Island Cricket

Friday, February 8, 2008

Coca Cola launches Cricket talent search in Sri Lanka

In my opinions this is long overdue. Cricket in the Island has always been restricted to the elite club cricketers or nephews and relatives of former players.

Feb 6, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka's Coca Cola unit has teamed up with former cricket star Aravinda de Silva to launch ‘Cricket pathway’, a project to search for cricketing talent in rural areas in the country.

"Coca Cola wants to see youngsters blossoming from school champions to world champions with guidance and support from Coca Cola,” the firm's Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives, Manish Chaturvedi, said.

“What I have found is that there is immense talent available in Sri Lanka,” de Silva, the programme’s administrator said. “We lack something important and that is proper guidance.

“We also want to educate them as to what is really required at the highest level to compete against top countries like Australia.”

The project is set to kick off on March 28, 2008 in the form of regional cricket clinics.

Students in the age group of 15 – 17 are eligible to apply and a total of 72 will be selected from each province.

Sri Lanka Cricket, the game's administrative body, says the initiative will also target junior cricket and the under 19 Cricket World Cup held every two years.

“Development of school cricket is my priority,” said former cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga, now chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket.

“The standard of school cricket has slightly dropped. We cannot see the same standard it had over 15 years ago,” he said.

“We have identified that the problem lies in the lack of sponsors and good coaches.”

Selected students from each district will get the opportunity to participate in a three-day clinic attended by national coaches and physiotherapists.

Nine such camps are scheduled to take place in Colombo as well as the outlying towns of Dambulla, Kandy and Galle which have cricket stadiums.

The camps will be conducted in association with the Aravinda de Silva Cricket Foundation which is set to bring in international expertise and guidance

“High performance and consistency will be the criteria for selecting the students through the schools,” said de Silva.

District records held by students will also help the selection process.


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