02 December 2018

Why Winds Behinds The Willows is a must read for all Cricket Fans

Like in any other sport, the worldwide fan following is the life-blood that passionately nourishes and sustains cricket. Though they happen to be the most important stakeholders of the game, by and large, cricket fans are a neglected lot, as well.

Don’t they deserve to be treated with greater respect and dignity?

About Me

Wannabe IPL/BBL/PSL/CPL player, couldn’t even reach SLPL standards. Ended up as a village cricketer and wrote Winds Behind The Willows.

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Will The Lions’ Roar Count?

A preview of Sri Lanka’s chances at the World T20 Cup 2021

Sri Lanka's T20I series win against a depleted Indian side at R Premadasa Stadium

Sri Lanka players celebrate the rare 2-1 T20I series win against a depleted Indian side at R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 29 July 2021. (© AP)

Come October and in the First Round of the World T20, Sri Lankans will lock horns with the Dutch, the Irish and Namibians in Group A. In Group B, the tussle would be between Bangladeshis, Scots, Papua New Guineans, and Omanis. The two top rungs in each group will proceed to the Super 12’s.

Plenty of off-field distractions, coupled with an inconsistent recent track-record; the outcome of their team’s best efforts in the tournament, may be akin to the suspense of an Alfred Hitchcock movie, in the minds of Sri Lankan fans, right now.

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The Ultimate Test

A battle-royal in skills, fitness, character and temperament

In a rare coincidence, the final of the inaugural World Test Championship will be played between India and New Zealand – skippered by Virat Kohli and Kane Williamson respectively – from 18th to 22nd June 2021 at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, England. (© Unknown)

Since the first official ball hit the deck one hundred and forty-four years ago, Test cricket continues to tease and tempt its followers worldwide, despite formidable challenges. The culmination of the historic first World Test Championship (WTC), an inventive measure (one wonders why it took so many generations to arrive), which smacks of “survival mode” is at hand. To rattle New Zealand’s stumps would be ardent Indian hopes in the tournament-decider, come 18th June at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

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England Closing In On Australia

Will it be a tall order for England to qualify for the World Test Championship final?

England’s captain Joe Root holds aloft the Wisden Trophy after England won the Test series 2-1 against the West Indies. (© AFP)

The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a spanner in the works of the ICC World Test Championship schedule and a few Test series have been already postponed this year. Nevertheless, England beat the West Indies 2-1 and Pakistan 1-0 in back-to-back three-match series, closing-in with Australia in the points table.

England are on 292 points, only four behind second-placed Australia, with whom they drew a five-match series 2-2. While England have completed four series, Australia have played three so far.

As mentioned in this column’s April issue, the dominance of Australia and India means that any series challenger for the top two positions would need to target around 500 points.

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Bart King

The only American Honorary Life Member of the MCC

John Barton King (1873 – 1965).

A few months after the 2015 World Cup, the MCC awarded the prestigious Honorary Life Membership of the club to the recently retired Mahela Jayawardena. Having captained Sri Lanka 183 times across all formats, he became the 15th Sri Lankan to be honoured, thus.

Elated with a favourite cricketer of mine winning yet another accolade, I shared the good news with a close friend and follower of the game, Dilan.

He joined in my joy, but seemed in a pensive mood.

When pressed, he came up with an unexpected subject and queried, ‘What do you know about American cricket?’

‘American what?’ I asked, surprised.Continue reading

Sir Garfield Sobers – Sri Lanka’s First Foreign Coach

Gary Sobers coaching Sri Lanka in the eighties

“When I came to coach [Sri Lanka] in 1982, I was told about a young kid. Then I went to the ground and saw him bat, and I was truly amazed about this boy’s talent. He is Arjuna Ranatunga” – Sir Garfield Sobers, photographed on his second stint as the coach in 1983, with Arjuna Ranatunga is seen in the background. (© Unknown)

The negotiation skills and political acumen of the late Gamini Dissanayake, back then a cabinet minister, helped achieve Sri Lanka’s much deserved and long-awaited quest for elevation to Full Member status of the ICC on 21 July 1981.

Dissanayake wearing two hats, also as the president of the country’s cricket board, then made some crucial moves to add value to Sri Lanka’s newfound Test status. He engaged the greatest all-rounder on record, Sir Garfield Sobers, to coach the Sri Lanka team.

“When I was in Australia, Gamini Dissanayake came over and said that he was going to England to apply for Test status. I was really excited,” Sir Gary later reminisced.

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Written in simple and concise language

Winds Behind The Willows: A Sri Lankan's life in love with cricket, by Ranjan Mellawa


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