Cricket balls, donated by Sri Lanka Cricket’s UK committee were distributed amongst 134 schools playing division one, two and three at a ceremony held at the Khettarama Stadium under the patronage of Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena on 8 April.
Sri Lanka Cricket UK Committee, Secretary Ajith Dandeniya and Committee Member Deepal Ahangama participate in the presentation.
The need for such a worthwhile donation to contribute to developing the “Cradle of Cricket” at School level was due to a significant lack of cricket balls among the outstation school cricket teams to play two-day matches.
Therefore with the cooperation of Sri Lanka Cricket, the UK committee brought about the donation in order to enable the scheduled fixtures to continue unhindered.
It had taken the Chairman of the SLC UK Committee, Asitha Jayaweera, a former Sri Lanka Schools captain & his committee, many months to source and had the balls trialled in Sri Lanka by SLC’s coaching staff to ensure that they met the highest quality to last at least 60 overs.
The money was raised by the SLC UK Committee, consisting of its Chairman Asitha Jayaweera, Secretary Ajith Dandeniya, Deepal Ahangama, Upali de Soysa and Faleel Marikkar, who together with other members of the dance committee worked tirelessly during the Sri Lanka National team’s last tour of the UK when they held a very successful dinner dance in London in honour of the Sri Lanka cricketers to raise funds for the development of schools cricket in Sri Lanka.
Ajith Dandeniya, speaking to the media stated: “The SLC UK Committee at present is making arrangements to send training aids requested by the National Coaching Department that would help develop cricket skills and enable our youngsters to compete at the highest level in the future”.
“The SLC UK Elite Cricket Scholarship scheme run by the UK Committee has helped a number of our young cricketers who have gone on to play for the National side, including the current National captain Angelo Mathews, Dammika Prasad, Upul Tharanga, Farveez Maharoof and Kosala Kulasekera.
The scholarship, enables a talented schoolboy cricketer who’s got the potential to play for Sri Lanka, to spend a season of cricket playing in England, where under Asitha Jayaweera’s guidance they have been able to develop not only their cricketing skills but also develop as individuals who have grown in confidence during their stay in the UK. This has held them in good stead particularly when touring the UK with the national side,” Dandeniya explained.
“The UK Committee would like to thank the hundreds of Sri Lanka cricket supporters whose generosity has enabled these donations to be made for the development of cricket in Sri Lanka.” Dandeniya concluded.