ICC backs tournament designed to promote peace and understanding in Sri Lanka
The International Cricket Council (ICC) as part of its commitment to the local community in Sri Lanka will be supporting the Murali Harmony Cup in the build-up to the ICC World Twenty20 2012.
Scheduled to commence on the 8th of September, the Murali Harmony Cup named after cricketing legend Muttiah Muralidaran, brings together young cricketers from across the country on to one field.
The tournament will emulate the format of the ICC World Twenty20; featuring 12 boys' teams and 8 teams of young women, and will be staged at 5 venues in the North and East regions of Sri Lanka.
The Murali Harmony Cup is a partnership with the Foundation of Goodness and is dedicated to promoting peace and understanding in Sri Lanka by bringing together talented youth from across the island. The tournament is supported by the Mahela Foundation, Sangakkara's Bikes for Life campaign and Emirates.
"The Murali Harmony Cup was envisioned and created in 2010 to honour Murali and create a community aid development program through the medium of cricket. By staging the tournament in the North and East we aim to contribute positively to the physical and emotional rebuilding of the region" said Kushil Gunasekera, Founder and Chief Trustee of the Foundation of Goodness.
ICC Chief Executive David Richardson speaking on the Murali Harmony Cup said, "We consider it an honour to be a part of this great initiative. Sri Lanka has had the honour of producing some wonderful cricketers and like the tournament's mentor Muttiah Muralidaran, we hope this tournament will inspire youngsters to want to play in the ICC World Twenty20 in the future."
Young cricketers from the North and East regions, youth from ICC World Twenty20 host cities Colombo, Pallekele and Hambantota and the Seenigama Cricket Village' will compete in the tournament.
During the course of the Murali Harmony Cup, leading international cricketers will carry out master classes for the young cricketers at the venues, including the newly renovated school grounds of Oddusudan that will help ensure the tournament leaves a positive legacy in the region. The participants will also have the privilege to interact with many of the international teams arriving in Sri Lanka for the ICC World Twenty20 2012, through specially-arranged training sessions.
Commenting on the tournament, Muttiah Muralidaran said "This is an important initiative for youth in Sri Lanka. I am humbled to be involved in spreading the message of peace and harmony throughout our beautiful country around the ICC World Twenty20 and I thank the ICC for their support of our vision. As we are a cricket loving nation, this endeavor will help propel unity and bring together young aspiring cricketers."
Commenting on the programme Upekha Nell, Tournament Director for the ICC World Twenty20 2012 said, "ICC is proud to be associated with this very unique tournament. It's an opportunity to not just promote the spirit and energy of Twenty20 Cricket but also a great platform to promote unity among the youth of Sri Lanka and create amazing opportunities for them as we prepare to host one the world's biggest sporting events."
"It is an honour to be contributing to a tournament championed by great players like Muttiah Muralidaran, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena who have made a huge contribution to the game of cricket and continue to do so through their support of events like this," said Chandana De Silva, Emirates' Area Manager Sri Lanka & Maldives.
"Emirates is committed to the growth of the sport at a grassroots level and is proud to be playing a part in an event which is an excellent example of how cricket can bring people together and also a great platform for the next generation of players to develop their talent."