Tsunami disaster January 3, 2005

Sri Lankans thank New Zealand Cricket

Aravinda de Silva thanked New Zealand's cricket board on behalf of Sri Lanka Cricket © Getty Images
Brendon Kuruppu, the Sri Lankan team manager, said he was deeply grateful to New Zealand Cricket and its officials for coming to their help at the hour of need.

Aravinda de Silva, who is now vice-president of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), also thanked NZC for being considerate enough to understand Sri Lanka's situation and agree to postpone the tour after just the first one-day international. He said that SLC had a commitment towards New Zealand to fulfil the abandoned tour within the next 18 months.

Marvin Atapattu, the former Test captain, who had visited Galle and Matara, towns on the south of the island, when he returned from New Zealand said the disaster which had struck Sri Lanka was a big ordeal for any cricketer to handle individually. He said that his players would join SLC in a unilateral effort to ensure they achieve their ultimate goal of building houses for the needy.

de Silva said SLC's immediate task was to find shelter, clothing and food to those displaced, and to this end, it had opened up three camps at Dambulla, Matara and Galle, where SLC officials are already busy attending to the needs. He said that SLC would publicly announce its disaster action program on Wednesday.

With no firm international commitments till June when the West Indies are due to visit for a full Test series, Atapattu indicated that the energies of his team would be diverted to relief work. He explained that it was a blessing in disguise that his team did not have any immediate international tours. Otherwise it would be difficult for the players to concentrate on the game while the rest of the country was suffering.

Atapattu went on to say that it wouldn't be a problem for any of his players to represent an Asian XI, if selected, against the ICC XI in a limited-overs match because it was being played to raise funds for the countries affected by the tsunamis. Sri Lanka, where more than 30,000 people are estimated to have been killed, is one of the worst hit of the seven countries affected by the giant tidal waves.

Not all the national cricketers were present at yesterday's media conference. Some had travelled to Trincomalee on Monday night to get a first hand view of the situation there.