Ever since 1988, when Singer (Sri Lanka) Ltd, broke fresh ground, to espouse the cause of cricket, by sponsoring a domestic inter-provincial cricket tournament - Singer's popularity, brought about by its sustained commitment and dedication for the furtherance of cricket in this country, has grown through this significant decade, for Singer to virtually become synonymous with the game of cricket here.
Continuing as it were, in having promoted and organised a highly successful Singer world series in 1994 and 1996, it now steps in, for the greater cause and common good, to be involved in yet another major undertaking, when it sponsors the triangular 'one day' series cricket tournament between New Zealand, India and Sri Lanka for the 'Singer Akai Nidahas' Trophy.
The foregoing is in a sense, the essence of what was said by the Chairman of Singer, Hemaka Amarasuriya in his address to the media at the launching of the 'Singer Akai Nidahas Trophy' on Friday evening at the Hotel Lanka Oberoi. Amarasuriya, did appear to be pleased with his company's achievements in the name and cause of cricket and the manner in which it identified itself, with its consumers and the countless number, who have an inordinate passion for the game of cricket in this land. He was equally happy with the close and fruitful ties that exist between the Cricket Board and Singer, which he said has led to their being a strong supportive sponsor for the past ten years and hoped that this cordial relationship will continue, and looked forward to playing the sponsorship role, as the Sri Lanka team prepares to defend its position as champions at the next world cup.
Striking a patriotic note, he said that cricket has become a part of the Sri Lankan nation, reaching out to every village and home and striving thereby in the process to bind a divided nation together. Mindful that cricket and our cricketers bring a measure of relief and diversion to a troubled nation, even if it be for a brief fleeting moment, he hoped that this tournament would provide a fortnight of entertaining cricket, between the three participating teams, with the best side winning.
According to the Secretary of the BCCSL Saliya Ahangama, there is bound to be a spell of entertaining 'one day' cricket, accounting for ten matches in this triangular series between New Zealand, India and Sri Lanka for the 'Singer Akai Nidahas Trophy'. This triangular series which is also commemorative of the Cricket Board's '50 year' existence will commence on June 19 at the R. Premadasa Stadium, move over to the Galle Esplanade, thereafter to the SSC and the finals will be held on July 7 day/night at the Premadasa Stadium. The participating teams will play equal number of matches at each venue, with teams being attired in coloured clothing using a white ball. Beneficiaries will be recognised at each match for their contributions to cricket. The question of prize money and the basis by which it is to be apportioned, is under consideration and will be made known shortly.
The president of the BCCSL, Thilanga Sumathipala speaking on the occasion said that the 'Singer Akai Nidahas' Trophy tournament is being organised and conducted to commemorate the golden Jubilee independence anniversary of our country and, so in keeping with the trends of our South Asian neighbours, he felt it proper to substitute the Sinhala word 'Nidahas' for the equivalent of the English word 'Independence' in order that it be truly Sri Lankan and indigenous in character, appeasing as well as, being meaningful to the majority of followers of this game, who converse in the Sinhala language. Sumathipala did make an attempt to give reasons for the selection of cricket venues by saying that one was the weather, and the other that it must satisfy the requirements of the ICC. The Cricket Board president concluded by thanking Singer for its continued support in the promotion and fostering of the game here in Sri Lanka.
In the light of the Galle Esplanade to be recognised as a Test playing venue, subsequent to a proposed inspection by an ICC match referee, it became necessary for the chief executive of the BCCSL Dhamika Ranatunga to explain, that if a cricket ground is to be accepted as a test playing venue by the ICC - then it must fall within the norms and requirements as stipulated by the ICC. Some of which are the affording of proper facilities for players, umpires, referees, spectators, for the media personnel and the ensuring of proper pitches, in order to avoid injury to players.
Jaliya Jayasuriya Business Development Manager of Singer Sri Lanka ably steered the proceedings of the media briefing.