Suranga Lakmal leads Tamil Union back to school

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Mr. Suranga Lakmal, Mr. C T A Schaffter, Mr Ramesh Schaffter ,Mr. Balan Asirwatham and Mr. Dinal Phillips accompanied by the Principal of Debarawewa Madhya Maha Vidyalaya

The Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club joined hands with former Sri Lankan Cricket Captain Suranga Lakmal in nurturing the next generation of cricketers at his alma mater, Debarawewa Central College.

Commending the school from the deep South for its contributions to the sport of cricket and the national cricket team to which it has given 2 icons – Suranga Lakmal and all-rounder Dhananjaya De Silva – the Club sought to give back to the institution as part of its efforts to support the development of cricket at the grassroots level.

The Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club handed over cricket equipment for both seniors and juniors as well as playing kits for the upcoming season. The Club also made a commitment of Rs.250,000 per annum for a period of 3 years to further strengthen cricket resources and infrastructure at the school.

This was followed by a friendly cricket match between two mixed XI teams featuring cricketers from Tamil Union and the Debarawewa Central College 1st XI. Over 2,500 young boys and girls, attended and were overjoyed to see their favourite cricketing icons play alongside their schoolmates. Several aspiring young cricketers in the audience, both boys and girls, were truly inspired to witness Suranga Lakmal, a proud product of their school, take the field once more at their very own school grounds – the place where his cricketing journey had begun.

Several senior representatives of the 123-year-old Club including its Patron and former all Ceylon cricket star Chandra Schaffter; President, Ramesh Schaffter; General Secretary, Balan Asirwatham; Former President and Former Chairman – Cricket, Dinal Philips, took part in this event along with members of the Club’s current cricket team.

Debarawewa Central College’s Principal, W. A. Nimal, paid tribute to Lakmal for his achievements and noted that he was a true icon and an inspiration to all the boys and girls in the school. He also commended the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club for identifying Suranga Lakmal’s raw talent in his early days and grooming him to become the captain of the Sri Lanka Test team. He went on to thank the Club for supporting and inspiring the school’s students as well as it overall commitment to the sport.

Speaking at the event, Balan Asirwatham, General Secretary, Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club, noted that the Club was the home of Cricket in Sri Lanka and the venue of the first ever Test match played on Sri Lankan soil. He also shed light on the Club’s immense contributions towards the promotion of Cricket in Sri Lanka and how it has continued to champion the sport across generations, irrespective of race and religion.

Suranga Lakmal in his inspiring address encouraged the students to always focus on the future and continue to march forward towards their goals. He expressed his gratitude to his school, Debarawewa Central College, for nurturing him, and to the Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club for playing an integral role in transforming him into a world-class cricketer.

Having joined the Club as a youngster, Lakmal had received extensive assistance from the Tamil Union which went beyond the game and helped him with his food and accommodation as well during those early days. The Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club has a long legacy of supporting cricketers from the Deep South, starting with Upul Sumathipala in the late ‘70s, to the Samarasekara Brothers, Champaka Ramanayake and Upul Chandana to Suranga Lakmal and Dhananjaya De Silva more recently.

Lakmal has remained with the Club all through his days in the National squad, captaining the team in the 2015 League Championships and the 2021 One Day Championships.