Teams look for fair umpiring

Elmo Rodrigopulle

20 August 1998

England will have the advantage of the wicket and conditions when they meet Sri Lanka in the final of the Emirates sponsored one-day tournament at the headquarters of cricket Lord's today.

We say this because the England pacemen Darren Gough, Peter Martin, Alan Mullaly and Ian Austin will use the wicket and the conditions cleverly to seam and swing the ball around much to the discomfort of the Sri Lankan batsmen.

The ability of the home team pacemen to do this was amply demonstrated in the first game between the two countries where England went on to beat the Sri Lankans by 36 runs at Trent Bridge and also against the Proteas.

In this aspect the Lankan pacemen Wickremasinghe, Perera and Hathurusinghe are far behind the English pacies. But if they forget pace and bowl line and length and look for seam and swing then there is no reason why they should not bowl like their opponents or even better.

With the English batsmen showing a dislike for spin bowling there is the possibility of skipper Ranatunga calling on leg spinning allrounder Upul Chandana in place of the out of form Hathurusinghe.

In a final where there is no second chance we would also like to see the return of Hashan Tillekeratne. Tillekeratne's presence will certainly strengthen the fielding that was sloppy in the previous game.

However what is required of the Lankan pacemen and spinners is to bowl wicket to wicket or on one side of the wicket and make the England batsmen work for their runs.

When it comes to comparing the batting of the respective sides, Sri Lanka have the edge in that their batting runs up to around number ten whereas the Englishmen can bat up to only number six, with the bowlers Gough, Martin, Austin, Mullaly and Croft having contributed nothing so far.

In their first game against Sri Lanka, England lost their last 7 wickets for 24 runs in 35 deliveries. Against South Africa they lost their last 6 wickets for 60 runs which certainly must be worrying their selectors.

The Sri Lankans will certainly be looking to cash on, on this weakness of the opponents.

If the Sri Lankans are blessed with the sun shining on their backs, then a rousing final is on the cards and the full house that is expected to pack the Lord's cricket ground will be provided with the exciting and rousing cricket that a final of this nature is expected to provide.

But the most important factor that the teams will be anxiously looking for is fair umpiring. We have reiterated that umpiring is a most unpleasant job. Many will be the critics but few will want to don the white coat. Umpires always strive to do a job to the best of their ability and to the best of standards. However mistakes are made which can be accepted if they are genuine. No umpire will want to be called a cheat. Cheating is not in their line of duty which is sacred. All that the teams will be looking for is a fair go.

It has been admitted that the umpiring in the Test series between England and South Africa (including the neutral umpires) left much to be desired. We hope that this is only a bad dream and the time will not come when every decision will be put to the third umpire. If that happens cricket as a gentleman's game will be no more. Kitchen as a result chickened out.

The Sri Lankans did their mathematics to perfection when at one stage they knew that it was not possible to beat England and enter the final. They realised that even if they lost to England that if they bettered their nett run rate they were in with a chance. And how cleverly they did it.

For this credit goes to the tour management and every member of the team. This has also been achieved because of the excellent team spirit that is now prevailing in the team.

Cricket as we have always said is not only played with bat and ball.

By now the Lankans would have got their act together and if they perform as we know they can and as they proved against South Africa, we see no reason why they should not hold aloft the Emirates trophy and pocket the big money on offer at the end of the game!

Source: The Daily News

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Date-stamped : 20 Aug1998 - 10:25