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Spin-heavy Bangladesh to face upbeat Sri Lanka in 1st Test

Bangladesh are depending on their spin force led by veteran Abdur Razzaq to deliver the opening punch against Sri Lanka in the first of two Tests starting Wednesday.

Razzaq, 35, was the third spinner added to the squad for the match in Chittagong after skipper and star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was ruled out with a finger injury.

Uncapped left-arm orthodox spinner Sunzumul Islam and leg-spinner Tanbir Hayder are also part of the 16-man squad to be led by Mahmudullah Riyad.

Razzak, who played the last of his 12 Tests against West Indies in 2014, is determined to prove that the selectors made the right call.

"Shakib is the best player, not just in our team (but) he is also the best all-rounder in the world," Razzak told reporters in Chittagong.

"It's difficult to replace him because you need to pick a bowler and batsman in his place and still there is no guarantee that they will perform equally good.

"I will try to play my normal game without trying anything extraordinary," the left-arm spinner said.

Bangladesh have been a dominant home side after registering memorable Test wins against England and Australia in the 2016-17 season.

But their only Test win against Sri Lanka came in their landmark 100th Test in Colombo, when the visitors drew the two-match series 1-1.

Sri Lanka, led by Dinesh Chandimal, are upbeat after their recent triumph in the tri-series one-day international tournament. They beat Bangladesh in Dhaka on Saturday.

They will also seek inspiration from their 2-0 Test triumph over Pakistan in the UAE last year.

However, Sri Lanka also have a gap to fill after veteran all-rounder Angelo Mathews was ruled out of the first game due to injury.

Manager Asanka Gurusinha confirmed that the team would not seek a replacement for Mathews.

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have so far played 18 Tests against each other, with the islanders winning 15 of them.

Squads:

Bangladesh: Mahmudullah Riyad (capt), Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Mushfiqur Rahim, Imrul Kayes, Mominul Haque, Mosaddek Hossain, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Kamrul Islam, Mehedi Hasan, Rubel Hossain, Naeem Hasan, Sunzamul Islam, Tanbir Hayder, Abdur Razzak.

Sri Lanka: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Dimuth Karunaratne, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Roshen Silva, Rangana Herath, Suranga Lakmal, Dilruwan Perera, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dananjaya, Lahiru Gamage, Lahiru Kumara. (AFP)

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Hathurusingha savours new challenge with SL

Chandika Hathurusingha on Sunday welcomed the challenge of coaching a deflated Sri Lanka back to form after their worst year in international cricket, marked by humiliating defeats and few wins.

The freshly-appointed head coach took the bruised national side to Bangladesh over the weekend ahead of their first international series of the year.

Hathurusingha said Sri Lanka “have a lot to improve” but he was optimistic they could turn the corner after a dismal year of losses, leadership changes, injuries and scandal for the former World Cup winners.

SL Squad

 “I am excited to take up the challenge. I am excited with the talent and skills available with my team now,” Hathurusingha, 49, told reporters Sunday.

A tri-nation one-day international tournament starts Monday with a contest between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

Sri Lanka’s first match of the event is against Zimbabwe Wednesday, before they face Bangladesh two days later.

It is familiar ground for Hathurusingha, who quit as Bangladesh head coach in the middle of their disastrous tour of South Africa to return to his native Sri Lanka.

The islanders are licking their wounds after their worst performance since 1987. Sri Lanka won just five of their 29 ODIs, with injury and scandals also plaguing the side on and off the field.

Angelo Mathews stood down as captain in July amid the turmoil but just six months later was reappointed skipper for limited-overs cricket ahead of the 2019 World Cup. Sri Lanka were the final team to qualify for the tournament they won in 1996.

Hathurusingha resigned as Bangladesh coach in October after a largely successful stint helping the side claim several high-profile wins and reach seventh in the ODI rankings.

He ruled out being “emotionally attached” to his former side, but wished Bangladesh well in the tri-nation series.

“I worked with them closely and got to know them really well. At the same time, I want Sri Lanka to do well,” he said.

Mathews, 30, said he was pleased to return as skipper. “I never expected it, but I am looking forward to it,” he said.

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IPL heavyweight Malinga goes unsold

Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga, arguably the highest-profile overseas batsman and bowler in seasons past, went unsold on day one of the IPL 2018 auction in Bangalore. Gayle had set his base price at INR 2 crore (USD 312,500 approx) and Malinga at INR 1 crore (USD 156,000 approx), numbers that were breached several times in the sale of other players during the day. Gayle was eventually bought on day two of the auction.

Malinga aside, there were several high-profile fast bowlers who went unsold in the afternoon: Ishant Sharma, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell McClenaghan, Josh Hazlewood and Tim Southee. The No. 1 ranked Twenty20 bowler in the world, New Zealand leg-spinner Ish Sodhi, went unsold as well.

However, Sri Lankan Cricketers, Akila Dananjaya and Dushmantha Chameera have been selected to play at the 2018 India Premier League (IPL).

Akila Dananjaya was taken for Indian Rs. 5 million by Mumbai Indians and Dushmantha Chameera was also taken for Indian Rs. 5 million by Rajasthan Royals, at the selections, held on January 27 and 28.

However, Lasith Malinga and Thisara Perera were not sold at the auction but Chris Gayle was taken by Kings XI Punjab yesterday.

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Australia v England: Jason Roy hits record 180 in five-wicket victory

Jason Roy hit the highest one-day international score by an England player with a sublime 180 to help England beat Australia by five wickets in the first ODI at the MCG.

Roy surpassed Alex Hales' previous mark of 171 before the opener was caught late on as England eased to the highest successful run chase at Melbourne.

 Joe Root made 91 not out in a stand of 221 with Roy as England reached 308-5.

Aaron Finch's 107 saw the hosts post 304-8 after being put in to bat.

England started rapidly in reply, only to lose Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales in quick succession before Roy and Root rebuilt from 60-2 to dominate Australia's bowlers.

Despite the late dismissals of Roy, captain Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler, England calmly secured a 1-0 lead in the five-match series in an impressive start following the 4-0 defeat in the Ashes.

Source : BBC

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Caroline Wozniacki beats Simona Halep to win Australian Open and first major

The wait is over for Caroline Wozniacki.Wozniacki won her first grand slam title when the Dane beat Simona Halep 7-6 (7-2) 3-6 6-4 in an epic Australian Open final Saturday that featured the world's two highest ranked players.

Wozniacki will now replace Halep as the world No. 1 when the new rankings are released Monday, the first time she will have held the top spot since 2012. And she is the first Dane to capture a grand slam singles title.

The 27-year-old was so nearly out of the tournament in the second round, trailing 5-1 in a third set to Jana Fett and having to save a pair of match points.

Wozniacki trailed by a break deep in the third set, too, against Halep before claiming the final three games.

When Halep sent a backhand into the net on a first match point, Wozniacki flung her racket into the air and sunk to the court. There were tears of joy as she approached the net.

The players then exchanged a hug at the net, an indication of the fierce battle at Rod Laver Arena.

Source : CNN

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Uncapped Shehan Madushanka gets in, Chandimal and Mendis returns

Uncapped fast bowler Shehan Madushanka has been selected for the upcoming ODI Tri-series in Bangladesh. Test captain Dinesh Chandimal and attacking top order batsman Kusal Mendis also find a place in the ODI squad.

Angelo Mathews
Upul Tharanga
Danushka Gunathilaka
Kusal Mendis
Dinesh Chandimal
Kusal Janith Perera
Thisara Perera
Asela Gunaratne
Niroshan Dickwella
Suranga Lakmal
Nuwan Pradeep
Dushmantha Chameera
Shehan Madushanka
Akila Dananjaya
Lakshan Sandakan
Wanidu Hasaranga

The team is due to depart to Bangladesh on the 13th of January, 2018.

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SLC to offer domestic contracts to 103 players

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) will provide contracts to over 100 domestic cricket players with an investment of Rs. 85 million for the 2017/2018 season, a statement from SLC said.

Accordingly, 103 players who took part in the Major Tournament 2016/2017 has been listed to be given annual player contracts.

The players were selected on the following criteria.

20 first class players who had performed at the highest level during the last season, 23 players under the emerging category to encourage them to perform well in the domestic tournaments, 29 players from the under 19 age group category, 14 former national players and 17 other players, who have represented Sri Lanka in the recent past, but were left out of the national contracts, are among the players selected to be given new contracts for the year 2017/2018 season.

Apart from the above annual contacts given by Sri Lanka Cricket, all these players are entitled to normal financial assistance given by their respective clubs.

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Mathews to lead Sri Lanka in ODI, T20

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Tuesday reappointed all-rounder Angelo Mathews as their limited-overs captain after Thisara Perera led the team during their disastrous tour of India late last year.

Mathews, who returned to the job from which he had resigned six months ago, was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo, “When I stepped down I never thought of taking over the captaincy again.

With Chandika Hathurusingha taking over as head coach, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) wanted the limited-overs teams to progress under a new direction. As a consequence, Perera was sacked from the white-ball captaincy.

Although Chandimal was also in contention for the leadership role in ODIs and T20Is, his inability to seal a place in the team in the two formats seems to have gone against him. Subsequently, the pathway has ostensibly been cleared for Mathews to return to limited-overs captaincy for his second stint.

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Misinformation being spread about the National Olympic Committee: NOCSL

A disgruntled group of officials from the National Sports Federations is responsible for the recent one-sided misinformation being spread on the accountability of the National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka NOCSL says the Secretary of the NOCSL, Maxwell De Silva. According to him this group of persons in the face of certain defeat at the NOCSL elections scheduled for the February 23, has started a malicious campaign to bring discredit to the President, Secretary General and the Treasurer by accusing them of malpractices. “I wish to reject all these allegations as baseless, malicious and revengeful and taking this opportunity to submit the following facts for the benefit of the General Public and Sports lovers,” De Silva said.

 Further according to De Silva since Year 2007, NOCSL Annual Accounts have been audited by the Auditor General and six final Audit reports with opinion for the period from 2007 – 2012 have been released. “Despite having a few procedural lapses, NOCSL Annual accounts have been duly approved” he said adding that the copies of the reports have already been submitted to the Ministry of Sports. The draft Annual accounts for the years 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 are currently being examined by the Auditor General and final reports with opinion are expected shortly De Silva further added.

“I have no hesitation whatsoever in assuring all those who are concerned about the accountability , transparency and good governance that NOCSL accounts are absolutely clear except for a few administrative and procedural errors” he stressed adding that the allegations are deliberately designed to confuse the general public and bring discredit to the current top management of the NOCSL.

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Sri Lanka Cricket heading in the right direction: Thilanga Sumathipala

President of Sri Lanka Cricket Thilanga Sumathipala says Sri Lanka Cricket is in the right direction towards achieving the twin goals of sporting and financial success.

Addressing the employees of Sri Lanka Cricket, while commencing work for the year 2018 at the SLC, Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala said within two years of his election, he along with the SLC employees was able to turnaround Sri Lanka Cricket’s financial position from poor to strong.

“When we took over two years ago, SLC was indebted for a sum of Rs. 5 billion and we were in a quandary as to how we are going to turn around SLC, now, after two years, I am happy to say we are making profits”.

Mr. Sumathipala said, when he entered the fray, ICC has only allocated US$ 80 million for the members during its paying cycle, but with the efforts he made to strengthen the relationship with other members yielded a collaborative effort to increase it to US$ 120 million, thus raising the SLCs revenue drastically.

He says Sri Lanka Cricket is now financially stable with a steady flow of revenues coming from different sources, while the organization has ensured that financial accountability is maintained at every level, with prudent mechanisms put in place for monitoring.

Formation of an Asset Management Firm

Mr. Sumathipala said plans are underway to establish an asset management firm as a subsidiary of the Sri Lanka Cricket to better manage cash flows of SLC's major assets. He said, the money generated out of the SLC asset management operations will be utilized to finance the maintenance of SLC facilities across the country, which as of now incurs millions and is borne out by the revenues generated by the SLC.

 Development of the Game

According to Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala, SLC has taken several steps to ensure the development of the game. Among those steps are, decentralizing of powers to the District and Provincial Associations to run the game in their respective regions.

“When we took over, SLC was controlling 132 clubs, now we have brought them down to 24 and decentralized the power to provincial and district associations, thus giving them the decision making powers,” SLC President said.

He also said, steps were taken to bring in the age level cricket starting from under 15, 17, 19, 21 and 23, from both district and provincial level cricket under the direct supervision of the SLC to ensure that grassroots level cricket development stays in line with SLCs vision.

SLC President also said, steps were taken to enhance the knowledge level of local coaches by sending selected coaches for overseas training programs.

Player Focus

Mr. Sumathipala said, Sri Lanka Cricket has taken all the required steps to ensure that players of the national team are looked after well. He said, the introduction of a strong insurance cover for the national players, which is on par with any other international cricketer, introducing a performance based bonus system for players and providing contracts for 70 first class cricketers, apart from the contracts given for the national players are among the steps taken to ensure the sustainability of the players.

 

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Hathurusingha can’t do miracles, time for Sri Lanka to raise the bar: Thisara Perera

The tide of fortune has swung in opposite directions for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Sri Lanka, the winners of 1996 World Cup and for long a force to reckon with in limited-overs cricket, had a dismal 2017 where they lost 23 out of 29 matches. Bangladesh, on the other hand, emerged as a tough opposition with the team making it to the semi-finals of the ICC Champions Trophy in England.

And the things don’t seem to be changing for the sides in 2018 too. In the ongoing tri-nation series, which also features Zimbabwe, Bangladesh have won both their games while Sri Lanka have suffered defeats in their two games so far. The latest match of the series was played on Friday where Mashrafe Mortaza’s side thumped the Dinesh Chandimal-led Sri Lanka by 163 runs to register their biggest ODI win in terms of number of runs.

thisara perera

Thisara Perera feels Chandika Hathurusingha needs time and support from Sri Lanka players in order to make a difference.

The contrasting mood of the two camps was evident in the way their captains spoke after the match.

Thisara Perera defended the team’s newly appointed coach Chandika Hathurusingha, who recently held a special camp with the ODI squad besides making some changes in the team. Hathurusingha had earlier worked with Bangladesh and was considered instrumental in changing the fortune of the Tigers.

“Having Chandika Hathurusingha is a plus point for us, because he is one of the best coaches in the world. Previously I have worked with him in the Sri Lanka A team as well. But he needs time. No one can do miracles. I think it is time for the team to step up, with this new coach,” Perera was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo after the match.

Thisara underlined batting failure as the reason behind Sri Lanka’s loss and urged his team members to step up in the remaining games.

“This was definitely a 300-run wicket - our batting just didn’t click. When we look at the last match against Zimbabwe, we have a lot of positives to take from our batting, but in this match, we couldn’t execute our batting plans,” he said.

“No one can say when we will rise up. I have faith that we can go far with our new coach,” he said.

Shakib Al Hasan, on the other hand, had not much to worry and the all-rounder was mighty pleased with the performance of his team. He was also excited seeing a healthy competition among Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim and himself. On Friday, all three players slammed a fifty each to fashion Bangladesh’s huge win.

“Everyone has their own expectation but it is good for the team that three of us are competing against each other. Of course we don’t wish each other bad. But each of us is trying to score more runs than the other two and it is a good practice. The more we can do this it will give us more chance to score runs,” he said.

Shakib chose not to answer questions on the team’s former coach Hathurusingha who is now with Sri Lankan side. He, however, was all praise for the present support staff of the team.

“Those who do our planning, they have had a change in their mindset. We have had a change of coach, so the new person in charge has his own thinking. I won’t say we played without freedom in the past but now we are also playing freely. At the same time, we are also taking our own decisions. This is a big advantage for everyone to be involved. Khaled Mahmud, Sujon bhai and Richard Halsall know what we need; they have been providing and we have been utilizing it,” he said.

(Hindustan Times)

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Hathurusinghe named as selector on tour

Head coach of the national team Chandika Hathurusinghe has been assigned the role of selector on tour as part of a plan to give him more authority in team selections, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) President Thilanga Sumathipala said yesterday.

Sumathipala said that the SLC executive committee had adopted the move at the extraordinary general meeting.
Sri Lanka's sports law of 1973 however, does not permit the coach to be a national selector.

"He will be able to pick the final eleven while on tour with the manager of the team and the captain also acting as co-selectors," Sumathipala said.

However, the coach will not be able to serve in the national selection committee when the squads are picked.

With the new arrangements, Sumathipala said it would not be necessary for selectors to travel with the team.

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