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SLC UK Committee donates cricket balls to 134 schools

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Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena handing over the allocation of cricket balls to a schools representative. Sri Lanka Cricket UK Committee representatives Ajith Dandeniya (Secretary) and Deepal Ahangama (Committee Member) are also present at the occasion. Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena handing over the allocation of cricket balls to a schools representative. Sri Lanka Cricket UK Committee representatives Ajith Dandeniya (Secretary) and Deepal Ahangama (Committee Member) are also present at the occasion.

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 Kettarama Stadium under the patronage of the Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena.Representing Sri Lanka Cricket UK Committee, Ajith Dandeniya (Secretary) and Deepal Ahangama (Committee Member) also participated at the occasion.

The need for such a worthwhile donation to contribute to developing the “Cradle of Cricket” at school level was born by the fact that a significant number of schools in the outstations found that they did not have cricket balls that were suitable to play 2-day cricket. Therefore with the help of SLC, the UK committee felt that they could make a useful contribution in enabling scheduled fixtures to go ahead by making this donation.

It had taken the Chairman of the SLC UK Committee, Asitha Jayaweera, a former Sri Lanka Schools captain and 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 Asitha Jayaweera (Chairman), Ajith Dandeniya (Secretary), 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 that “SLC UK Committee at present are 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”. He further stated that the “SLC UK Elite Cricket Scholarship scheme” run by the UK Committee (brainchild of chairman Asitha Jayaweera) 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 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.Ajith concluded that “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”.

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