Adieu to Allan Felsinger | Daily News

Adieu to Allan Felsinger

Umpires are often taken for granted and hardly recognised for the great --and sometimes thankless-- service they render. We pay tribute to Allan Felsinger who’s passing is remembered with sadness.

As cricket umpire who sported the long white coat in the pre-Test era of the game here and did an outstanding job Allan was known for his impeccable judgement. The turf will surely lie lightly over him.

Felsinger played cricket for his school Carey College and on leaving school joined McClarens where he continued his cricket as an opening batsman.

Felsinger who loved the game later took to standing in the middle in school cricket where he did an efficient job and quickly graduated to standing in first class cricket in the country.

Felsinger loved umpiring and it was second religion to him. He did an efficient job and had the rules of the game and umpiring at his fingertips. He was respected for his honesty and would not rule out a batsman unless he was sure he was out.

He stood in a game against Pakistan prior to Sri Lanka gaining Test status and in a match at the Colombo Oval. I remember him having to warn Pakistani fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz because of his constant chattering and disturbing the concentration of the batsmen.

And Nawaz like all fast bowlers was temperamental and tied a handkerchief round his mouth to take a dig at Felsinger. It was all in good fun.

But Felsinger will always stay etched in my memory because he was the head umpire in the inter-school match between St. Benedict’s College and St.Peter’s College at Kotahena when I took a hat-trick in 1961.

While I lured David Heyn to be stumped by Ranjit Fernando and bowled Tyronne LeMercier round his legs, it was Felsinger who raised his finger to rule Aditiya de Silva LBW which signaled my hat-trick and ecstasy.

I will also remember him because he ruled me out LBW to Hong Kong paceman Carl Myert when I played for the Board President’s X1 under Michael Tissera at the CCC in 1972.

Allan’s brother Herbie who also represented Carey College later played for Moors Sports ` Club in Sara Trophy cricket and was involved in record opening stand of 351 with former Sri Lanka opener Makin Saliah.

He too was an umpire and stood in the historical Inaugural Test against England at the Colombo Oval after Sri Lanka obtained Test status in 1982.

Reemerging Aussies

It was amazing to watch the reemergence of Australian cricket in recent times. After the loss of their greats who brought honour to the game and country hung up their cricketing gear, their game dropped alarmingly.

Then to add salt to injury, came to the ball tampering ignominy that saw regular captain Steve Smith and vice captain David Warner and opening batsman Bancroft banned from the game. Smith and Warner for one year and Bancroft a lesser sentence.

While Steve Smith had the Test captaincy bestowed on him and he did not taste much success, the Australian selectors turned to the big -hitting opening batsman the big made Aaron Finch to resurrect their one-day fortunes what with Cup of all Cups, the 2019 World Cup drawing near.

It was no walk in the park for Finch to show the way for them to regain lost prestige and glory. But Finch has made the Indians and the Pakistanis feel his stinging pinch with amazing performances.

Finch with clever leadership and admirable example first brought the much-hyped Indians down to their knees, by rallying to win the five match one-day series 3-2 in India after losing the first two games.

Then winging their way to the desert, they buried the Pakistanis thrashing them 5-zero which was magnificent, satisfying and raising their hopes and chances of retaining the World Cup they won in New Zealand and Australia last time around.

With Finch and Glen Maxwell in rollicking form with the bats, the other batsmen rallied around them and contributed to match winning or chasing to win totals which were stunning.

Former captain Smith and Warner have got the feeling after a 12—month suspension and playing in the IPL and staking claims to be included in the 2019 World Cup squad the selectors will be hard pressed and will have a heartbreaking job as to whom to leave out of this match winning combination. It will be a pity on those left out, but that is how the game goes.

In the past in addition to their cricket stunning the cricket world with their expertise in the game which they ruled as kings for nearly a decade, their coaches too were in great demand with other Test playing countries keen to play the Australian style of cricket which was mesmerizing.

But it is said that all good things must come to an end. And it was no different with their cricket. During the transitional period of their cricket, which all teams go through at some stage or the other, they became easy beats which would have been galling to the cricketers, the administrators and the legion of fans.

Then with Stephen Smith taking over the onerous duties as captain from Ricky Ponting, and when their cricket seemed to be snail pacing to regain their lost glory, calamity struck with the unsporting ball tampering which was also called ‘sandpaper gate’ unfolding in South Africa.

That moment of madness was inexplicable and unacceptable and earned the rightful condemnation from all sporting circles. It was a sad indictment and a black mark on the Baggy Green caps of their cricketers past who would have been turning in their graves and the present.

But now that Finch and his squads to India and the desert having made their cricket a team to be feared, it will be interesting to watch how their selectors go what with more cricketers to be considered, especially Mitchell Starc and Jos Hazlewood. One thing is certain and that is that Aaron Finch will not be brought down.

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