Home / Sports/ SLCA launches fund to aid former cricketers

SLCA launches fund to aid former cricketers

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Thursday, 5 January 2017 00:11


  • Trust to have initial funds of Rs. 3.6 million
  • First beneficiaries to be Russell Hamer and A.J. Samarasekera
  • 1996 World Cup winning team to help raise funds

By Madushka Balasuriya

Sri Lankan Cricket well and truly arrived on the global cricketing stage in 1996 when just 15 years after being awarded Test status, they won the grandest prize in the sport, the World Cup. Since that monumental moment, cricket in the country has suffered its fair share of ups and downs, with several administrations arriving and disbanding, but on the whole the standard of the sport in the country has never looked back. 

The rise in the fortunes of Sri Lankan cricket has also meant that several of the cricketers plying their trade throughout the country since have been able to make a decent living off the sport they love. This however is only a recent phenomena, with several of those who paved the way for that unforgettable 1996 success never able to reap the financial dividends their hard work eventually bore.

One such name is Russell Hamer, who played first class cricket in the country from 1967 to 1978, and played Division 1 cricket for over two decades. Hamer, regarded by fellow professionals as one of the finest wicketkeepers ever to play the sport in Sri Lanka, was known for his affinity for keeping up to the stumps to fast bowlers and still retains the bruises on his shins to prove it.

Another is A.J. Samarasekera, a left-arm spinner who played first class cricket from 1986 to 1999 and was in the national pool up until the 1992 World Cup. Since his retirement from the sport, Samarasekera worked as a coach and umpire in domestic cricket.

Both Hamer and Samarasekera recently suffered strokes, and the subsequent medical and social costs placed an undue burden on both their families. However, on Tuesday evening, they were offered a helping hand by way of a donation from the newly formed Sri Lanka Cricketers Association (SLCA) Benevolent Fund. The Trust, which contains an initial Rs. 3.6 million by way of funds raised through various SLCA initiatives - most notably when the ‘96 World Cup Team toured Australia in October and November of last year - is being put in place by the SLCA and members of the ’96 WC winners to “assist past cricketers financially in times of a medical emergency or any other urgent need.”

“We as a group owe so much to the past cricketers who opened doors for all of us to play for our country. And I think it is our responsibility to ensure that past cricketers, if they are in need of help, we come together to support them,” said ‘96 World Cup winner and trustee Roshan Mahanama at the launch of the fund on Tuesday.


“And when we say past cricketers, people always think of the national cricketers. Don’t forget, I think in any era, for us to select a good 20-30 cricketers who end up playing for the country there would be another 300-400 cricketers.”

Alongside Mahanama the other appointed Trustees of the fund include his ’96 teammates Asanka Gurusinha and Pramodaya Wickremesinghe in addition to SLCA Ex Officio members - President Graeme Labrooy and Treasurer Priyantha Udayaratne. As per a press release, “Requests for support and financial assistance from the fund should be made through a member of the ‘96 World Cup Champion Team or a member of the SLCA. The Trustees will approve, allocate the sum and the SLCA will disburse the funds to the recipients within 48 hours of approval.”

“We will have to prioritise. If it is a medical matter we will have to look at it as a priority. Also at the moment we know we won’t be able to help everyone. It’s an uphill task. We need to build it up. That’s why we decided that we’ll start here now and get the ball rolling,” said Aravinda de Silva, also speaking at the launch.

De Silva added that while several details need to be sorted out such as online resources, internal audit mechanisms and steady streams of income, a three-year plan would be put in place to ensure the long-term sustainability of the fund.

“The idea is to find something where we can sustain this model and maybe we might have to raise some funds and do some proper investments where there is continuous revenue and use the resources with the ’96 squad and generate revenue on a regular basis. At the moment we need to put a long-term plan together and come up with a budget and set our targets,” he said.

Pix by Upul Abayasekera

Share This Article


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

The Brahmin footprint in Sri Lankan history

Saturday, 17 November 2018

It is generally said that there are no genuine “Sri Lankan” Brahmins in the island today, and that those Brahmins who officiate as priests in Hindu kovils (temples) are of Indian origin with close ties with Tamil Nadu.

Country paying for Sirisena’s childlike behaviour

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Many were surprised on 26 October to see former President Rajapaksa being appointed Prime Minister by the very man who defeated him a couple years ago, at a considerable risk to himself and to those who helped him win the election. Then events beca

The JR-MR effect

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Sri Lanka over the last few weeks has experienced a twin crisis. One is political provoked by its Constitution, and the other economic engendered by its politics. However, this crisis is the combined effect of two previous presidencies, those of J.R.

The fish that swallowed the whale

Friday, 16 November 2018

This is an easy-peasy, elementary effort of an ordinary citizen to comprehend the mad scramble for power among the political class. It is undertaken in the belief that the crisis we face is an opportunity to reject the family kleptocracy of Mahinda R

Columnists More