“Unity Team” sponsored by Emirates to play cricket in Singapore and promote FOG’s work of reconciliation

From the Daily News, 16 October 2012, with additional input from the Web Editor

Emirates, the international airline which serves Sri Lanka with 28 weekly flights, yesterday welcomed batsman Kumar Sangakkara and a team of aspiring young cricketers on board its flight to Singapore. Emirates, an Official Partner of the ICC, is sponsoring the flights of the Unity Team, a select side made up of the best performers in the recent Murali Harmony Cup, a tournament – also supported by Emirates.
The Unity Team departed on Friday, 12 October, for a four-day tour of Singapore that includes two exhibition cricket matches against Singapore Cricket Club and sight-seeing trips around the Lion City. Sangakkara is the under-19 team’s head coach and is being supported by spin icon Muttiah Muralitharan, who will be joining up with the group in Singapore.
“These young players have a wonderful spirit and their passion for the game and desire to learn is fantastic to see,” said Sangakkara. “I am looking forward to sharing in their excitement and spending time with them on the training field. It is great to see Emirates support community initiatives like this which will live long in the memory of the players.”
Jason Buultjens, Captain of the Unity Team and the Murali Cup Player of the Tournament, is also excited about the trip. “An opportunity to play overseas is something that every player dreams of, and the team is very grateful to Emirates for making it possible. I am sure this trip will be an incredible experience for all the players involved.”
A tournament dedicated to promoting peace and understanding in Sri Lanka by bringing together talented youth from across the island, the Murali Harmony Cup was conducted from 8th to 12th September in the build up to the ICC World Twenty20 and was won by St Peter’s College Under-19s and Sri Lanka Army’s Under-23 Ladies.
Besides the two exhibition matches on 13th and 14th October, the members of the team are scheduled to visit Universal Studios as part of their itinerary. The team returns to Sri Lanka on 16th October. “Emirates is committed to the development of cricket at a grassroots level and is proud to sponsoring the Unity Team’s tour of Singapore,” said Chandana de Silva, Emirates Area Manager Sri Lanka & Maldives. “Spending time with players like Sangakkara and Muralitharan can have an incredible impact on young players and hopefully it will help inspire them to become the best player they can be, which can only be good for the future of the game in Sri Lanka.”
Although there is no more ICC World Twenty20 live action, cricket fans can still stay involved with the event, by visiting http://www.emiratesfancam.com/wt20 for a 360 degree, 20,000 megapixel image of the stadium and locating the Emirates cabin crew members to be in with a chance of winning a signed bat from the team of their choice. Spectators who were at the match, can zoom in to locate themselves and share the view with their friends on Facebook, Twitter or via e-mail.
The winner of more than 500 international awards, Emirates operates 21 flights a week from Colombo to Dubai, 14 of them direct and seven via Male, offering First, Business and Economy Class services. The airline also operates daily flights from Colombo to Singapore. The Emirates route network now extends to 126 destinations in 74 countries. Emirates’ ICC Official Partner status gives the airline sponsorship rights to all ICC major tournaments, including the ICC Cricket World Cup, ICC Champions Trophy and ICC World Twenty20, which in 2012 will be staged in Sri Lanka. It also sponsors the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier, ICC Under-19 World Cup, ICC Intercontinental Cup and the ICC Women’s World Cup.
In partnership with the ICC, Emirates sponsors the Emirates Elite Panel of ICC Umpires and Referees, an agreement which sees the Fly Emirates logo prominently displayed on the umpires’ clothing at all ICC events. Emirates also supports English County side Durham as the shirt sponsor of its Twenty20 side, while it also has naming rights to the club’s stadium, the Emirates Durham International Cricket Ground.
Emirates sponsors domestic cricket in Pakistan and is involved with a number of tournaments, including the Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2011-12, Pentagular Cricket Cup 2011-12, One Day Cricket Cup 2011-12 and Super 8 T20 Cricket Cup 2012. Emirates is also a sponsor of the UK charity Lord’s Taverners and – in partnership with the Arabian Cricket Challenge – it is the title sponsor of the Emirates Airline Twenty20, Emirates Airline Forty40 and the Emirates Airline ARCH Trophy, which is contested by schools.


The “Unity Team” which toured Singapore from 12-16th October 2012. This squad was selected after the ” Murali Harmony Cup 2012″ played in the North from 08-12 September’ 2012. 07 players from the North/East and 07 players from the rest of the Country were selected on their performances during the MHC.

Kumar Sangakkara went as the Head Coach and Ravindra Pushpakumara as his deputy. Murali joined the team in Singapore.

Tour Squad

1. Jason Buultjens (captain) / St Peters’ College-Colombo
2. Tharindu Kaushal (vice captain) / Seenigama FOG Academy
3. L.P.Dilantha / Debarawewa Central College-Debarawewa
4. Yohan De Silva / Dharmasoka College-Ambalangoda
5. Rasanjana Jayaratne / Maliyadeva College-Kurunegala
6. Sandeep Nissansala / Anuradhapura Central College-Anuradhapura
7. Chemila Obeyesekera / St Peter’s College-Colombo
8. Guster Tuder / Jaffna Combined Colleges
9. Edward Edin / Jaffna Combined Colleges
10. S.Sanjeeve / Trinco & Batticalore Combined Colleges
11. L.G.Asela Sampath / Trinco & Batticalore Combined Colleges
12. Gahnesh Lakitharan / Kilinochchi Combined Colleges
13. Paramakuru Aruna / Mullativu Combined Colleges
14. Koneswaran Haripranvan / Vavuniya & Mannar Combined Colleges


For the Northern Empowerment Project being pursued by the Foundation of Goodness, see


Filed under life stories, NGOs, reconciliation, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, welfare & philanthophy, world affairs

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