Island Cricket

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Aussie PM hosts Sri Lanka cricket team in Canberra

The Island (subscription): Kevin Rudd, Australia’s new Prime Minister, was host to a gala reception at his residence – The Lodge in Canberra – on Tuesday, January 29, and he followed this up with a grand luncheon at the Manuka Oval when the visiting Sri Lanka cricket team played the Prime Minister’s Eleven on Wednesday, January 30.

This was the very first time when Sri Lanka were invited to play against the Prime Minister’s Eleven, a tradition started by Bob Hawke many years ago.

Kevin Rudd erased all memories of any hostility, between the two cricketing nations, when he spoke with affection about the long history of friendship between Australia and Sri Lanka, formerly named Ceylon. He went on to say that he even has advised Sri Lanka bowler Muralitharan on his bowling skills.

Rudd certainly was no cricket tragic! His grand reception to the visiting team was spiced with anecdotes about his days of playing cricket in China when he was a diplomat. He acknowledged Sri Lanka High Commissioner in Australia, K. Balapatabendi, who had enlightened the Aussie PM on important facts like the first ever cricket match played in Colombo.

Kevin Rudd went to the extent of inviting three of the famous "Invincibles" of the famous 1948 Aussie cricket team –Neil Harvey, Sam Loxton and Arthur Morris- who are still with us. They spoke with great delight about the match played against the then Ceylon Eleven when the above Aussies had made a twenty-four-hour stop-over in Colombo on their way to England by ship. Such was the reminiscences of the years gone by and they will forever remain as memorable events in the history of world cricket.

Rudd went on to wish Sri Lanka well and said that the Sri Lanka cricket team had cricketers of every race and religion which showed that cricket itself was a strong unifying force in this era.


Mia said...

I already liked Kevin Rudd but this gesture made me like him a whole lot more.
What a change from his predecessor. Way to go Mr Rudd!

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