Courtesy of the Sunday Leader, 26 October 2014 … http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2014/10/26/murali-harmony-cup/
The Third Murali Harmony Cup, a reconciliation cricket tournament that promotes unity, goodwill, teamwork, the spirit of fair play and service to disadvantaged rural communities in post-war Sri Lanka will be held from 29 October – 5 November in Northern Sri Lanka. Championed by legends of Sri Lankan cricket Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, and handled by the Foundation of Goodness and Red Dot Tours, the Murali Cup unites both local and international cricketing counterparts to galvanise outstation schools’ cricket development in Sri Lanka.
The tournament has been jointly organised by former Sri Lanka cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan’s charity the Foundation of Goodness, travel company Red Dot Tours and the Sri Lanka Army. The five-day event featuring U19 schoolboys and U23 women cricketers will be played at five grounds across Northern Sri Lanka in the towns of Jaffna, Oddusuddan, Mankulam and Kilinochchi. This year’s tournament, the third since the inaugural event in 2012, has been expanded to a total of 24 teams meaning a total of 360 cricketers, most from disadvantaged rural schools, will be participating.
“The greater number of schools and teams that are participating is testament to the success of the previous tournaments and also will foster the goals of integrating communities across the island,” said tournament founder Muralitharan. “As in my playing days there were no barriers to achieve success and this is one platform going beyond boundaries where that can be further consolidated to bring about togetherness.I wish all the participants the best and to enjoy the tournament in the spirit of the game, while hoping spectators too get to witness some memorable cricket.”
The tournament is funded exclusively by sponsorship and private donations with Australian OYOB and Lanka Graphite being the main sponsors of this year’s tournament. “It’s our pleasure and privilege to support the 2014 Murali Harmony Cup run by the Foundation of Goodness,” explained Jitto Arulampalam from OYOB.
“We are humbled by the achievements of a grassroots foundation that has inspired and changed the lives of many over the past decade through acts of love, passion and compassion,” he added. “We continue to applaud the vision of Muttiah Muralidharan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena, and Kushil Gunasekera to engage with the next generation of Sri Lanka to bring harmony and prosperity to the country.”
Other key sponsorship partners include MAS, Fortune, Tokyo Cement, Nation’s Trust, Coca-Cola, Kia Motors and Access. Sri Lankan cricket legends Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena have once again played a key role in helping this year’s tournament goes ahead.
“Having attended last year’s tournament it is uplifting to see how children from different parts of the country are brought together by sport and witness the positive spirit in which the game is played,” Sangakkara said.
Jayawardena added: “The participation of the 16 boy’s and eight girl’s teams including several combined teams will help develop the children’s ability to work with other people both on and off the pitch to help their communities and societies become better places. “
The two previous boy’s tournaments were both won by St Peter’s College who will start as one of the tournament favourites having been invited back to defend their crown. However, this year they will face stiff competition from island champions Richmond College from Galle, Ananda College from College and a traditionally strong Jaffna Combined Schools.
The U23 Ladies tournament will once again feature eight teams but this year all the matches will be staged in Mankulam with a 15-over per innings format that means three matches per day. This year the invitations for the Ladies teams focused on rural teams who need the exposure with teams invited from Kurunegala, Matale, Anuradhapura, Badulla, Nittambuwa, Seenigama and Polonnaruwa.
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