivered and presented to some of the poor and underprivileged of Sri Lanka 2 months ago. Schools around Negombo,north of Colombo,and 6 clubs on the east coast at Pottuvil badly affected by the tsunami and in any event historically always last in the queue for hand outs from central government for the area benefitted. Read the rest of this entry ?

Savouring Mahela Jayawardene — “a class act”

May 25, 2011

Steve James, from the Telegraph, 22 May 2011

 Pic courtesy of Getty 

Aesthetes, take your seats. Beauty is on its way. Amid the muscular beasts that roam cricket’s Twenty20-filled landscape these days, there is still room for style, and batsmen do not come any more stylish than Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene. Is there a more elegant right-hander in the game right now?  I would venture not. He really should have been a left-hander. Sachin Tendulkar will doubtless have his supporters, but are his strokes really quite as languid as Jayawardene’s? Tendulkar’s team-mate, VVS Laxman, might actually be easier on the eye. Warwickshire had two rather graceful batsmen in their ranks last week — the homegrown Ian Bell and their overseas import, Mohammad Yousuf. Michael Clarke has his moments, as once did his compatriot Mark Waugh. It is, of course, all subjective fun.

But I have been smitten by Jayawardene’s strokeplay ever since first setting eyes upon it in the town of Kurunegala, in central Sri Lanka, where he made a sublime century for Sri Lanka A against England A in 1998. The effects of the furnace-like heat, exacerbated by the huge rock that overlooks the ground, as well as the presence on the outfield of a huge brown snake that frightened the life out of fast bowler Jimmy Ormond as he ran around the boundary, were eased by the class of Jayawardene’s batting Read the rest of this entry ?


Bloomfield depicts the magic of team work

May 25, 2011

Naushad Amit, in the Sunday Times, May 2011

Chinthaka Jayasinghe

Teamwork interlaced with individual brilliance by all team members enabled Bloomfield Cricket and Athletics Club to clinch the championship title at the inter-club Premier Tier ‘A’ tournament during the 2010/11 season which ended last week.  At a crucial time when Bloomfield are reviving their presence as a leading club in the Colombo cricket circuit this win would definitely bring them the much needed confidence to carry on their future endeavors. Bloomfield however had to wait for seven long years to reach this milestone despite losing one of their key players, the newly appointedSri Lankacaptain T.M. Dilshan before the season commenced.

Yet the senior players such as Saman Jayantha, skipper Chinthaka Jayasinghe, off-spinner Suraj Randiv and wicketkeeper/batsman Prasanna Jayawardena took the burden on to their shoulders to see their team emerge the worthy winners. In addition prominent and emerging players rose to the occasion with timely contributions to assist the cause. “We planned this season well ahead with two ambitions. Unfortunately we could not win the limited overs championship as planned. We did not count it as a major setback on our way to the Premier championship. We anticipated this from the very beginning like any other team. But our campaign was better than the rest,” claimed a jubilant coach Tharanga Dhammika. Read the rest of this entry ?


From Gamini Dissanayake to Sangakkara

May 18, 2011

“The speech that set free Sri Lanka cricket and glued a troubled nation,” David Hopps  in The Guardian, 18 May 2011

The Sri Lankans are here, promising to bring much pleasure to the start of the cricketing summer, but even their best batsmen should gladly concede that the greatest innings ever played by a Sri Lankan took place in the committee rooms at Lord’s almost 30 years ago. Gamini Dissanayake made a charismatic case for Sri Lanka cricket on that day in June 1981, winning over the fustiest of cricket administrators with an eloquent plea for them to be granted Test status. This was the most judicious of knocks, as he played himself in with diplomatic references to spreading cricket’s values of honesty and fair play before sallying forth with a host of guarantees that he would personally bring Sri Lanka’s facilities up to scratch .

 Tennekoon and Lloyd at the toss, Old Trafford, Manchester, 1975

 facilities up to scratch .

Duleep Mendis felled by Thompson, Oval, Kennington

Read the rest of this entry ?


Fire in Babylon: The Rise and RISE of the West Indies in Cricket

May 17, 2011


   Frank Worrall with Menzies, Lindwall and Hassett

They brought the world to its knees,
and a nation to its feet.Fire In Babylonis the breathtaking story of how the West Indies triumphed over its colonial masters through the achievements of one of the most gifted teams in sporting history.In a turbulent era of apartheid in South Africa; race riots in England and civil unrest in the Caribbean, the West Indian cricketers, led by the enigmatic Viv Richards, struck a defiant blow at the forces of white prejudice worldwide. Their undisputed skill, combined with a fearless spirit, allowed them to dominate the genteel game at the highest level, replaying it on their own terms.This is their story, told in their own words.



Why Aravinda de Silva was the Best Batsman of All?

May 17, 2011

Nirgunan Thiruchelvam, reprinting a controversial article published in in 2009

For the first century of its existence, the Taj Mahal was unknown outside India. If there was a cricketing equivalent of this monument it would be Aravinda de Silva. For much of his career, Aravinda was not recognized abroad. The World Cup victory changed that, but not enough.  The Indian cricket historian Ramachandra Guha has argued that Sunil Gavaskar was a superior batsman to Viv Richards. Though Viv Richards was much more destructive, he never had to face his own bowlers. Gavaskar not only faced Garner, Marshall and Holding, but he mastered them. He scored a scarcely believable 13 centuries against the feared West Indian bowlers. That is by far the highest number of centuries against the Windies, which was the leading attack of that era.

By the same token, Aravinda was a superior batsman to Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar. Not many are aware that Aravinda is the top century scorer against Pakistan, the leading team of his time. As the scorer of 8 centuries against Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Abdul Qadir, Aravinda should be placed on a pedestal. Read the rest of this entry ?