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Match referee's double standards and the lack of crowd support.

The Seeing Eye-Sightscreens Unlimited for Lankaweb

The 2001 English tour of Sri Lanka might as well go down in the history book as one where a certain match referee by the name of Hanumant Singh in a trigger happy display of partisan ajudicating together with dim witted umpiring and equally partisan British commentators whose indiscreet commentating contributed together with a generally disgruntled English Squad well versed in gamesmanship, towards the disintegration of the normal order of things in what is supposed to be the gentlemen's game, a rather sad end to what may have been a great series.In the midst of all this chaos,it must also be recognised that there were gracious gentlemanly gestures on the part of certain members of the English squad especially by Graeme Thorpe and a few others who stood out with their display of decorum.As Sri Lankans we salute this minority.

The words partisan and bias comes to mind at the harshness of the penalties imposed on Sanatha Jayasuriya,Kumar Sangakkara and Muttiah Muralitharan when the antics of Gough,Caddick,Croft and to a lesser degree even Nasser Hussain were overlooked with what the British Press terms 'reprimands' when they too deserved to be penalised,some, for their indiscretions and misconduct and certain others ,for shooting their mouths off to the press!.The token penalty to Hick was nothing but token!

All in all this tour is best forgotten, especially the ill gotten paltry Test victories by England where the only convincing victory was the Innings Win by Sri Lanka now on the verge of a whitewash in the limited over games and in retrospect had the umpiring been of a better quality the results of all the games undoubtedly would have been a foregone conclusion in favour of Sri Lanka.

Dav Whatmore the Sri Lankan Coach made an interesting comment in his summation of the Tests,where he said that crowd support was a key factor in the losses and quite rightly so as the team spurred on by a supportive crowd is normally one fired by the enthusiasm to win and apparently the British Supporters seemed more focussed on encouraging their 'champions, So what was it with the Lankan Throng that failed to urge their favourites to bring home the bacon on home turf? Answers we may never find, though food for thought!.

Finally, with all the international accolades to Aravinda de Siva, those of the British Press being foremost,this magnificient cricketer to whom Sri Lankan Cricket owes so much,sadly seems to have recieved 'the short end of the stick' in as far as recognition, gratitude and respect goes in towards support in maintaining the continuity of his career which he richly deserves and despite his recent,most elegant century instrumental in the super Sri Lankan Test win, it is hard to percieve the logic of being pre-empted and over looked for the likes of Indika de Saram and other young ones who could very well bide their time, for a player of his stature and calibre, though no fault of theirs.

Incidentally it may be worthy of mention that in the past,greats such as Ravi Ratnayake, Roshan Mahanama, Asanka Gurusinghe and even Arjuna Ranatunga to a degree had a taste of this indifference by the peers and one ponders upon this attitude and the influences it may have had on their premature retirements!Some deem it as a necessity in favour of team building for the future, and in the case of Ara is it really justifiable? !!!

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