Shasthrananda Maha Vidyalaya officials accept the matting wicket presented to them at a cricket coaching camp held at Kawdana, Dehiwala which saw the participation of former national cricketers like Arjuna Ranatunga and Roshan Mahanama (Pic by Sathsanda Liyanarachchi)

As many as 60 underprivileged school children saw a dream come true when they got to mingle with past cricket super stars and share their knowledge at a cricket coaching camp held recently at Shasthrananda Maha Vidyalaya in Kawdana, Dehiwela.

The coaching camp attracted cricketing greats like Arjuna Ranatunga and Roshan Mahanama and also one time director coaching at SLC Malcolm Perera. A key moment at the occasion was the presenting of a cricket matting to the authorities of Shasthrananda Maha Vidyalaya. Interestingly this school features in an annual cricket big match, but lacked a basic facility, like a matting to practice on.

Save the Sports Foundation Secretary Chintaka Fernando told Nation that the schoolboys who participated at the cricket coaching camp were elated because they got an opportunity to mingle with and learn finer points of the game from former national cricketers. Apart from the cricketers of Shasthrananda Maha Vidyalaya, schoolboys from Jaffna and Mirigama also participated. Arrangements were made to provide these players with necessary cricket gear.

Fernando went on to state that though the general perception is that schools in villages lack facilities, one only has to visit certain academic institutes in the suburbs to realize that they too lack some of the basic needs to play the game. By saying this he justified the selection of Shasthrananda Maha Vidyalaya to receive the cricket matting and be the venue for the coaching camp. He said more coaching camps like this would be held in selected parts of the country in the future.

“Another positive factor of a coaching camp like this is that participants receive an opportunity to get together and promote unity among school children,” said Fernando.

Fernando, a badminton coach, said that using public transport had helped him come across the less affluent who are in dire need of basic sports facilities.

The coaching camp was organized by Save the Sports Foundation in collaboration with the Sports Division of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and Shasthrananda Maha Vidyalaya.