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Saturday, October 26, 2019

Aussie PM greets Deepavali ~ also enters Cricket field carrying water !!

The festival of lights ‘Deepavali’ is around the corner – John Morrison has tweeted wishing Diwali celebrations !  .. in case you do not know, Scott John Morrison is the 30th  and current Prime Minister of Australia and Leader of the Liberal Party since August 2018. He previously served in the Cabinet from 2013 to 2018, including as Treasurer of Australia. Morrison was born in Sydney and studied economic geography at the University of New South Wales. He worked as Director of the New Zealand Office of Tourism and Sport and was Managing Director of Tourism Australia.   

With the T20 World Cup less than a year away, Sri Lanka believe this month's tour of Australia - where the World Cup will be held - will prove the ideal testing ground for their crop of youngsters to prove themselves in conditions Down Under. "I'm happy [that such a young team] managed to beat the number one team [Pakistan] in the world," T20I captain Lasith Malinga said at Friday's media briefing in Colombo. "It's important to show Sri Lanka's depth of talent. But the conditions and wickets [in Australia] will likely be different. "If we perform well in those conditions, then it will bode well for our preparations for the World Cup. And if you perform well on this tour, there will be a good chance of those players making it to the World Cup as well."

Sri Lanka will also be touring India for a T20I series before the World Cup, where conditions will be markedly different from those expected in Australia. For Malinga, while identifying form players is important, equally as important is identifying a set of players capable of making the right decisions under pressure.  "In T20 cricket it's important to understand that decisions need to be taken quickly on the field and it is  just as important as talent is a player's decision-making in matches, the way a player thinks in the middle of a game. So we're looking for intelligent players capable of winning a game. "We need around 11-12 players of this calibre in our squad, and that way we can always have about six to seven at the very least in a game, players capable of winning matches in key moments," said Malinga.

From the new faces that were included in the squad that toured Pakistan, the selectors have retained the two standout performers in Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Oshada Fernando. Making their way back into the squad, meanwhile, have been Lasith Malinga, Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Janith Perera. For interim head coach Rumesh Ratnayake, the hope is that the returning players will make a winning combination even stronger. In terms of selecting the final playing XI, Chief Selector Ashantha De Mel admitted that it would be a challenge considering that some of the returning players hadn't played cricket in quite some time. Eventually, he said, form would be the deciding factor. Sri Lanka play Australia in three T20Is with the first game taking place in Adelaide on October 27.

Yesterday they played their first tour match at Canberra traditionally against Australian Prime Minister’s XI losing the match by a solitary wicket and with a ball to spare.  A sublime 79 from South Australia youngster Harry Nielsen and some last-over heroics from Fawad Ahmed allowed the Prime Minister's XI to squeeze home by one wicket with a ball to spare against a rusty Sri Lankan side in the T20 tour match in Canberra. Kasun Rajitha looked as though he had stolen the game when he dismissed Nielsen off the second ball of the final over with nine still needed for victory. Nielsen had batted magnificently to hold the chase of 132 together while his team-mates collapsed against a very skilful Sri Lankan attack. The home side had done their best to lose it after an impressive bowling display from the Sri Lankans. Pace and late swing from Rajitha and Nuwan Pradeep reduced the home side to 3 for 26 inside the first five overs.  Co-captains Christian and Peter Siddle were so confident the Sri Lankan tail would not wag they bowled spin in two of the last three overs of the innings. The home side also had the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison run out drinks at the fall of a wicket ! ~ what ?

In a rare occasion on a cricket field, Australia Prime Minister Scott Morrison acted as a water boy during that  practice game between the Prime Minister's XI and Sri Lanka at the Manuka Oval on Thursday.  Morrison was seen carrying drinks for the Prime Minister's XI and pictures of him doing the job has left the world pleasantly surprised. Meanwhile, Morrison also garnered a lot of respect in social media for his humbleness.

In India, a section of the media would have termed it ‘publicity stunt’!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Oct 2019.

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