A historic little cricket match at Kilinochchi recently

Kushil Gunasekera

Kushil Kili 77 Michael Tissera hands over a prizeKushil Kili 01 Skandakumar (Chief Guest), David Cruse and Kushil during national anthems

Making history in the annals of local sports, a T20 over Cricket Match was held between Sri Lanka’s Northern and Eastern Province Combined Team vs Melbourne’s Ferntree Gully District Cricket Association & Australian Hellenic Federation Combined Cricket Team recently. The match was played at the Kilinochchi Central College playground.

The Kilinochchi Central College play ground was packed to capacity with school children, sports enthusiasts and the general public who had come in their numbers to witness this historic event. Having won the toss, the local team opted to bat first. Their strong batting line up ended up scoring 174 for six wickets at the end of the innings. A.L Nadeeshan’s knock of fifty was the main feature in their scorecard. Chasing the home team the visiting Australians were routed for a mere 104 runs in just 19 overs. Well executed bowling and excellent fielding by the local lads led to the downfall of the young Australians. It was a show of emerging young talent of the once war ravaged North and East.

During the match 84 school children of Kilinochchi were gifted brand new push bicycles by the Foundation of Goodness through a generous contribution by former national , Kumar Sangakkara. The North- East combined cricket team members were also donated a push bicycle making up a total of 100 bike-gifts.

It was a historic and a victorious moment not only for the young cricketers but also for the people of the North and East. This single event stands testimony, though having had to go through many hardships in life and almost losing all future hopes about a better future due to Terrorism and Violence, the enduring desire, unmatched courage and the mental robustness of the people of Sri Lanka to meet the challenges in life with a positive attitude of mind and their ability to be victorious at the end. It is also an indication to affirm that normalcy and peace has dawned on Sri Lanka and the people of the North and East are at last fortunate enough and privileged to join the mainstream society thus to live with dignity and pride. The victory over visiting young Australian Cricket Team is so significant that it led to inspire, encourage and to establish new hopes and dreams in the hearts and minds of many thousands of youths in the former conflict zone.

The transformation taking place today in the North and East and particularly in Kilinochchi is unprecedented. It was also a moment of joy and happiness for all the security forces personnel in Kilinochchi as well. It was the Military Troops, who did the impossible to rescue the people in Kilinochchi and elsewhere from the clutches of terrorists and now continued to do so silently all what is possible to help rebuild the life and society in North and East of Sri Lanka.

The military troops in Kilinochchi under the leadership of Kilinochchi Security Force Commander Major General Udaya Perera organized this colourful cricket match in association with the sincere assistance of Foundation of Goodness.

The event also send a strong message to the extremist elements, local and international, that youth in North and East are better-off without ethnic tensions, racial hatred and conflict. They are now seeking to live in a peaceful society. Depriving the rights of children is the most heinous crime that humankind can commit against its own. Destroying childhood permanently endangers the future prosperity of a society. Therefore all extremists, be they Sinhala or Tamil, Black, Brown or White, that hatred produces disharmony and separates people.

The North and East Combined Cricket team is a good example in following the footsteps of the Sri Lankan National Cricket Team to tell the world how best we could achieve National Consensuses and Harmony through sports. That both teams represents all the ethnicities in Sri Lanka is a point to note.

The presence of the Australians in Kilinochchi was an inspiration to all the courageous people in Kilinochchi because they brought recognition and pride to the society. It gives a clear indication to the world that Kilinochchi is open to all persons, be they local or international. It is now a safe and secure locality

Kushil Kili 32 Kushil Kili 55

Kushil Kili 24 Kushil and Major-General Udaya Perera

ALSO SEE http://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2013/07/07/bikes-for-life-and-cricket-towards-reconciliation-at-kilinochchi-via-fog/ WHERE a report from Skandakumar and a Note from Michael Tissera are reproduced

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