The irresponsible decision making with overnight policy amendments that has bungled the smooth operations of a century old school cricket structure saw one of its terrible consequences produced yesterday when Sri Lanka Under-19 were routed by India Under-19 in the Tri Nation Limited over match played at NCC Ground.
Having being beaten by both visiting teams in previous outings, Sri Lanka`s last hopes of finding a final berth evaporated under overcast conditions when India restricted the hosts to a paltry 87 runs to earn a massive 161 runs victory.
Having only two recognised batsmen, namely Lahiru Thirimanne and Ashan Priyanjana to hold batting together with all-rounder Umesh Karunaratne, out of form according to the team management and injured Roshane Silva being reduced to the bench, Sri Lanka`s chances of earning some respect in the decisive encounter looked rather remote when they started to chase a doggedly made 248 by the Indians.
Sri Lanka offered their first wicket to a run out (Lokuge) and P. Sangwan got Ashan Priyanjana leg before wicket for 1 run to place Sri Lanka shaking at 2 for 19 runs. Then some terrific fielding at gully by an acrobatic Viraj Kohli gave India two quick wickets. Kohli leaped up to grab a fine one handed catch off the bowling of Khadiwale to get rid of Thirimanne (11) who was looking good.
Then he dived to his left to snatch a hard hit stroke of Kusal Janith off the bowling of Amanpreet Singh.
By the 14th over, India had accounted for the first five wickets and the scoreboard read a pathetic 33 for 5. After some resistance from Ishan Jayaratne and Thisara Perera Sri Lanka were bowled out for 87 runs.
Sri Lanka`s score card mirrored the pathetic state that junior cricket is currently in. And with the ICC Youth World Cup just six months away it also questions the country`s preparation for the mega event.
Overnight policy amendments to please Politicians and Authorities governing the game had paved the way for current state of affairs in junior cricket and ironically the Ministry of Education had reverted one of such policy changes on the eve of this crucial match.
It was just two years ago that the same Ministry, under the influence of a politician, changed the age limit of the first xi cricket from Under-19 to Under-20 and today when the age limit had been reverted to Under-19 the damage had been already done.
When all junior international cricket events were conducted under the age category of 19, Sri Lanka opted for Under-20 with a view of providing over aged players opportunities to play cricket. But today it had resulted in only giving experience to over aged but not to those who are preparing to represent Sri Lanka in the up coming Youth World Cup.
It is high time the authorities look seriously at the prevailing conditions and take some drastic decisions to put things in order.
S. Goswami ct Janith b Jayampathi 07
H. Khadiwale b T. Perera 14
M. Pandey ct Udayanga b Jayaratne 10
T. Srivastava ct Lokuge b Kern 15
V. Kohli ct Lokuge b Jayaratne 32
S. Tiwari b Pathirana 63
R. Jadeja ct Janith b Jayaratne 00
Iqbal Abdullah not out 49
P. Sangwan c Kern b T. Perera 26
GVS Prasad b Jayaratne 01
A. Singh ct Janith b Jayaratne 01
Extras (20w, 5n, 5lb, 1b) 31
Total (all out in 49.1 overs) 248
Fall of wickets 1-26, 2-26, 3-42, 4-74, 5-108, 6-108, 7-196, 8-240, 9-245
Bowling T. Perera 10-1-36-2(3w), Jayampathi10-0-43-1(8w), Jayaratne 9.1-0-50-5 (2w, 4n) Kern 6-0-42-1(6w), Pathirana 10-0-52-1(1w, 1n), Udayanga 4-0-19-0
Sri Lanka Under-19
C. Lokuge run out 05
L. Thirimanne ct Kohli b Khadiwale 11
A. Priyanjana lbw Sangwan 01
K. Janith ct Kohli b Singh 07
I. Udayanga ct & b Prasad 08
A. Perera ct & b Singh 00
S. Pathirana ct Goswami b Singh 08
I. Jayaratne ct b Iqbal Abdulllah 17
T. Perera ct Tiwari b Prasad 16
R. Kern ct & b Prasad 00
C. Jayampathi not out 00
Extras (13w, 1lb) 14
Total (all out in 29.1 overs for) 87
Fall of wickets 1-15, 2-19, 3-24, 4-31, 5-33, 6-50, 7-50, 8-87, 9-87
Bowling: Khadiwale 5-0-22-01, Sangwan 6-1-12-1, Prasad 8-3-20-3, Singh 4-1-11-3, Jadeja 2-1-5-0, Iqbal Abdullah 4.1-1-16-1