By David Ebert
- Team sponsor Dialog replaces four-time event sponsor CEAT
- Event to be bigger and better with new partners: SLC
Sri Lanka Cricket’s annual cricket awards will kick off in September with a promised new look, more pomp and pageantry, and will sport a new sponsor as well. The country’s leading mobile communication operator Dialog Axiata, the sponsor of the national cricket team, recently signed an additional four-year deal worth Rs. 10 million per year plus taxes to sponsor the awards.
Dialog replaced long time sponsor CEAT, who had reportedly failed to confirm its sponsorship for this year’s event within the stipulated 15-day period following the 2012 awards. This was reportedly due to SLC pushing for an increase in the annual cost of the sponsorship from the Rs. 6 million paid by CEAT for the 2012 edition of the awards to Rs. 8 million, due to the high costs involved with hosting the event. The agreement was hence discontinued by the administration due to a lack of response from the Indian tyre giant, prompting fresh bids to be called for.
Held on an annual basis and organised jointly by Sri Lanka Cricket and the Players’ Association, with over 60 award categories in all formats up for grabs, the Sri Lanka Cricket Awards is the administration’s most glamorous annual event that looks to felicitate the contributions made by both junior and senior men’s and women’s players towards the overall performance of the national sides.
Dialog Axiata PLC Group Chief Marketing Officer Amali Nanayakkara speaking at the event reiterated Dialog’s commitment to Sri Lanka Cricket not only in terms of being the team sponsor but promised to continue to support the development of the sport in any way that gave encouragement to the country’s present and future cricketers. “We at Dialog as the proud sponsors of the National Cricket team, Our Lions Our Pride are glad to be part of the 2013 Sri Lanka Cricket Awards which recognises and rewards cricketers who played a pivotal role to secure memorable victories for their respective clubs and Sri Lanka.”
Nanayakkara added that as Sri Lanka’s largest mobile service provider Dialog understands the importance of the Dialog Sri Lanka Cricket Awards in recognising the achievements of the cricketers and giving them the confidence to better themselves through an event such as this.
“This year’s cricket awards will be a momentous event to say the least attended by all our national cricket stars and promises to be a night of glamour where the true Lions who roar on behalf of Cricket in Sri Lanka are given their due recognition. Our patronage of this event underlines our commitment to an iconic sport such as cricket which is truly a rallying point for the nation as a whole.”
Sri Lanka Cricket Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga addressing the event said that with the new sponsorship agreement signed with Dialog, this year’s awards would be held in a more impressive manner and on a larger scale than before. He thanked Dialog for taking the initiative in stepping forward to partner with the administration in felicitating the performances of Sri Lanka’s national men’s and women’s cricketers as well as the country’s next generation of sportsmen and women.
Last year’s glittering awards ceremony saw Kumar Sangakkara carry away three of the top awards: ‘CEAT Peoples Player of the Year’, ‘Best Test Batsman’ and for the third consecutive year, ‘Cricketer of the Year’. Other winners last year included Mahela Jayawardene (Best ODI Batsman), Lasith Malinga (Best ODI Bowler), Tillekeratne Dilshan (Best ODI All-rounder), Rangana Herath (Best Test Bowler) and Sri Lanka vice captain Dinesh Chandimal winning an award for ‘Emerging Cricketer’. The top women cricketers felicitated last year were Chamari Atapattu (Best Batswoman), Sherina Ravikumar (Best Bowler) and Shashikala Siriwardena (Best All-rounder).