The Sri Lanka Visually Handicapped cricket team is embarking on a tour to India to take part in the first ever T20 Asia Cup in Kochi, India without a proper sponsor, training and with a lot of unanswered questions haunting them. The team is due to leave on January 16 for the tournament which starts [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

Regus extends support to National Visually Handicapped Cricket Team


Chandana Deshapriya - Capt

The Sri Lanka Visually Handicapped cricket team is embarking on a tour to India to take part in the first ever T20 Asia Cup in Kochi, India without a proper sponsor, training and with a lot of unanswered questions haunting them.

The team is due to leave on January 16 for the tournament which starts on January 17 and ends on January 24. Five Asian teams will be participating in the contest. They are: India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

In the first round Sri Lanka will meet Bangladesh on January 19, Sri Lanka vs Nepal on January 20 and vs Pakistan on January 21. Sri Lanka will take on India on January 22.  Sri Lanka is currently occupying the third place having won the third spot at the 40 Overs World Cup held in South Africa in 2014. India emerged champions with Pakistan as the runners-up.

Last year the Australian Visually Handicapped cricket team toured Sri Lanka to play in five 40 overs-per-side games where Sri Lanka won five. One game was abandoned due to rain. The Sri Lanka team will be led by Chandana Deshapriya from Monaragala. The deputy skipper is Dimuthu Ravindra from Weligama. Players from all parts of Sri Lanka forms the team.

The Visually Handicapped Cricket team of Sri Lanka finally gets a sponsor

The President of the Visually Handicapped Association is Norbert Silva told the Sunday Times that the team is very strong. Continuing he said that it was unfortunate that they could not train in a ground in Colombo. “We requested from several schools but they declined to give the grounds due to school matches. The clubs too were reluctant to help us as the Premier League is in progress.

“The cost for the tour is Rs. 11 Lakhs. We approached sponsors but we were not successful due to the year end. The Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera however agreed to provide air-tickets and provided us accommodation at the Sports Ministry premises in Colombo. Still we have not trained on a turf wicket. It is disheartening to note that the facilities provided to women’s cricket was not provided to us by Sri Lanka Cricket. Please do not differentiate cricket,” he said.

The Sri Lanka National Visually Handicapped Cricket Team was recently privileged to have been invited by the Cricket Association for the Blind in India (CABI) to participate in the first-ever T20 Asia Cup Tournament dedicated to visually handicapped cricketers. The tournament has been scheduled to be held in Kochi, India from 17th to 24th January 2016.

The national team, though almost oblivious to the attention of cricket lovers in Sri Lanka, had garnered commendable accolades with their outstanding performances in the last two to three World Cup tournaments, bringing glory to the country as a result.
Regus Sri Lanka, having always emphasized the significance of supporting and boosting the aspirations of their stakeholders, decided to extend a helping hand to the Sri Lanka Cricket Association of the Visually Handicapped (SLCAVH) by providing encouragement to the national team.

Commenting on the supportive initiative that was taken up for the visually handicapped cricket team, Dr. Nirmal De Silva – Country Manager of Regus Sri Lanka said, “We considered this initiative when the team reached out to us through the dynamic SLCAVH President, Norbert Silva. We decided to extend to them the necessary support in order to ensure that they make it to the tournament in India and have the opportunity to make Sri Lanka proud. Regus always focuses on helping our customers be more successful irrespective of whether it is a start-up or a large multinational entity. The approach is the same when it comes to engaging with the community. Cricket is a game that people are most passionate about in Sri Lanka and we wanted to encourage the national team by exemplifying that Regus and the entire nation is behind them in this tournament.”

Commenting on the Association’s approach towards Regus Sri Lanka, Norbert Silva – President Sri Lanka Cricket Association of the Visually Handicapped said, “We are pleased that Regus Sri Lanka has come forward as the sponsor, helping us in our quest towards bringing glory to our Motherland. Regus shows a genuine interest and eagerness in strengthening our team by illuminating the skills and abilities of the visually handicapped. We have also been extended support by the Ministry of Sports in terms of air tickets and for this we would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Hon. Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara.”
The national team, which consists of 20 participants, had wished to participate in this tournament and even though the association is the governing body of cricket by the visually handicapped, they had not been duly strengthened by funds beforehand to overcome overheads for a tour such as this.

“We at Regus strongly feel that Sri Lankans have the ability, determination and skills to be world champions. Hence, we want to encourage the blind cricket team by re-iterating that as a nation nothing is impossible for us and we are indeed confident that they will perform well and keep the lion flag flying high in India,” added Dr. De Silva.

Sri Lanka team:
I.A.P. Saman Kumara, J.P.D. Raveendra, D. Chaminda, Chaminda Pushpakumara, Nuwantha Sudesh, Kosala Herath, Upul Sanjeewa, RuwanWasantha, K.B.R. Jayarathna, Kalum Lakmal, M.D.D.N. Mathugama, Chandana Deshappriya, Chandana Kumara, Kalyan Kumara, Suranga Sampath, Dimuthu Perera, Ruwan Karunathilaka.

R.M.U. Lakshan Deshappriya (Manager), Ravi Perera (Umpire), Y.S.G. Sumanaweera (Team Coach).

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