Sri Lanka Parliament honours World T20 Cricket Champions
By Janaka Alahapperuma
Apr 11, 2014
The Sri Lanka Cricket team which won the ICC World Twenty 20 Cricket World Cup (T20) visited Parliament yesterday (09 April) on the invitation of the Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, Government and Opposition members. Parliament made arrangements to extend them the highest honour.They were awarded a red carpet welcome on arrival and Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody and the Sergeant at Arms accompanied the Sri Lankan cricket heroes led by Lasith Malinga to the Parliamentary Complex. The Parliamentary Staff and Parliamentarians extended a very warm welcome to Sri Lankan cricket heroes.

Even a special debate was organized to extend greetings to the cricket heroes and they attended as the guests in a special session held at the parliament. In his opening remarks, Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa said that the Sri Lanka Cricket team is present at the Special Guests' Gallery to receive the honours extended by Parliament for becoming the T20 World Cup Cricket champions, beating India in last Sunday's finals played in Dhaka, Bangladesh, bringing much pride and joy to the nation.

The House with Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa in the Chair took up the Vote of Appreciation moved by Leader of the House and Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva to pay tribute to the Sri Lanka cricket team. The minister noted that the victory at the T20 World Cup brought huge fame for the nation. The proposal brought by the leader of the house to felicitate the cricketers was seconded by acting opposition leader John Amaratunga. The Leader of the House further stated that sports help to consolidate mutual understanding among the people. The Sri Lankan cricket team was able to secure the victory by playing irrespective of any discrimination. The present government is always ready to hail the sport men and women who bring victories to the motherland. The leader of house also admired the decision of Dinesh Chandimal to keep away from the captaincy at the appropriate moment. He also highlighted the huge support extended by the Sri Lankan fans to the national team.

“This victory is memorable as it has helped further strengthen bonds and has further united the Sri Lankan nation as one family, setting aside ethnic, religious and other differences. I believe that winning the T20 World Cup was not an accident, but a result of tremendous dedication, commitment and determination by our players over the past years. There are many achievements by Sri Lankan cricketers in the international arena. I should recall the honour they bestowed to the country by becoming the 1996 Wills World Cup Champions and Runners-Up in the 2007 World Cup, 2009 T20, 2011 World Cup and once again in 2012 T20. Sri Lanka also became the 2014 Asia Cup Champions, the Minister further noted.

Acting Opposition Leader John Amaratunga also extend the wishes of the Opposition to the Sri Lanka Cricket team. He said, where the country had been bestowed with a special honour with the victory of T20 World Cup expressed their gratitude to all who provided leadership and guidance to the Sri Lankan team for all their achievements, since the victory in the 1996 World Cup.

"As a nation, we are proud of the exceptional talents shown by our players. Our team ranks first in the T20 rankings at present. The team's victory amply proves the saying 'Unity is Power'," he said. Sajith Premadasa MP said,” this victory which was achieved through sheer dedication and hard work has brought great pride to all Sri Lankans. The team spirit and experience sharing of the seniors were always exhibited at each and every juncture of the game. We are extremely happy over the maturity showed by senior players Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena. We also pay gratitude to the coaches and Selection Committee for their guidance and support”.

Sports Minister, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, leader of JVP, Anura Kumara Dissanayaka, former Sri Lanka cricket captains, now parliamentarians, Arjuna Ranatunga and Sanath Jayasuriya also addressed the House and paid their appreciation to the T20 Cricket Champions for their thrive in realizing Sri Lanka’s dreams after 18 years. With the proposals and different views of Government as well as Opposition Parliamentarians, the congratulatory message was adopted in Parliament under the patronage of Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa.

Thereafter they were offered tea at the Parliamentarians’ Canteen. All the cricketers joined in this momentous occasion. All Parliamentarians including the Speaker joined in expressing their gratitude to cricket heroes for their outstanding achievement and bringing pride to the motherland.

It was notable that there were no Government or Opposition differences at the Parliamentary Complex. There were no accusations or challenges. Unison among everyone was witnessed. It was to warmly greet the Sri Lankan cricket heroes who had brought honour, glory and fame to Sri Lanka by winning the ICC Twenty20 World Cup.

Photo courtesy: Ishara Kodikara

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