The Foundation of Goodness confirmed Tuesday that it is organising a Murali Harmony Cup Unity tour to the United Arab Emirates following an invitation from Kevin Pietersen’s KP24 Foundation. The Unity Squad includes exceptionally talented under 18 cricketers from different schools island-wide, including five boys from previously war-affected areas in the North and East. The young cricketers were invited to participate in the tour after their outstanding performances during the 2015 Murali Harmony Cup completed in October.
The Unity Squad, designed to showcase Sri Lanka’s cultural diversity while promoting nation-building and reconciliation, will depart for the UAE today on a 10-day tour. The 12-member squad will be captained by wicket-keeper batsman Nipun Haggalla from Ananda College.
The initiative is spearheaded by England legend Kevin Pietersen who has set-up a cricket academy based in Dubai to develop cricket worldwide. The flagship 24/7 project aims to unearth talent in some of the poorest communities from some of cricket’s greatest playing nations.Seven teams each from different countries will take part in a fully funded trip to Dubai where the players will gain unique access to the KP Academy.
A 7-day intensive training camp will culminate with a T20 World Cup style tournament played over the final 3 days of the 10-day tour. During this period a player will be identified from each country and be offered a very special Foundation Scholarship, fully supporting them in the next phase of their personal development back in their homeland.
This player will be flown back to Dubai the following year to assist with the delivery of the next intake of the 24/7 Project as a playing ambassador.
The Unity Squad:
Nipun Haggalla, Captain (Ananda College, WK/RHB), SK Kiritharan (Mannar & Vavuniya Combined Schools, RHB), Vishwa Dissanayake (Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala, LHB/LALS), Avishka Shehan (Trinco & Batti Combined Schools, RHB/RM), Dileepa Sandaruwan (Moneragala Combined Schools, RHB/OB), MMG Akalanka (Up Country Combined Schools, LHB/RF), Niroshan Benjamin (St John’s College Jaffna, RHB/RF), KK Kevin (Richmond College Galle, LHB/RLB), S Thasoban (Jaffna Combined Schools, RHB/OB), Bhanuka Pamuditha (P de S Kularatne College Ambalangoda, RHB/OB), Chanuka Asinsana (Debarawewa Central College,RHB/OB), Mugunthan Nithushan (Kilinochchi & Mullaitivu Combined Schools, LHB/OB)
Officials: Joel Fernando (Manager), Chaminda de Silva (Asst. Manager/Tour Co-ordinator), AS Nishanthan (Schools Representative).