English counties to play in Sri Lanka

English counties to play in Sri Lanka

Post by Tin T » Tue, 08 Apr 1997 04:00:00

             The Sunday Leader (Sri Lanka)                                

             April 06, 1997

             English counties to play in Sri Lanka

             by Errol Seneviratne

             Many English county cricket teams are showing interest in
             visiting Sri Lanka during the winter of 1998.

             These counties are now in the process of negotiating terms
             with local travel agents for 18 day tours of our island. These
             cricket tours would be under 20 county sides preparing for the
             season ahead. How well the counties plan the future of their
             cricket years ahead is indeed a lesson for our cricket
             administration to follow.

             The counties have stressed how important these tours would be
             to them, when picking their sides for the first class county
             season which lies ahead. The experience gained in a country
             like Sri Lanka would be invaluable. In the past Sri Lanka had
             two such tours, Sussex in 1995 and Durham in 1996, both at
             under 20 level. By such tours both countries stand to gain.
             Sri Lanka cricket needs tours of this nature to pit our
             youngsters against county under 20 sides as the experience
             gained would be of value to both countries.

             The counties showing interest are Derbyshire, Warwickshire and
             Leicestershire. During the recently concluded under 19 tests
             against India only three cricketers showed that they were
             ready to join the big guns of Sri Lanka cricket or be even put
             into a pool. Hemantha Boteju and outstanding all rounders
             Pradeep Hewage and K Sangakkara stood up to their Indian
             counterparts while the others had not much to offer. A great
             future lies before them if given the right encouragement.

             The Sri Lanka school cricket season has almost come to an end.
             S. Thomas' College, Mt. Lavinia ending the season on a high
             note that of unofficial schools cricket champions for 1997.

             The team has been duly rewarded with a tour to England this
             summer. What joy it would be to the players to make a tour of
             this nature. Thanks are due to those behind the scenes who
             made this tour a reality and brought honour to their school.

             The Thomians would play most of their games in and around
             Sussex the beautiful west county of England. The experience
             gained by them playing in an English summer and in its
             conditions, would be an added bonus to their cricketing image,
             for not many young cricketers in our country get this rare

             This year S. Thomas College was coached by Nihal Kodituwakku
             that diminutive opening batsman who may have been the smallest
             opener in world cricket at the time he played for Sri Lanka
             against the West Indies in the late 60s. I may be right, it
             was his sheer hard work and dedication that brought about this
             winning combination.

             Having witnessed the recent under 19 tests against India, our
             cupboard appears to be bare, unlike a few years ago when
             schools could boast of at least 3 to 4 players who would go on
             to play top class Div I cricket or even be tipped as future
             Sri Lanka players.

             The Board of Control for Cricket would have their hands full
             in trying to pick a national side come the year 2000 when most
             of our test players would have called it a day. We have to get
             down to proper planning and thinking regarding the future of
             our younger cricketers, who would have to be looked after and
             coached on the correct lines, as there is a big gap between
             school cricket and international cricket.

             A few years ago we had names like Duleep Mendis, Sidath
             Wettimuny and Arjuna Ranatunga to name a few, who walked into
             the national side while still in school. We do not possess any
             of these top quality players, so it's hard work from now on.

             A Sri Lanka cricket academy would be the most welcome school
             of thought right now, for if this scheme can get underway many
             of our future cricketers would stand to gain. Our cricket
             coaches are some of the best in the world. If the quality of
             our coaching is that good, then the production would be even