Island Cricket

Monday, December 17, 2007

The MCC lends a hand in Sri Lanka | Sumangela's field of dreams

It is coming up for the third anniversary of the tragedy[Tsunami], but Seenigama is a neighbourhood transformed. Murali's passion, zeal and profile have set in motion the reconstruction of 1000 demolished houses, while Ian Botham and the rock star Bryan Adams are two other improbably connected celebrities who have adopted the cause as their own.

Today, though, it is all about the MCC, the oldest and most famous cricket club of all, which came to hear of the plight of the village, and whose patronage has taken Gunasekera's dream and sent it stratospheric.

The MCC bigwigs are out in force today, to celebrate the culmination of a two-year partnership. Mike Brearley, the president; Keith Bradshaw, the chief executive; John Stephenson, the head of cricket; and Roger Knight, the former secretary, are all in attendance as Gunasekera leads the party through the various and varied phases of his grand project. A craft centre, an English language school, a fully equipped computer centre, and a lively kindergarten for the children too young to recall the horrors that befell their elders. All are fully funded and fully operational, and joyfully received by the local community.

"The MCC has not merely provided a cricket ground and pavilion but a much broader input into the community," said Brearley. "And what is more, money and goodwill tends to attract more money and goodwill." - Writes Andrew Miller for Cricinfo.

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