Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) initiative to promote and further develop women’s cricket in the country at the grassroots level that has culminated in a progressive momentum in an upswing of 30 girls’ schools to pad up in the big match groove. It brought together school heads of several schools including the East’s Trincomalee in a SLC organized roundtable media confab at SLC headquarters on Tuesday. While it revolved around the tremendous enthusiasm that has generated around women’s’ cricket in the wake of the game journeying to the schools, the overall bottom line of nourishing mainstream national cricket by attracting school latent talent took centerpiece.
Ms. Apsari Tillakaratne, Convenor, Sri Lanka Women’s Cricket, outlining the significance of the girls’ school big match concept, said that this vision of SLC President, Thilanga Sumathipala to broad base and put the country’s women’s cricket on a firm footing internationally by promoting schools to take part, was a platform for starry eyed young lasses to make it to the national mainstream.
“Since last year when this concept took off with ten girls’ schools playing big matches, this year fifteen schools will be in the fray. It is an indication of the progress made by the untiring efforts of Sri Lanka Cricket in paving the way for girls’ schools to be involved with cricket. SLC has laid all the ground work for its success from financial and infrastructure assistance to coaching staff and venues etc. Today, the game had spread island-wide at the grassroots level,” she said.
Ms. Hema Jayawardena, Principal of Rathnawali Balika, Gampaha, said, “I’m really happy as a principal of a girl’s school to be involved in such a national concept. I consider this opening for school girls to play cricket and make it to the national mainstream as a major step in bettering their lot. It is not only education, but extra-curricular activities such as this that are an important impetus towards their wholesome growth into adulthood. Significantly, there are an estimated 3,500 students from girls’ schools and the SLC’s cricket concept is a steppingstone for them. My school is working very enthusiastically to make this concept a success.”
Mr. Upul Kithsiri, Principal of Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya, Trincomalee said, “SLC’s girls’ school big match concept is a welcome timely initiative. It being staged in Trincomalee in the once war ravaged East was a major boon for the game in that zone. This year the concept was bound to attract more talent.”
Ms. Jayani Prishangika, Principal of Anula Vidyalaya said, “Anula Vidyalaya is a school that has been in the forefront of promoting cricket among its students. In fact, it was Anula Vidyalaya that has already produced a national women cricketer in Hasitha Samarawickrema. Certainly the girls’ school big match concept is laudable. For its carnival atmosphere is not only a competitive leverage, but is also a source of joy for school girls. We at Anula Vidyalaya have prepared for the big match with Ratnavali MV.”
Mr. Prasanna Mohotti, Master In-Charge, Thalalla Dharmavijaya College said, “We have successfully forged cricket among girls at Thalalla Dharmavijaya where once the influx was boys, and now we are keyed up for the girls’ big match with Anura Vidyalaya, Matara. We introduced girls’ cricket on a special request. The progressive change is so welcome.”
Apsari Tillakaratne, responding to a question said, “Tomorrow we are going to the Wanni for the Wanni big match between Vavuniya Hindu College and Mannar Hindu College. SLC put in a lot of sweat and toil to plant the game in that region and it is a matter of pride that the sport has attracted lasses in this once war torn zone including destitute girls 13 of whom had been rendered parentless during the war.”
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-