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Nov 30, 2010

Get ready Folks- ICC WC 2011

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Group A: Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Canada, Kenya
Group B: India, South Africa, England, West Indies, Bangladesh, Ireland and Netherlands

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Nov 29, 2010

Cricket unites for people living with HIV and AIDS

International cricket will show its support for people living with HIV and AIDS this week with leading players wearing red ribbons on their playing shirts in international matches to help celebrate World Aids Day as part of the Think Wise partnership.

Players and match officials will wear red ribbons in the ODI matches being played on 1 December (Wednesday) between Bangladesh-Zimbabwe, India-New Zealand and Sri Lanka-West Indies, as well as on the opening day of the Ashes Test match between Australia and England on 3 December (Friday). Further activities are also being held in South Africa.

In addition, Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralidaran will travel to Papua New Guinea this week to help take part in a variety of education and fundraising activities promoting World Aids Day.

Sri Lanka captain and Think Wise champion Kumar Sangakkara believes it is vital that cricketers show their support for the Think Wise initiative, a joint partnership between the ICC, UNAIDS, UNICEF and the Global Media AIDS Initiative that has been running since 2003.

The initiative aims to raise awareness around HIV prevention and eliminate discrimination against people living HIV and AIDS.

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Nov 24, 2010

Time to raise a Voice for Stumpy

With just 87 days to go for the start of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, it is time to raise a voice for Stumpy, the official mascot of the tournament.
A Voice for Stumpy campaign was launched in Sri Lanka on 22 November encouraging fans to be a part of the movement in the lead up to the showpiece event.
As the excitement builds, similar campaigns will be launched in India and Bangladesh as well.

The campaign is designed to help create a new lingo for Stumpy. Fans can be as imaginative and whacky as possible while giving a voice to Stumpy in a radio-led contest.

Fans can suggest how Stumpy's version of cricketing terms and cheers should sound like (e.g. "All the Best", "Congrats", "Howzzat", "Come On", "You Can Do it", "4 & 6", "Out" Go Sri Lanka Go.. etc)
At the end of everyday, the radio station would pick the best gibberish terms related to the given word (eg: top ten Stumpy word for Howzzat!) and help build a Stumpy vocabulary.
In Sri Lanka the contest is being run across all three major languages via select radio stations. During the promotion, on a daily basis, the Radio Jockey will reveal a particular cricket related term and encourage listeners to call in and voice that term as Stumpy would. Fans are also welcome to convert their ?Voice for Stumpy? into a cheer or song.

In addition to daily prizes, the winner of the grand prize will walk away with a pair of tickets to a quarter-final game of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011.

Nov 14, 2010

'We would like to copy what happened in 1996' - Bayliss

Australia-born Trevor Bayliss has decided to step down from his position as the Sri Lanka coach at the end of the 2011 Cricket World Cup in April. In the past three years or so in which he has been in charge, the Sri Lankan team has undergone many changes in their set-up and also improved their Test and one-day rankings to be placed third and second in the different categories.
Bayliss speaks ahead of the series against West Indies will be Sri Lanka's final engagement ahead of the World Cup which begins in February.
In the three years you've been coach what has the team as a whole achieved?
What they have tried to achieve is playing with the right attitude. There's nothing wrong with the talent in Sri Lanka, it's unbelievable. They are playing the game the right way and I suppose playing some smart cricket and trying to bring some of those youngsters through who hopefully would one day take over from some of the greats of Sri Lanka cricket and turn into greats themselves. The transition between club cricket and international cricket is a fairly big jump especially here in Sri Lanka. Trying to integrate these young players into the set up has been one of the main objectives. Over the last 12-15 months we are starting to get there.
What role have you played in getting Sri Lanka to the present level of No. 2 in ODIs and No. 3 in Test cricket?
My role is very much the support role the way I see it. You can't get to Nos. 1, 2 or 3 in the world without having some very good players. Trying to head those players in the right direction and trying to get them to understand that the players themselves are probably the best coaches. As a player if you are watching the other 10 players in the team how they go about and prepare for their cricket, play certain shots or how they bowl under different circumstances, that's where you can learn the most. From my point of view trying to head the boys in that direction and pushing them into that way of thinking and developing is my belief. Over the last 12-15 months that is starting to bear fruit.
What major changes have taken place in the team during your tenure?
I wouldn't say a major change but it's been a slow process. The results earlier on weren't great. We lost the first three one-day series, but we've won a lot of them in the last 18 months or so and also Test cricket. We've been to No. 2 in both Tests and ODIs in the last 12 months. There is a lot of hard work to go and I love to click my fingers and turn some of the young players into the Sangakkaras, the Jayawardenes, the Jayasuriyas, the Vaases, and the Muralitharans overnight but that's just not possible. They've got to understand that it's upto them. They can get as much advice and coaching from many people but in the end it's their attitude, how hard they want to try, what extra they want to do and how to put that into practice during a match that counts.
How do you think the younger players are responding to that challenge?
There's only one criterion that you can judge. That's the results. I think it's heading in the right direction.
Why do you want to quit as coach after the World Cup?
Purely because, by that time it would be almost four years. My family still lives in Sydney, Australia. To be honest, it's time to spend time with the family. I like to spend some time in Sydney that might mean picking up bits and pieces here and there to get by. Eventually I like to be involved in coaching first-class teams, state level or international level. I would like to give it another go at some stage.
How would you describe the ODI series win in Australia?
It is justification if you like. What we've been doing and the set-up we've got from management or coaching staff it's a really good mix at the moment. There is Stuart Law, the assisting coach who's been a very good batsman in his time and captain; we've also got Champaka Ramanayake and Ruwan Kalpage, a fast-bowling coach and a fielding coach with a spin background. They sort of complement each other. Everyone's been working well together with the leaders in the playing group Sanga, Mahela and Murali.
Has the win in Australia given the team the impetus for the World Cup?
It certainly would have given the players a lot of confidence and belief that they can beat anyone on their day. They have shown that over the last 18 months or so. The top 4-5 teams on their day can beat any one of the top 4-5 teams. One of the things we've been trying to get to is consistency of good performances. Losing that last game in Australia was a little bit of reminder to everyone that the job's not done yet. It's not the finished article and that we've still got a lot of hard work to do.
What are Sri Lanka's World Cup chances?
Playing at home we have been as good as at any time in history, and have as good a chance as anyone else at winning. What we have tried to stress to the boys is not to think too far ahead, but to concentrate about doing the things that make us competitive and play well on one particular day, concentrating on the process that starts with the players themselves and the way they go about their training and preparation.
Any areas that Sri Lanka needs improving?
We've got to have consistency in our performance. That can only come from the players pushing themselves from within, with that mental ability to play at the top of your game under any circumstance and under any condition. That's one thing everyone is fighting to achieve.
Has Sri Lanka got to improve in their batting in comparison to the other two departments bowling and fielding?
We got in Sanga, Mahela and Dilshan three very experienced players, the rest of the guys are not all that experienced but what they lack in experience they bring in enthusiasm to the team. Yes, they may not be as consistent as we would like. We have seen in the last 6-12 months that these players are on their way like Angelo Mathews' performance in Melbourne to win the game there, Upul Tharanga's 86 not out in the second ODI in Sydney. Little things like that give us hope that one day these players will be just as good as Mahela and Sanga. Don't also forget that Sanga and Mahela have to keep performing as well to keep showing the way to these younger players which they have been doing for a number of years, hope they will continue.
Do you see any new faces emerging in the West Indies Test and ODI series?
That's best left for the selectors. We are getting fairly close to the World Cup team. This is the last international series before the team is selected. The guys who have been there in the last few months have performed very well.
Your thoughts on the upcoming West Indies series.
If we are looking at consistency in performance and the rankings, you should say Sri Lanka should win playing at home against West Indies. All their supporters might think we should win but we are not going to win anything unless the boys have prepared not just physically but mentally as well. If we are not ready to play against a very spirited team which is trying to make their way back into the top group of countries in the world it could be a bit of an embarrassment. The boys have got to approach the series with a strong mind and understanding that they will come very hard at us.
Compared to two of your predecessors Dav Whatmore and Tom Moody, you tend to take a back seat and want to make things happen. Is that your nature?
A little bit of both - that is my nature. I believe this game belongs to the players. The captain is the one who controls things on the ground. I try and give as much support through my support staff. In the end it's the players' game. My belief is if a coach has got too much say and overrides absolutely everything then the players will never reach their true potential. Their true potential will be reached when they can think for themselves, think different tactics on their feet out there in the middle whether it is from a batting or bowling point of view. You can call yourself an experienced player when you realise that you are doing something wrong out in the middle and are able to change it before you get out. A coach can't stand next to a player out in the middle and tell him what he is doing is right or wrong. It's upto the player to be able to use his own mental strength and work at his own game. We can push him in that direction for a better understanding of his own game but the plan remains to leave them to their own devices every now and then. That's how I think in the long run they can become better players.
If Sri Lanka can win the World Cup would it be a perfect send off for you?That's been the goal for the last four years since I came in. World Cup success is a very big thing here in Sri Lanka. It's obviously been the focus since the last World Cup, where being runners-up was a great effort. Everyone involved in cricket would like to copy what happened in 1996 and so for four years there's always been that underlying challenge that the World Cup in 2011 and being at home is a very big challenge. The boys always had it at the back of their minds. This is the most important of the lot what really counts. I love nothing better for all the people involved in Sri Lankan cricket, not just the players and the support staff but for the Sri Lankan public to win another World Cup on home soil would be absolutely fantastic.
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Nov 13, 2010

Sri Lanka Cricket is keen on using the UDRS for WI series

 Sri Lanka Cricket is keen on using the Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) for this month's series against West Indies.
SLC Interim Committee secretary Nishantha Ranatunga  said "We are keen to have the DRS system for the West Indies tour and we are working towards making it a reality,"  
Ranatunga said he has been made to understand by Ten Sports that the Hawk-eye technology, which is required to implement the DRS system, isn't freely available all the time. It has to be hired from an international company which owns it and there is also the cost factor to be considered in installing it.
"The ICC has said that it is prepared to bear part of the cost and we are hopeful that Ten Sports can have the system in place," Ranatunga said.Hawk-eye is a system which traces a ball's trajectory, with a claimed accuracy of 5 mm, and sends it to a virtual-reality machine.
It uses six or more computer-linked television cameras situated around the field. The computer reads the video in real time, and tracks the path of the ball on each camera. These six separate views are then combined together to produce an accurate 3D representation of the path of the ball.  Mean while British Eurosport has secured the UK rights to the Test series between Sri Lanka and West Indies which gets underway on Monday, November 15.

Nov 10, 2010

Yorker Boy left out of Test squad

Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lanka fast bowler, has been left out of the squad for the first Test against West Indies which begins in Galle on November 15.
Malinga had made a comeback to Tests after an absence of more than two years during the home series against India in July and August 2010. He played the first Test, was rested from the second and bowled only six overs on the final day of the third, as India completed a successful chase at the P Sara Oval. Since then, Malinga played the tri-series at home against New Zealand and India and was part a successful tour of Australia, where Sri Lanka won a one-day series for the first time.
The 16-man squad also included uncapped wicketkeeper Kaushal Silva, who will be a back-up for Prasanna Jayawardene. Suranga Lakmal, a medium-pacer, was the other uncapped player in the team.

Sri Lanka Masters win CLOBI Cup

Sri Lanka Masters team led by Marvan Atapattu clinched the CLOBI Cup Masters Twenty20 Cricket Championships in front of the biggest crowd to come to Kensington Oval since the 2007 World Cup final – an estimated 10,000 – filed into ground on Tuesday night expecting the star-studded West Indies to lift the Cup and pocket prize money of US$50,000 after their impressive showing in the preliminaries.
Crowds came in their numbers in anticipation of reliving the euphoria provided by champion West Indiesteams of yesteryear, but left with the disappointment that is commonplace with West Indies teams of this era.

In the final, however, West Indies weer completely outclassed by a Sri Lanka team that included star international players of recent vintage and lost by 19 runs under the lights to bring a climax a successful tournament that featured Masters (Over-35s) from four countries – Sri Lanka, England, West Indies and India.
Sri Lanka team captained by Atapattu included Sanath Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharana, Aravinda de Silva, Russell Arnold, Saman Jayantha, Chaminda Vaas, Chandika Haturusinghe, Hemantha Wickremaratne, Eric Upashantha and Piyal Wijetunga.
For the fourth successive match, West Indies opted to field first on winning the toss, but after Sri Lanka posted 175 for eight from their 20 overs, it was always going to be a tough ask to score at close to nine runs an over and Courtney Walsh’s men were restricted to 156 for eight.
Even before a ball was bowled, there was disappointment for hometown fans with the news that crowd favourite Carl Hooper was unable to take his place in the West Indies team because of a shoulder injury he sustained in the last preliminary match on Sunday night when West Indies lost to the same opponents by two runs.
Hooper’s absence left the batting a trifle short and Sri Lanka, backed up by one or two pieces of brilliance in the field, defended their total with intensity.
West Indies’ problems were also compounded by an injury Floyd Reifer picked up when trying to complete a tight second run early in his innings.
Reifer required the services of a runner but in spite of his limited mobility, he was able to lash a few telling blows in the topscore of 54 off 45 balls.
West Indies would have been hoping that Reifer and Sherwin Campbell could have duplicated their century partnership of the last match but it never materialised. It was worth 20 when Campbell was prised out by an outstanding one-handed return catch by Aravinda deSilva.
Reifer would  have then needed the support of Courtney Browne but he was run out by a direct throw from deep mid-on that left the hosts under pressure.
As the scoring rate increased, batsmen were forced to take more chances, but nothing worked.
When the last five overs started, 61 runs were required but many of those in the stands were still confident that they could repeat the heroics of their victory against England in the opening match when they blasted 65 from the last five overs to chase down a target of 176.
Vasbert Drakes lashed 28 from 20 balls at the end, but with 42 needed from three overs and the cream of the batting gone, the result looked obvious.
For the second successive match, Sri Lanka had to thank Russell Arnold, one of four members of their 2007 World Cup squad that lost to Australia in the final at the same venue.
At 38 for three, Sri Lanka were in need of a recovery and Arnold rescued them again by scoring 58 from 38 balls in an innings in which he exuded confidence from the beginning.
Arnold, later named Man-of-the-Match and Man-of-the-Tournament , joined captain Marvan Atapattu, another member of the 2007 World Cup party in adding 81 for the fourth wicket in a partnership in which the visitors benefitted from a few slices of luck.
Curtly Ambrose was unable to make the impact he did in previous matches although he was the only West Indian to concede less than eight runs an over.
At the start, Sanath Jayasuriya, a known power hitter and another 2007 World Cup returnee, was threatening to make light work of West Indies’ attack by rushing to 28 off 17 balls and it would have been a relief to West Indians when he hoisted a catch to deep mid-off from left-arm spinner Neil McGarrell’s first ball.
West Indies also brought off one or two fine pieces of fielding – none better than when Courtney Walsh ran out Aravinda deSilva with a throw from square-leg to the bowler’s end – but in the end, they could not deny Sri Lanka on the night.

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Nov 9, 2010

Sri Lanka Masters enter finals in Windies

Sri Lanka Masters led by Marvan Atapattu will meet West Indies Masters in the finals of CLOBI Cup Masters T20 cricket tournament at Kensington Oval Barbados.
Sri Lanka Masters beat the hosts West Indies by two runs in a thrilling final preliminary round match as both teams qualified for the final.
The Sunday night’s defeat was the first loss for the strong West Indies in the tournament. Playing at Kensington Oval, West Indies finished on 155 for six in pursuit of 158 for victory, after Sri Lanka had been sent in.
Despite the loss, West Indies still entered the final against the Sri Lankans at the same venue tonight.
Sherwin Campbell top-scored with 59 off 45 balls while Floyd Reifer stroked 54 from 45 balls, as they took the hosts to the brink of victory after a poor start to their run chase.
Openers Junior Murray (5) and Rawl Lewis (8) fell cheaply but Campbell and Reifer added 108 from 79 balls for the third wicket to rebuild the innings. While the right-handed Campbell counted six fours, the left-handed Reifer carved out three fours and two sixes.

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