The Sri Lankan Cricketers Association (SLCA) recently announced its commitment to assist former players who brought glory to the nation with the launching of a special Benevolent Fund which was initiated by the ‘96 World Champions.
The newly-formed Trust, with initial funds totaling Rs. 3.6 million, raised through initiatives by SLCA together with the 1996 Cricket World Cup winning team, will assist past cricketers financially in times of a medical emergency or any other urgent need.
The appointed trustees include three nominated members of the ‘96 Team, namely Roshan Mahanama, Asanka Gurusinha and Pramodaya Wickremesinghe in addition to SLCA Ex Officio members – Graeme La Brooy, President, and Priyantha Udayaratne, Treasurer.
Requests for support and financial assistance from the Fund should be made through a member of the ‘96 World Cup Champion Team or a member of the SLCA. The trustees will approve,allocate the sum and the SLCA will disburse the funds to the recipients within 48 hours of approval.
Commenting on the Trust Fund, Roshan Mahanama, a member of the ’96 World Cup Team and a trustee said, “Without any doubt our former players have brought about an enduring and dynamic contribution towards cricketing glory for Sri Lanka. Our primary purpose is to provide relief and support the past cricketers when they are in need, during difficult times and ease any hardship they face.”
Throughout the year, the SLCA in collaboration with the 1996 Cricket World Cup Champions organized a series of events in Sri Lanka and Australia to raise funds for this project.
Earlier this year, to coincide with the 20th anniversary of winning the Cup, the 96 World Champions played a Charity T20 game against a group of past cricketers which was sponsored by Singer Sri Lanka, through this event, Rs. 4 million was donated to a water purification project in Polonnaruwa and the occasion was graced by the President of Sri Lanka as well. In addition to the water purification system, a sum of Rs. 800,000 was gifted towards the said fund which made it the initial deposit.The SLCA at this occasion donated a sum of Rs. 100,000 each to seven senior members of the association who were over the age of 70 years in recognition and appreciation of their contribution towards the game.
During October and November of this year, the ‘96 World Cup Team was invited to Australia by Asanka Gurusinha to raise funds for the past cricketers in need. This tour was organized by Asanka Gurusinha and supported by Ron Meerwald and Keith Cruse in Melbourne and Chanaka Senanayake and his team in Sydney. This tour raised a significant amount of fund which was deposited to the trust at the launch and will be used for the welfare of the past cricketers.
Addressing the gathering attending the launch, Graeme La Brooy, President SLCA noted, “The benevolent fund launched today is part of our ongoing commitment to support past players in need of a helping hand. It is also testament that as cricketers we stick together. We embarked on a series of fundraising initiatives with the help of many leading former players specially the ‘96 World Champion Team which has contributed greatly towards our cause.”
The first beneficiaries of the benevolent fund will be past cricketers AJ Samarasekera and Russel Harmer who had served the game for a long period of time as players and coaches as well. Also gracing the event were several other former cricketers from the ‘96 World Cup Champion Team.