The life and profession of Asoka de SilvaBy Irfan Sait

Published: Wednesday, July 2, 2003, 18:23 [IST]
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The life and profession of Asoka de SilvaBy Irfan Sait

He revealed that for an umpire the game begins the day prior to the match as the umpires take charge of the ground. Thus, the umpire is not hesitant to make a decision even if it is the very first ball of the game.

Being an international player gives him the added advantage of understanding the nuances of the game and helps better reading of the situation. He also states that there is no compassion involved and he is standing there to conduct the game in true spirit and has to make correct decisions fearlessly. He feels the lack of this fearless conviction is stopping many former players from taking up umpiring.

The players' code of conduct and disciplinary measures have greatly helped the umpires in the smooth conduct of the game. He did not want to name any team that he thinks is the most difficult to handle. Anytime he thinks the players are going out of bound he reminds the captain of the game"s preamble.

Not only is Asoka de Silva a former player with 24 years of first class cricket behind him and an elite panel international umpire but also a curator and an eminent qualified cricket coach.

As a curator he is occupied with N C C - a picturesque lush green ground in the heart of Colombo city - where the Sri Lankan National Cricket Academy is located. He also conducts his Asoka de Silva 'School Of Cricket" at the same venue. He has eighty boys under him from age 7 years to 18 years. He has coached many prominent cricketers like Kaluwitharana, Russell Arnold and Sangakkara. He was the Sri Lankan 'A" team coach before the foreign coach came into vogue.

On the up and coming talent in Sri Lanka he feels left-arm spinner Ranjit Gamage and under-17 boy Mutalib are outstanding. He also feels Sri Lanka have a long way to go and should start preparing for the World Cup 2007.

Limited overs, he feels, is a game for the youngsters and Sri Lanka has to start looking for them. Though a tiny island, Sri Lanka has been able to produce some outstanding talent. For this Asoka compliments the Board for its excellent training, monitoring and follow up policy.

Also he stresses that the school timings are such that a child is free from 2 pm and has more than four hours at his disposal for training. Added to this is the nation"s passion for cricket that drives them to work hard and achieve. A Sri Lankan cricketer is well aware that if he misses out one season it is difficult for him as the competition is very stiff.

Asked about his family, he informed that he is a proud father of three sports loving children. The second and third are twins. Wife enjoys a high post at Standard Chartered Bank. He is delighted that after a long time he had a three- month break which he wanted to spend with his family.

Before he got busy coaching a group of spinners he said his dream was a drug free world. May his dream come true!

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