Archive for March, 2016


J. Neville Turner on Old Trafford and Other Eccentricities

March 28, 2016
NEVILLE CRICKETNeville Turner is a modern day Renaissance man. A retired legal academic with a specialist interest in family law, an outstanding jazz pianist, a lover of languages –he speaks five as well as being versed in classical Latin and Greek, a lover of music in nearly all its forms (except rock) and of literature, he also has a passion for cricket and soccer as well as being a keen competitive tennis player with the Heathmont Tennis Club. A former president of the Australian Society for Sports History and the Victorian branch of the Australian Cricket Society, he has published two books on sport, Football, the Pain and the Pleasure, the World Cup Diaries and Addicted to Cricket: Essays on the game. Abbove everytjhing else, he has remained a Lancastrian in both soccer, and cricket.
  NEVILLE, BANGALORE TESTNeville at a Test Match in Bangalore

“A Neronic Piece of Grandiloquence” by J. Neville Turner, from Baggy Green,by Bernard Whimpress, 2016

One of my favourite ties was acquired at Old Trafford, the home of my beloved Lancashire Cricket Club. Its centrepiece is a facsimile of the Pavilion. This is surrounded by the crests of the, then, eight Test playing countries. It was woven to celebrate the centenary of Test cricket at Old Trafford in 1984. The Pavilion at the ground is a handsome Victorian edifice. It is, however, inconveniently placed − at square leg. It is incommodious. Although it contains some priceless texts the Library is arranged in a haphazard way. It is too small to accommodate more than 1000 books. The ‘Long Room’ holds about twenty people.

OLD TRRAFFORD Old Trafford has undergone some major reconstruction, including a massive hotel which overlooks the ground. No doubt, capacity and comfort for members would greatly have been enhanced if this reconstruction had included bulldozing the Pavilion. Read the rest of this entry ?


Baggy Green in Book-Form: Exploring the Unusual

March 27, 2016

Bernard Whimpress served — and impressed — cricketing aficionados by editing the Baggy Green journal for years …. and has now brought together a selection of essays from previous runs in an anthology that will please cricketing buffs in the world…. the more so because the collection of authors are altogether eccentric. Book available from and 0447 003 654



I began Baggy Green as a Journal of Australian Cricket with Barry Nicholls as associate editor in 1998 and continued it through twelve volumes and twenty-four issues until 2010. In my opening editorial I made reference to the Australian Cricket Journal which had operated several years before and stated that the occasion of an Ashes tour was an appropriate time to launch a new national journal. I went on to say that England had a number of outlets for historical cricket writing and presenting ‘thoughtful high-quality articles with a primarily historical focus’ was the main aim in the new publication. Twelve years later I believe I had achieved that aim. Read the rest of this entry ?


Remembering Gamini Goonesena: Versatility and Intelligence Personified

March 27, 2016

A. C. De Silva, in the Sunday Observer, 27 March 2016, where the title is “Gamini Goonesena will never be forgotten”

A gathering of family friends of the past will no doubt look to great names of the past and will undoubtedly bid a grand farewell to a cricketer of the past – when the legendary Gamini Goonesena – that great cricketer came up for discussion in the good old days – say somewhere in early January in 2012. It was the occasion to bid farewell to Gamini Goonesena, one of the greatest achievers Sri Lanka cricket has ever known…….16.02.1931 to 01.08.2011. Former Australian cricketer and allrounder Alan Davidson, spoke glowingly of the passage of time on cricket and no one had anything bad about Goonesena to declare to the vast audience present at the gathering — though there were no religious obsequies on that final day when friends and all had to say! ‘Goodbye’ to the great cricketer Gamini Goonesena.

GAMINI g as captain

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Ceylon’s Cinderella Fate in Cricket during the 1960s-to-1980s

March 26, 2016

Sankaran Krishna, in ESPNcricinfo, 26 March 2016, where the title is The Sri Lanka I grew up on”

Of late, it seems India play Sri Lanka in some form of cricket just about every other month. These matches, especially one-dayers, have little charm and no one really remembers anything much about them. Sri Lankan cricketers have suffered from over-exposure in India, which is such a pity when you think of the soft caress of Mahela Jayawardene’s strokeplay or the elegance of Kumar Sangakkara, to mention just two of their finest.

Sunil vs Aussies-Getty Sunil Wettimuny square cuts an Aussie–Getty

There was a time, back in the 1970s, when cricketers from Sri Lanka were exotic and rare creatures, who created quite an impact on schoolboys like me in Madras. We caught a glimpse of them during the annual MJ Gopalan Trophy (thankfully now revived after a long hiatus), which pitted the Sri Lankans against the Tamil Nadu state team. The matches were three-day affairs and often keenly contested. And there was the unofficial two-Test series between a near-full-strength Indian team in its pomp and the Sri Lankans in early 1974. Though India won 1-0, the visitors more than held their own. Read the rest of this entry ?


Withering before the Windies, Bangalore 20th March 2016

March 23, 2016

Michael Roberts … also see

Sri Lanka slumped to a defeat against the West Indies at Bangalore on the 20th March because of a combination of factors, some self-made, some Windies-made and some due to horrendous umpiring error. Assigning weightage amongst an array of factors is never easy and is inevitably conjectural. I side-step that problem. Just let me run through these ‘forces’ one by one, progressing in temporal order.


The umpiring was calamitous and it was Sri Lanka who suffered – not once, but on three occasions. I begin with this undermining force because the first blow was in the 4th over of the Sri Lankan innings when Dilshan was batting effectively (12 runs in ten balls) and the score was 20 – not great, but not too bad. The ESPN writer reacted thus

Brathwaite to Dilshan, OUT, and strikes first ball! Boy, that looked a bit leg-side at first glance but he’s gone lbw. Full, angling into the pads, Dilshan aims through the leg side but misses. The umpire takes a long time but eventually the finger goes up. Oh dear, that’s missing by a long way.

The TV commentators were as definitive in their assessment of the South African umpire John Cloete’s terrible decision.

AA=CLOETECloete adjudicating in a previous match Read the rest of this entry ?


Sangakkara on Life and Times in Q and A with Rex

March 22, 2016

Rex Clementine, in The Island, 22 March 2016, where the title is How Sanga has failed to ‘look to the end’. “

Former great Kumar Sangakkara was offered the post of Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Great Britain on the day he retired from the game, six months ago. Yet, he settled to be part of Sri Lanka’s selection panel instead of the prestigious diplomatic post. Since retiring, he teamed up with Kevin Pietersen to help English county Surrey get back to the top division of county cricket. Then he played a crucial role in helping Sri Lanka Cricket in obtaining the services of Graham Ford. He has some visionary ideas for the future of Sri Lankan cricket. The Island sat down with the former captain to seek his views on the World T-20 and a variety of other topics ranging from the education of his children to supporting the underprivileged. In this candid interview, he provides his opinions on many subjects. Here are the excerpts.

kumar glancesQuestion: There was a magnanimous gesture on the part of your old school Trinity College in accommodating a child from Kuliyapitiya, who was rejected from schooling at his hometown. Your thoughts?

Sangakkara: That’s one of my proudest moments being a Trinitian. The greatest thing I learnt from Trinity was that everyone is equal and deserved an equal opportunity. It didn’t matter what your religion was, what your ethnicity was, what your background was. No one really cared about it at Trinity when we were young. This is another case where this boy had the right to go to school and the right to his childhood. It’s the ignorance and misinformation that prevented that boy from being embraced by friends and other people. I also thought that we missed a vital point there. It doesn’t matter if the boy has HIV or not. That child has a right to go to school. He has a right to have friends. He has a right to be a citizen of this country. We must eradicate this stigma surrounding even the mention of HIV. HIV is a disease. HIV is not a death sentence anymore. People with HIV do some of the most amazing things. There are people with cancer. There are people with other decease. We need to forget that stigma. We should understand, support love and accept people with HIV who live in our society. Let’s say that the boy did have HIV, we shouldn’t have worried. A person’s HIV status should not in any way impact upon that person’s access to their basic rights and or their potential as productive Sri Lankans. Read the rest of this entry ?


A British Bike-rider spies Jayasuriyagama amidst the foliage and all that local cricket

March 21, 2016


BIKE MAN 499 In most other countries, young men would be playing football or volleyball. Not in Sri Lanka: the popular activity in the water was cricket practice, and the aquatic diving catches (or unsuccessful attempts) could be quite balletic (pic). Read the rest of this entry ?


ESPN Assessments before Afghanistan vs Sri Lanka Match

March 17, 2016

Nikhil Kalro, courtesy of ESPNcricinfo, where the title is “Settled Afghanistan look to upset troubled Sri Lanka

Big picture:Currently, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka find themselves on either side of a seesaw; one looks skyward, while the other has won only three of their last 16 completed international games. Yet, such has been Sri Lanka’s prowess in global events that the contest is still tipped in their favour.

Afghanistan came through the first round of the World T20 unscathed, overpowering their closest competitors Zimbabwe with an ease that caught the attention of the rest of Group 1. More impressively, Afghanistan have adapted, ditching their gung-ho approach for a calculated assault in conditions that will only increase their potency. The bowling has been solid, and captain Asghar Stanikzai has used his available resources astutely. Mohammad Nabi, the best of their host of spinning allrounders, has stood out with both bat and ball. Read the rest of this entry ?


Brendon, Chris and Sanath: Three Innings at Mount Everest

March 16, 2016

Quotable Quote from Andrew Miller

“Certainly, this was not a humiliation to rival England’s last most sensational beating on the world stage. Brendon McCullum’s shellacking in the Cake Tin at last year’s World Cup retains a special pride of place in the annals of English global failure, on a par with Sanath Jayasuriya’s onslaught at Faisalabad in 1996 for the manner in which it exposed a whole regime’s philosophy for open ridicule.” ….. review of the T20 match between West Indies and England at Wankhede stadium in Mumbai on Wednesday 16th March with title “‘Naive’ England given a life lesson”

chris-gayle-in-ICC-t20-world-cup Gayle–Pic fr.


Musings III: Misfortunes that have hit Sri Lankan cricket

March 15, 2016

Michael Roberts,  courtesy of ….

 From way back it was widely recognized that the retirement of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara would probably weaken Sri Lanka considerably. However, planning for the future from 2014 has not been assisted by the musical chairs in coaches and Selection Committees. The present coach is the third (or is it the fourth?) since mid-2014; while the present lot of selectors is the third —with no continuity via the retention of at least one or two selectors in order to sustain trajectories held in view by the previous Committee. Note that the Committee prior to that headed by Wijegunawardene was headed by Sanath Jayasuriya.

KUSAL PERERA-islandckt Kusal Perera

That said, I underline the impact of bad luck in the roll of the island’s cricketing dice. The biggest blow has been the doping ban received by Kusal Janith Perera (aged 25) in December 2015. I do not have the inside story or stories attending this event, so I do not know whether this was self-inflicted by Perera and his mentors or the result of some curious happenchance or error. However, he had been groomed as an explosive opening batsmen and gradually accumulated experience in this role. His present T20 stats read thus: 22 inns-0-596 runs—84—27.09 average– 133.03 s/r–05 fifties. These are better than those for AB de Villiers and Steven Smith. Read the rest of this entry ?