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Sri Lankan netballers crowned as South Asian champs

Sri Lanka Netball team emerged champions at the inaugural South Asian under 16 Netball Championship concluded yesterday at the Army Sports Complex in Kathmandu, Nepal . In the final Sri Lankan team led by Nethmi Wijenayake defeated India 42/28 to take the South Asian crown.

In the final, the Lankan lasses played with more confidence from the first quarter. In the first quarter, both teams scored 8 points each but in the second and third quarters, the Sri Lankan team dominated with a clear lead of 16/4 and 11/8. However, Indians won the final quarter after a tough game 8/7 but that was not enough to get the championship in the inaugural tournament and Sri Lanka recorded a comprehensive victory by registering 42/28.

Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives and hosts Nepal took part in this tournament organised by the Nepal Netball Association.

Sri Lanka team coach Amalka Gunatilleka said this was a fine team effort by the Sri Lanka side.

"We had good confidence before this tournament to win the title. We were able to get good practice sessions and all players did their part very well thoughtout the tournament. Actually, this was a good exposure for the juniors and they are our future prospects," said coach Amalka Gunatilleka who is the head coach of Holy Family Convent Kurunegala which has produced top players in the school arena over the past couple of decades.

The champion team comprised three players from HFC Kurunegala, as well as two each from Musaeus College and Kalutara Balika as well as HFC Kalutara and one each from Girls High School Kandy and Presbyterian Girls School in Dehiwela.
Further, Hiruni Heshani was named as the Best Shooter, Nethmi Wijenayaka was named as the Best Player while Hiruni Jinali was named as the Best Player of the final.

The champion Sri Lanka under 16 team:
Netball

Nethmi Wijenayake - Captain (Musaeus College), Hiruni Heshani (Holy Family Convent, Kurunegala), Hiruni Jinali(Maliyadeva Balika Vidyalaya, Kurunegala), Maheesha Bandara (Girls High School, Kandy), Rishini Sewwandi (Holy Family Convent, Kurunegala), Randuli Rubasinghe (Musaeus College), Rashmi Anjalika (Presbyterian Girls’ School, Dehiwala), Ramdhi Gamage (Holy Family Convent, Kalutara), Krishmi Dinethya (Holy Family Convent, Kalutara), Senuthi Dilakna (Kalutara Balika Vidyalaya), Dishari Adeesha (Kalutara Balika Vidyalaya), Natasha Dias (Holy Family Convent, Kurunegala), Amalka Gunatilleka (Coach).

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SLC announce new selection committee

Sri Lanka's Minister of Sports Harin Fernando on Tuesday announced that three members will fucntion as national selectors for Sri Lanka Cricket for a year.

Accordingly, Fernando has named Asantha de Mel as the chairman of selectors along with Vinothen John and Chaminda Mendis.

Sri Lanka whitewashed Bangladesh 3-0 in the recently concluded ODI series.

Now the selection for the team against New Zealand Test series will be done by the newly formed selection committee.

Sri Lanka is scheduled play their first Test of the 'Test World Championship' against the visiting Kiwis in Colombo from August 14.

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Rugby WC 2019: Kiwi ref under attack for celebrating with Fijian player during game

New Zealand referee Ben O'Keeffe has come under fire across the ditch after alleged footage emerged of him celebrating a Fijian try in their opening Rugby World Cup defeat to Australia.

Fiji took a shock 21-12 lead over Australia early in the second half in Saturday's Pool D game before the Wallabies came storming back to win 39-21.

O'Keeffe was in charge of the match, his first at a World Cup, and Australia publication Fox Sports claims the Kiwi 'committed the cardinal sin' by giving a low five to a Fijian player after their second try to Waisea Nayacalevu.

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"Regardless of his intentions or the motivations behind the gesture, it just shouldn't happen," the Fox Sports story says.

 O'Keeffe is set to officiate France v USA on October 2 and Japan v Scotland October 13.

After the game Michael Chieka seemed less than impressed with O'Keeffe when it came to a number of calls on flanker David Pocock. The Wallabies veteran was pinged three times at the breakdown.

"The stuff on the ground, I'm not quite sure what's going on but the team of three were talking about David Pocock from the first minute of the game," Cheika said.

"I'm not sure what (Pocock's) done but there was some severe focus on him.

"I heard his name mentioned between them on the commentary at least half a dozen times in their own chat when he hadn't even been involved in the ruck."
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'Slinga' Malinga bids adieu as Sri Lanka crush Bangladesh

Lasith Malinga shone in his farewell match after Kusal Perera struck a quick-fire century as Sri Lanka crushed Bangladesh by 91 runs in the first one-day of a three-match series in Colombo on Friday.

Malinga rattled Bangladesh with his fiery opening spell, reducing the visitors to 39-4 in the process, without allowing them to recover from the damage despite the best efforts by Mushfiqur Rahim and Sabbir Rahman.

Mushfiqur made 67 while Sabbir added 60 as the duo shared an 111-run partnership for the fifth wicket but Bangladesh stuttered to 223 all out in 41.4 overs replying to Sri Lanka's 314-8.

Retiring Malinga claimed 3-38 while Nuwan Pradeep (3-51) and Dhananjaya de Silva (2-49) played their parts in the win.

"I feel it's the right time for me to retire from ODIs. I have been playing for the last 15 years for Sri Lanka and this is the right time to move on," Malinga, who finished his ODI career with 338 wickets, said after the game.

"My time is over and I have to go."

Perera struck 111 off 99 balls with 17 fours and a six, his fifth ODI century, to set up Sri Lanka's total after skipper Dimuth Karunaratne won the toss and elected to bat first.

Left-handed Perera put on 97 runs with Karunaratne for the second wicket before adding 100 with Kusal Mendis for the third wicket.

Shafiul Islam, who finished with 3-62 in his first match in three years, drew the first blood for Bangladesh when he had opener Avishka Fernando caught by Soumya Sarkar at slip for seven.

Perera was reprieved on 49 runs when the third umpire overturned a caught behind decision off Shafiul.

Part-time seamer Soumya ended the valiant knock of Perera as he was caught at short fine leg by Mustafizur Rahman.

Mendis, who was dropped on 28 by Mahmudullah Riyad off Soumya, fell to Rubel Hossain the next over after making 43 off 49 balls.

Mendis walked after a muted appeal for caught behind from wicketkeeper Mushfiqur and bowler Rubel.

Angelo Mathews took Sri Lanka's total past the 300-run mark with 48 off 52 balls.

Mustafizur dismissed Mathews before finishing with 2-75.

Malinga, who was unbeaten on six with the bat, hit the leg-stump of opener Tamim Iqbal in his fifth ball with a deadly yorker.

Tamim, who debuted as Bangladesh's 14th ODI captain, was unable to open his account and the team's other top-order batsmen did hardly any better.

Pradeep trapped one-down Mohammad Mithun leg-before for 10 and Malinga bowled out opener Soumya for 15 in the next over.

Kumara compounded Bangladesh's problem once he removed Mahmudullah for three.

De Silva ended the resistance of Sabbir, forcing him to give a catch at deep midwicket to leave Sri Lanka's victory all but a formality.

Malinga took the final wicket fittingly to end the brief entertainment by Mustafizur, who made 18 off 14 balls before being caught by Thisara Perera at mid-off

The second match will be held at the same ground on Sunday.

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ICC to review security arrangements ahead of Sri Lanka's tour of Pakistan

The International Cricket Council (ICC) will review security arrangements in Pakistan before the Sri Lanka series, Daily Jang reported on Sunday. 

The ICC will analyse the security plans before appointing neutral umpires and match referees.

It is pertinent to mention here that the ICC had not appointed neutral match officials when Zimbabwe visited Pakistan in 2015.

Instead, officials from both the countries had been tasked to oversee cricketing matters.

It remains to be seen whether the ICC would indirectly endorse the security arrangements in Pakistan by appointing neutral officials or let the PCB and Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) pick officials from within their own setups.

The Sri Lankan team is scheduled to play an ODI and a T20I series in Pakistan starting Sep 27.

The tour, however, has become doubtful over the past week since Sri Lankan authorities received intel of a possible terrorism attack on their team in Pakistan.

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Zimbabwe Cricket suspended over 'political interference'

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has suspended Zimbabwe for failing to ensure there is no government interference in its running of the sport.

ICC funding has been withdrawn and the country will be barred from participating at ICC events.

Zimbabwe are due to take part in a T20 World Cup qualifier in October.

"We must keep our sport free from political interference," said ICC chairman Shashank Manohar.

"What has happened in Zimbabwe is a serious breach of the ICC constitution and we cannot allow it to continue unchecked."

The ICC issued the punishment after the entire Zimbabwe Cricket Board was suspended by the government sports and recreation commission last month and replaced with an interim committee.

The ICC says it will review its decision at a board meeting in October.

Zimbabwe's Test status was suspended by the ICC in June 2004 after 15 players dropped out of the squad after the then captain Heath Streak was sacked.

They played eight Test matches in 2005 after the suspension was lifted, but would then not play another Test match until 2011.

They failed to qualify for this year's Cricket World Cup in England and Wales.

In March, former Zimbabwe Cricket director Enock Ikope was given a 10-year ban from the game after being found guilty of breaching three counts of the ICC's anti-corruption code.

His suspension followed a 20-year ban for Rajan Nayer, a former Zimbabwe cricket official, for attempted match-fixing in March 2018.

Meanwhile, the Croatia Cricket Federation and the Zambia Cricket Union have also been suspended for failing to meet ICC criteria while the Moroccan Royal Cricket Federation has been expelled for continuing to remain non-compliant.

The decisions were taken at the ICC annual conference in London.

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Kim Clijsters stuns Tennis world with comeback at age 36

Kim Clijsters, a former world No. 1, stunned the tennis world by announcing a comeback to the women’s WTA Tour next year at the age of 36.

Clijsters’ return was first announced by the WTA.

I don't really feel like I want to prove something," Clijsters told the WTA Insider Podcastin an exclusive interview on Thursday. "I think for me it's the challenge."

With a game built around superb all-court coverage, athleticism and power, Clijsters won three U.S. Open titles, one Australian Open championship and three season-ending WTA Finals. Clijsters, the daughter of the late Belgian soccer player Lei Clijsters, won 41 career titles, amassing over $24 million in prize money. She was inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2017.

Clijsters last played a competitive tennis match at the 2012 U.S. Open, when she was 29 years old. She will make her second comeback to women’s tennis as the mother of three children with her American husband, former basketball player Brian Lynch.

Her oldest daughter, Jada, was born in February 2008, during a 26-month break away from the Tour. In July 2009, Clijsters had a fairytale comeback, winning the U.S. Open that year in just her third tournament back to become the first mother to clinch a major since Australia’s Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon in 1980. Clijsters and Lynch welcomed a son, Jack, in 2013, followed by another son, Blake, in 2016.

Clijsters, who runs her own tennis academy in Belgium, worked as a tennis broadcaster and competed in Legends’ events during the slams in the past seven years, was one of the most popular players both on and off the court during her time on the women’s tour.
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Kim Clijsters and John McEnroe in action during a test event for Wimbledon's No. 1 court roof in May. (Photo: Dan Istitene/Getty Images)Getty Images


“Kim Clijsters ranks among the greats of the game and her return to the Tour is exciting news for the WTA family and tennis fans around the world,” Steve Simon, WTA chairman and chief executive officer, said in an emailed statement. “Driven by her love for the sport, this wonderful champion continues to inspire women and men in all walks of life – and she only adds to the compelling wealth of talent in women’s tennis. I wish Kim all the best in this next chapter of her playing career.”

In May, Clijsters took part in an exhibition event at Wimbledon to test its new roof over No. 1 Court. Afterwards, five-time Wimbledon winner Venus Williams told the crowd the Belgian "could be on Tour right now. The strokes are so clean and I am looking across and the net and I am like ‘Wow, what an amazing stroke production’...It’s unbelievable how she is moving and playing."

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Lara gets a doctorate

Former West Indies captain Brian Lara has been given an honorary doctorate by the DY Patil University in India.

The Doctor of Science from the University is for a “remarkable cricketing career and his impact on cricket in the West Indies and around the world at large.”

The honor was bestowed on him during a ceremony at the University campus in Navi Mumbai, India by the Chancellor Dr. Vijay Patil.

Lara was in India for World Cup broadcasting role for Star Sports.

In making the announcement on his Instagram page last week, Lara said, “I am honored! An Honorary Doctorate bestowed on me by the University. WOW.”

Lara, who is nicknamed “The Prince of Port of Spain,” has been widely acknowledged as one of the greatest batsmen of all time.

He was awarded Trinidad and Tobago’s highest national award, the Trinity Cross (later changed to the Order of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago) in 2013.

The legendary batsman holds the record for the highest individual score in first-class cricket, with 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston, England, in l994 and the record for the highest individual score in a Test innings after scoring 400 not out against England at Antigua in 2004.

Lara was appointed honorary member of the Order of Australia on Nov. 27, 2009.

On September 2012, he was inducted to the ICC’s Hall of Fame at the awards ceremony held in Colombo, Sri Lanka as a 2012-13 season inductee along with Australians Glen McGrath and former England women all-rounder Enid Bakewell.

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SLC directed to suspend Cricket Aid

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has been directed by the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) to suspend operations of ‘Cricket Aid’ until the Attorney General submits an audit report within two months.

The COPE yesterday recorded statements from Sri Lanka Cricket officials on alleged misappropriations and irregularities at SLC.

Issues related to alleged irregularities in Cricket Aid were earlier reported in the media.

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Pradeep's career best saves Sri Lanka the blushes

Lasith Malinga walked off a relieved man. These are, after all, not the best of days for his side. Having made his disappointment pretty clear, in a press conference, and on the field, he saw Sri Lanka bounce back to secure a 34-run win by DLS method over Afghanistan in Cardiff on Tuesday (June 4). Sri Lanka's bowlers saved the batsmen major blushes after they posted just 201. Rain intervened and reduced the clash to 41-overs-per-side, giving Afghanistan a revised target of 187 out of which they could only manage 152.

Sri Lanka, at one stage, lost 4 for 6 as Kusal Perera, the highest scorer in the game, saw the middle-order get wiped out by Mohammad Nabi. It all started with the tentativeness of Lahiru Thirimanne as Sri Lanka, horribly short on confidence, found a way to shoot themselves in the foot after putting it on Afghanistan's throat. Kusal Mendis and Angelo Mathews were both caught at first slip as Nabi's 22nd over read - dot, Wicket, 2, Wicket, dot, Wicket.

Sri Lanka had raced off the blocks after being asked to bat, managing 52 for no loss after five overs and then 79 after the powerplay with the openers going strong. Although Dimuth Karunaratne fell with the score on 92 in 13.1 overs, Perera continued with his assault to help Sri Lanka make steady progress and put Afghanistan under pressure. While the opening pacers were poor, Rashid Khan too found it hard to make an impact with no pressure on the batsmen.

But the fortunes turned quickly in favour of Afghanistan thanks to Nabi's inspired spell while more recklessness followed for Sri Lanka as Dhananjaya de Silva bagged a duck, Thisara Perera fell after scoring two while Isuru Udana also gifted his wicket away. Meanwhile, Afghanistan bowlers were inconsistent with their lines as well, conceding 35 extras - which included 22 wides and three no-balls - as Sri Lanka huffed and puffed their way past 200.

During the chase, Sri Lanka's bowlers found swing early on but weren't able to make optimum use of it. Hazratullah Zazai consistently plonked his right foot out of the way and swung across the line to give the team a fast start. But Mohammad Shahzad made a timid start and fell to Malinga after a 34-run opening stand.

And that's when Karunaratne's side made an exceptional comeback as Afghanistan lost their top five with just 57 on the board. While Malinga started the slide, Pradeep and Thisara dealt the knockout blows.

Pradeep dismissed Zazai and then nipped out Hashmatullah Shahidi. Zazai's wicket was also a moment of redemption for Thisara at a venue where his mistake cost his side a place in the 2017 Champions Trophy semifinal.

This time though he plucked a tough chance at deep fine-leg to give his side the much-needed boost. Nabi chopped one back off Thisara as Afghanistan nosedived further. If Sri Lanka lost their wickets to recklessness, Afghanistan's inability to bat on testing tracks was pretty apparent.

Gulbadin Naib and Najibullah Zadran scored 64 for the sixth wicket to revive the hopes but Pradeep struck again to produce his career-best. In consecutive overs he dismissed Naib and Rashid to put Sri Lanka back on top. Dawlat Zadran batted valiantly with a hamstring issue but Malinga too produced some magic, producing the perfect yorker to get rid of Dawlat. Najibullah tried to keep the team in the hunt with some big hits but an ill-timed mistake sealed Afghanistan's fate.

Brief scores: Sri Lanka 201 in 36.5 overs (Kusal Perera 78; Mohammad Nabi 4-30) beat Afghanistan 152 in 32.4 overs (Najibullah Zadran 43; Nuwan Pradeep 4-31) by 34 runs (DLS method).

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Financial deficiencies of SLC exposed

Certain financial deficiencies of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have been revealed amidst money pouring into the game in spite of the team's poor performance in recent international matches.

These deficiencies were disclosed after the financial statements for the year 2017/2018 were reviewed by the government audit.

The fixed assets register and certificates of physical verification of fixed assets for the year 2017 had not been made available to the Auditor General's department.

As such, the existence of fixed assets valued at Rs.4,249.70 million and the accuracy of their value could not be confirmed, audit inspectors said.

Contract agreements, letters of assumption of duties and dates of commencement of work and dates on which work should be completed, had not been made available for auditing purposes.

As such, the accuracy of the value of work-in-progress totalling Rs.240.99 million shown in the financial statements relating to the year under review could not be confirmed, they claimed.

SLC has failed to identify and settle the advances totaling Rs.5.85 million paid since the year 2013, it was reported.

Even though advances of Rs.58.27 million had been paid to cricket playing sports clubs during the period from the year 2008 to the year 2017 for playing matches, SLC had failed to settle and account those advances even by the end of the year under review.

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Mahela rejects SLC's World Cup offer

Mahela Jayawardene has stated that everything is done and dusted in Sri Lanka’s World Cup preparation and thus he declined SLC’s offer to be with the team during the World Cup. Jayawardene in the past produced plans to overhaul Sri Lanka's domestic system, only for those to be rejected by SLC.

Sri Lanka's sports minister and SLC's CEO invited Mahela Jayawardene to play a role in Sri Lanka's World Cup campaign but the former skipper declined the offer largely because he is disillusioned with Sri Lanka Cricket's general direction. Earlier in the past, Jayawardene produced plans to overhaul Sri Lanka's domestic cricket system, even before a committee featuring Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Aravinda de Silva made a detailed report on the Lankan cricket, but those proposals were rejected by SLC.

"I was [invited] but I have several other commitments. More than that, I didn't understand the role I am expected to play. There's no point in me getting involved tactically, or whatever if I don't have a say in the whole structure. The team is selected and everything is done and dusted. There is no room for me to come in and add something,” Jayawardene told Sunday Times.

"I am still happy to contribute in my little way with the management of the team, but nothing to do with the SLC. That's something I have told myself as well. I just don't have the appetite to come and work for anybody when I know that it's not the right place for me.

The anger in Jayawardene's part is mostly due to the fact that the structure was entirely ignored by the board, even though talented Lankan players are steadily moving out to England and Australia to play league cricket. Jayawardene strongly criticised that and said their efforts were in vain.

"We created a professional cricketing structure spending eight months. We offered to set it up for them but they rejected it. We did it because we don't want to lose our cricketers going to Australia and to league cricket in England. We need those experienced players in our system.

"There are some teams in our first class system where the average age is 25, which is sad. When we played, we had so many senior cricketers to guide us. Without them in our system, we cannot build a strong domestic cricket structure. And without doing that, there's no point in building stadiums."

In no uncertain words, Jayawardene criticised Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal's leadership who he believes could have been more responsible and their failures contributed to the rapid recent turnover of captains in the Sri Lanka side. Mathews was captain in all three formats when Jayawardene retired in 2015, but since then, Chandimal, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Chamara Kapugedara and - most-recently - Dimuth Karunaratne have held the reins.

"The only advice we gave Angelo was not to give in to cricket politics. He needs to be a stronger leader, to be with the players and do the right thing. But he gave in to cricket politics. He allowed other people to make decisions and did not stand up for his players. I am being honest. I have told him this as well and he accepts it. If he hadn't given in, we would probably not be in this situation today. Even if I see him today, that's the only complaint I will have against him," Jayawardene said.

"The number one rule in Sri Lanka is, if you are the captain, lead by example and do not allow any outsiders coming into that setup. That's the only way we ran the show and survived. It was unfortunate and it was not easy, either. You need to deal with a lot of unwanted elements. But if you are a strong character, that's something you have to do. I have nothing against him. He is a brilliant cricketer and a wonderful person but he did not handle this situation well. He should be the one who is leading this team at the World Cup. He had to give up because it was too much for him. But it was his fault.

"I think [Chandimal] was another victim of cricket politics. In the sense, he was another player like Angelo Mathews who was snared to elements behind the scene and went along with them rather than taking control of the team and being a strong leader."

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