The R.Premadasa International Stadium is a graveyard for bowlers. In 1997-98, Sri Lanka racked up the world’s highest Test total, scoring 952 for 6 declared against India. The highest partnership in Test cricket of 576 for the second wicket was established by Jayasuriya and Mahanama.
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The toss is crucial.
Since 2000, the team calling correctly has won 25 out of the 35 decided matches. Win the toss and bat first. Batting under lights has proved a bogey and tonight may be no different.
This World Cup shows that the cricketing landscape is like the Wild West and the ICC is trying to be like Wyatt Earp. Cricket administrators think you can just sink another oil well into cricket’s heart and the money will keep flowing.
The BCCI is behaving like the oil rich monarchs that give all its citizens a bonus of $3,000 to keep them compliant. Boards like Cricket Australia and the South African board are happy to share in the tripartite largesse.
The questions remain: how much of the extra revenue actually goes to the thousands of clubs that run the game for no pay?
The question of the Sheffield Shield remains a vexed potato.
The Centre of Excellence in Brisbane may not be living up to its name. Our coaches may be sending mixed signals to our young players.
Nothing happens in isolation but a lot is happening that may isolate Test and one-day cricket.
The rights for this 2011 WC were sold for two billion dollars to ESPN and it is hoped the bulk of this revenue will go to those that need it most. Countries like Afghanistan, Nepal, Ireland and Zimbabwe.
However, there must be caveats to the money and the disbursement must be subject to accountability. It would not make sense if it ended up in Mugabe’s pocket.
This World Cup is important and may go some way to restoring cricket’s credibility. Tendulkar is Indian cricket’s integrity pulse and the BCCI retains some respectability through his eminence.
Cricket in the sub-continent could do without expert comments from the likes of Mohammed Azzurudhin and Salman Butt. That these two are employed in any capacity with cricket is blight on the game.
It is inevitable that leeches will attach themselves to a World Cup that should be a celebration of all that is good in cricket. Ireland with their stirring victory over England has given meaning to the revolution and may they conquer more Goliaths.
Cricket has become elitist and is in danger of becoming irrelevant if it does not change tack. It cannot be run as a monopoly for the three or four.
It must be more inclusive and caring of those not so fortunate.
So join me at 7.30pm tonight and I look forward to discussing all of the above and sharing the game as it evolves.
It should be an interesting evening so make sure you put your party hats on and see if we cannot knock these pesky Sri Lankans off their favourite perch.