(AUGUST 2022)

Victor Meldor

Sri Lankan spinner Prabath Jayasuriya’s sensational start to international cricket has been capped off by winning the ICC Men’s Player of the Month award for July 2022. the ICC announced. Jayasuriya beat England batter and June’s Player of the Month winner Jonny Bairstow, and French sensation Gustav McKeon for the coveted monthly award, after a brilliant start to international cricket in the longest format. The 30-year-old was thrilled to have won the monthly award. “I am delighted with this announcement, and wish to thank the fans for voting me as the ICC Men’s Player of the Month,” Jayasuriya said. “Certainly it has been an incredible month for me, as I made the Test debut, and also got the opportunity to contribute for my team to level the Test series played against Australia and Pakistan. “I take this opportunity to thank my fans, team-mates, coaches, family and friends for helping my journey, and thrilled with what I am experiencing at this moment in my life.” Jayasuriya emerged as a new spin hero for Sri Lanka, having one of the most memorable debut Test matches. The spinner registered figures of 6/118 and 6/59 as Sri Lanka roared back against Australia in Galle to level the two-match Test series. His exploits helped the hosts beat the visitors by an innings and 39 runs. (Daily Mirror Online, 8.8.2022)

Australia’s men’s cricketers have donated their prizemoney from the recent tour of Sri Lanka to support children and families impacted by the nation’s worst economic crisis in decades. Led by captains Pat Cummins, who is a UNICEF Australia ambassador, and Aaron Finch, the team will donate A$45,000 to the organisation’s Sri Lanka appeal.Australia’s cricketers witnessed the crisis first-hand during their all-format tour in June-July this year, with long lines at petrol stations commonplace and the cries of thousands of peaceful protesters echoing around the Galle International Cricket Ground on day two of the second Test, with similar demonstrations in the capital of Colombo forcing the resignation of the country’s president and prime minster. The economic situation gripping the island nation has resulted in food prices skyrocketing by 80 per cent with more than two-thirds of households having reduced food consumption. School is limited to three days per week as travel for teachers and students is hindered by fuel shortages, queuing for medicines and fuel has become part of everyday life, health services are increasingly difficult to access, and clean drinking water is in short supply. The funds donated by Australia’s cricketers will go towards UNICEF’s programs to support nutrition, healthcare, safe drinking water, education, and mental health services for 1.7 million vulnerable Sri Lankan children in need. “It was very clear to us how much day-to-day life for Sri Lankans is being impacted,” Cummins said. “When the team saw what was happening it was an easy decision to donate our prize money to UNICEF, who have been in Sri Lanka for more than 50 years supporting the needs of children and families.” Finch said they felt warmly welcomed by the Sri Lankan people during the white-ball leg and hoped the tour “helped lift their spirits in some small way”. It’s not the first time the Australia side has been moved by events bigger than cricket during a tour, with Cummins and Cricket Australia both donating $50,000 for oxygen supplies during India’s COVID-19 crisis in 2021 that resulted in the postponement of the Indian Premier League. “Last year Australian cricketers got behind India in its time of crisis during the peak of the COVID-19 Delta wave and we thank them for again giving generously to help Sri Lankans impacted by the current crisis,” UNICEF Australia CEO Tony Stuart said. “Australia has a strong bond with Sri Lanka that goes beyond the match days and this donation is gratefully received to support the long-term wellbeing of Sri Lanka’s families.” The tour of Sri Lanka was Australia’s first since 2016 with the visitors winning the T20 series 2-1 before the hosts claimed the ODI series 3-2, with the two-Test series in Galle squared 1-
1. (Daily Mirror Online, 11.8.2022)

Sri Lankan fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera , who has been named in the 20-man Asia Cup squad, will miss the Asia Cup as he picked up a left leg injury during training. Due to this situation, Chameera will not participate in the Asia Cup match tour, Sri Lanka Cricket said today adding that, the selection committee has taken steps to add Nuwan Thushara, who bowls in a similar style to Lasith Malinga. Meanwhile, only 17 players from the 20-player squad named for the Asia Cup will leave for the tour on the 24th. Dinesh Chandimal, Nuvanindu Fernando and Nuvan Thushara have been included in the squad for the Asia Cup but they will not travel with the team as extras. Nuwan Thushara’s name has already been submitted to the Sports Ministry for the Sports Minister’s approval, the SLC said. (Colombo Page, 23.8.2022)

Sri Lanka host Pakistan for two Test matches in June next year in what will be their first series of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s Future Tours Programme (FTP) for the period 2023-27 that was confirmed today.The announcement of the FTP, a result of a collective effort of Full Members with ICC’s support, ensures certainty of cricket fixtures with the confirmation of all bilateral series across the three formats. The exact dates and venues of the series are for the Members to announce in due course. Sri Lanka, who have committed to playing all other Full Members during the FTP cycle, host Afghanistan for one Test and three T20Is next year while they have a packed mid-2024 that sees them play two Tests in England and two Tests at home against New Zealand, both part of the third edition of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) that runs from 2023-25. Sri Lanka host Australia in early 2025 for two Tests that will also be part of the third WTC while India visit Sri Lanka for a Test series in August 2026 for WTC series of the following cycle (2025-27), during which they also play in Pakistan three months later. WTC Series: Sri Lanka play Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan at home in the 2023-25 WTC while playing Australia, England and Pakistan away. In the 2025-27 WTC, they play Bangladesh, India and South Africa at home. They will play in Bangladesh, India and New Zealand in away series. The announcement of the Men’s FTP comes a day after the first ever Women’s FTP was announced. ICC GM of Cricket Wasim Khan said: “I’d like to thank our Members for the effort that has gone into creating this FTP for the next four years. We are incredibly lucky to have three vibrant formats of the game, with an outstanding programme of ICC global events and strong bilateral and domestic cricket and this FTP is designed to allow all cricket to flourish. Sri Lanka Cricket Chief Executive Officer Sri Lanka expressed satisfaction at his team’s fixtures in the new FTP. Sri Lanka CEO Ashley de Silva: said “Sri Lanka Cricket is extremely pleased with the new ICC FTP Cycle of 2023– 27, which has been carefully designed to cater to the exponential growth experienced in all-formats of the game. We are happy with the number of bilateral series that our team is scheduled to play during the upcoming cycle that will cover Test, ODI and T20I formats of the game.”The specialty of the FTP is that the majority of the Test matches are tied to the ICC World Test Championship, and this gives meaning for each tour, game, and member countries engaged in bilateral cricket.” (Daily News, 18.8.2022)
Sri Lanka could go without Dushmantha Chameera for the Asia Cup following an injury to the peroneal muscle in his left leg during a training session on Friday. Chameera was in the 20-man squad named for the six-nation tournament to be played in Dubai starting August 27, but with two weeks of rest recommended to the seamer, selectors are forced to look for an alternative. Nuwan Thushara is the likely replacement to Sri Lanka’s squad as cover and selection committee sources said it will be announced on Monday—two days prior to team’s travel to the UAE. Chameera, 30, has skipped red-ball cricket since March this year following medical advice to suspend the longer format until an operation is performed to sort out a longtime ankle niggle. However, he was cleared to play the two shorter formats, where the workload is manageable. Chameera is expected to go under the knife after the World T20 tournament in October. In addition to Chameera, Binura Fernando and Kasun Rajitha will also miss the Asia Cup due to injuries. Both were in the squad announced by the Minister of Sports, Roshan Ranasingha on Friday, but have been replaced by Asitha Fernando and Pramod Madushan. Selectors said that Fernando sustained a hamstring injury during the four-team SLC Invitational Tournament while Rajitha had injured his shoulder. Sri Lanka have announced a 20-man squad, three more than allowed. The trio of Pramod Madushan, Dinesh Chandimal and Nuwanidu Fernando will travel with them. With Chameera, Binura Fernando and Rajitha out, the seam attack will be led by the right-arm seamers Asitha Fernando and Chamika Karunaratne. Uncapped Dilshan Madushanka and Matheesha Pathirana have been included but are unlikely to make their debut. Teenage spinner Dunith Wellalage failed to make the cut, despite impressing during the Australian and Pakistan series as selectors have picked a four-man spin attack comprising Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffery Vandersay and Praveen Jayawickrema. The selectors have brought in Ashen Bandara but left out wicket-keeper batter Niroshan Dickwella. Bandara, who last played for Sri Lanka in July 2021 during India’s tour of Sri Lanka, has been in cracking form in recent domestic games. Batting at No.5, he hit 134 runs across four innings. A useful leg-spinner, he is one of the best fielders in the side. Dickwella’s exclusion is expected with Bhanuka Rajapaksa being groomed to be the reserve wicket-keeper in case of an injury to Kusal Mendis, who is the first choice. Dinesh Chandimal, though will struggle to earn a place in the 17-man squad has been picked as the third wicket-keeper in the side. Opener Dhanushka Gunathilaka has just one half-century in his last 15 games, but the selectors have kept faith in the senior batter. Sri Lanka is in Group ‘B’ alongside Bangladesh and Afghanistan. During the last tournament in 2018, Sri Lanka lost both their games to the same opponents and crashed out from the first round itself. The Asia Cup will begin on Saturday (27) with Sri Lanka playing Afghanistan in the tournament opener at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

Afghanistan thrashed Sri Lanka by 8 wickets to win the opening match of the Asia Cup Twenty20 Tournament, Group B, played at Dubai International cricket Stadium. Scores:
Sri Lanka – 105 in 19.4 Overs (Rajapaksa, Karunaratne 31, Farooqi 3/11, Nabi 2/14, Rahaman 2/24) Afghanistan – 10-6/2 in 10.1 Overs (Gurbaz 40, Zaza1 37no, de Silva 1/19)
Player of the Match: Fazalhaq Farooqi (Afghanistan)
T20 Debut: Dilshan Madushanka (Sri Lanka), Matheesha Pathirana (Sri Lanka, Ahsan Raza (Afghanistan) Match Points: Afghanistan 2, Sri Lanka 0

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