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DateLine Sunday, 17 February 2008

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Lankan cricketers - a big draw in Canberra

CRICKET RECEPTION: Sri Lankans living in Canberra, turned up in their numbers to greet the Sri Lankan cricketers when the Sri Lankan Community laid out a lavish welcome ceremony at the Thoroughbred Park and Convention Centre.


Sri Lanka’s ‘livewire’ in cricket organisation in Australia - Dr. Quintus de Zylva (right) lights the traditional oil lamp, watched by Sri Lanka team manager Sriyan Samararatne, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Canberra - Kusum Balapatabendi and Sri Lankan Vice-captain, Kumar Sangakkara and Muttiah Muralitharan.

The High Commissioner for Sri Lanka in Australia Mr. Kusum Balapatabendi was present to give the occasion the much needed importance and there was also that indefatigable cricketing personality Dr. Quintus de Zylva who is a 'liver wire' for any function dealing with cricket.

An added attraction was that ever popular pop singer Alston Koch to give the much needed punch with timely songs that included the 'Murali hit song written by him in tribute to Muralitharan - the World Record holder in bowling and Alston Koch really kept the evening alive with live rendition of that hit song.

After the preliminaries, like the lighting of the traditional oil lamp by High Commissioner Kusum Balapatabendi, Sri Lankan Cricketers skipper - Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya, Dr. Quintus de Zylva and pop singer - Alston Koch, the evening was set for enjoyment by the cricketers. Speaking to the large gathering, High Commissioner Kusum Balapatabendi said it was the first time that the Sri Lankan Community in Canberra laid out a reception of that nature for visiting Sri Lankan cricketers.

He mentioned that Australian cricketers have played the one-day version of the game in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon). Some of the more famous names of Australian cricketers who have played in Sri Lanka.... Sir Donald Bradman, Lindsay Hassett, Keith Miller, Richie Benaud, Ian Chappell, Doug Walters and Bill Lawry have given the much needed punch the game in the island.

A very successful auction of memorabilia also took place.

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