Captains to play mind games

By Sa'adi Thawfeeq

1 July 1998

Fickle weather conditions will force the captains of the three countries to play mind games when the third and final leg of matches in the Singer-Akai Nidahas trophy commences at the SSC grounds today.

A total washout at Galle of the three matches has left India, Sri Lanka and New Zealand with only the final leg to clinch their places for July 7 final.

The weather being what it is over the past fortnight, neither Sri Lanka nor India who play today are able to decide on their compositions without knowing to what length the match will go.

Sri Lanka will decide to stick to their original team if the game goes the distance, but may make a few alterations in the batting if it is limited to a shoot-out.

In the event of the latter happening, Sri Lanka may probably play the hard-hitting Avishka Gunawardana ahead of say Roshan Mahanama.

However, Sri Lanka's problems are not with the batting, but with their opening bowlers Pramodya Wickremasinghe and Suresh Perera.

Much attention and criticism has been directed at young Perera, who conceded 58 runs off 10 overs on his debut against India. However, Wickremasinghe, the senior and experienced bowler too has not lived up to expectations being hit for 71 runs without success off his 11 overs bowled in the tournament so far.

Sri Lanka's concern is, which fast bowler they are to play in today's game. The selection of the 14 for this tournament leaves a lot of room for contemplation. Many are of the view that Ravindra Pushpakumara or Mario Villavarayen would have been a better bet than the inexperienced Perera, who has yet to play a full season of Sara trophy cricket. Perera hails from the same club (SSC) as Wickremasinghe.

In the circumstances, Sri Lanka find themselves in a position they have to decide who will share the new ball with left-arm spinner Niroshan Bandaratilake.

India who are leading the standings with five points from four games don't have any such worries. They have a unit evenly balanced for the overs-limit game, and the only thing that may go against them is the weather, which with the reduction of overs, may favour the team winning the toss.

Another attempt made by the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka to ensure maximum play in the remaining matches failed, when their proposal to turn the rest day between matches into rain option days was not in agreement with the three teams.

The umpires for today's game are B.C. Cooray and I. Anandappa with W.A.U. Wickremasinghe as the TV umpire. The match referee is Cammie Smith of West Indies.

Source: The Daily News

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Date-stamped : 01 Jul1998 - 06:16