Warne pledges money to Galle reconstruction
Shane Warne has committed his charitable foundation to donate Aus$20,000 to tsunami reconstruction efforts in Sri Lanka.
The move, announced at a breakfast event in Melbourne, followed reports last week that the foundation had failed to deliver a promised Aus$50,000 for repair of the devastated cricket ground in the Sri Lankan town of Galle. The ground in the town is where Warne took his 500th Test wicket in March 2004.
The Sydney Morning Herald said Warne told the celebrity breakfast - attended by Australia's richest man James Packer and Warne's fellow retiring cricketer Glenn McGrath - that a promotion at last year's Boxing Day Test for the sale of wristbands had failed to attract much support. Only 5,000 of the three-dollar wristbands had been sold, he reportedly said.
That information was conveyed to Galle International Cricket Club this year but more than five months after the foundation had promised in an email that the fund-raiser would net Aus$50,000 for the reconstruction of the ground, the newspaper said. The foundation's then chief executive Brad Grapsas told the director of the Galle club, Jayananda Warnaweera, that the cost of the promotion was greater than the amount collected and there would be no money forthcoming.
Warne told this week's breakfast he had been greatly moved by a visit he made to Galle a month after the 2004 tsunami devastated the coastal town and swamped its picturesque cricket ground. He handed out food, cricket kit and toys to children orphaned in the tsunami, which killed an estimated 31,000 people in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Cricket told AFP this week that work had got underway at the ground and there were plans to hold a Test match during the England tour planned for late October-November 2007. "I can say we're giving the Sri Lankan Cricket Club Aus$20,000 today, which goes towards helping build some cricket grounds," Warne told the function, according to the Herald.