The Foundation of Goodness is a holistic rural development model that seeks to bridge the urban-rural divide in Sri Lanka via 10 empowerment divisions across 900+ villages island-wide, and reached over 307,000+ beneficiaries in 2022 alone by way of 15 Empowerment Centres, free of cost.
Rarely do we come across a scenario where a Sri Lankan team of budding young cricketers hailing from rural areas, emerge victorious against India on their home ground. However, that is precisely what happened at the recently concluded International Cricket Academy League (ICAL) 2023 held in New Delhi, where the Foundation of Goodness Academy from Sri Lanka’s rural coastal village of Seenigama, claimed the trophy!
Our U17 cricket stars from Seenigama led by Dharshaka Sandeep (C) and Dasun Chamod (VC) brought home the inaugural ICAL Championship beating the Indian Lakshya Cricket Academy by 07 wickets, in a nail-biting final, after many fiercely competitive matches in the preliminary rounds.
The International Cricket Academy League (ICAL) brings together amateur and junior cricketers around the globe to one platform, creating sports development avenues for young players, enabling them to train under some of the best coaches from various academies, while also competing against teams from different societal and cultural backgrounds. Not only does this tournament serve as a sports development experience for young cricketers, but it also promotes culture sensitivity and unity in the spirit of sportsmanship.
The inaugural ICAL 2023 tournament was organized by Kevin Tyler, Co-Founder of Calypso Destinations in Sydney, Australia and Sohan Kadian, Founder & CEO of Melsh Sports Tours in New Delhi, India.
“What inspired us to start the tournament was that myself and Dan Smith, we visited Barbados for the Sir Garfield Sobers. There’s nothing like that anywhere else in the world and we wanted to create something for a lot of these international private academies, to give coaches an opportunity to showcase their talents and the kids that they coach, as well as to give these academies the opportunity to really showcase themselves around the world. From then on it went into another level of putting them in a tournament, being able to live stream, showing their talent that sometimes many of the cricket institutions miss. It’s giving kids another chance, another opportunity to prove what they are worth!” remarked Kevin Tyler during a visit to the Impact Centre of the Foundation of Goodness in Colombo, Sri Lanka on the 20th of April 2023.
The tournament got underway with the participation of eight U17 Cricket Academies from India, Australia, UAE, South Africa, and Sri Lanka. The tournament was held from 2nd to 12th April 2023, with matches played at the Teri Sports Complex 1 & 2 and the Power Play Sports Complex 1 & 2 in New Delhi.
The following teams participated in the tournament this year:
Complete Cricket Academy – Australia, Elite Cricket Academy – Australia, Hills Cricket Academy – Australia, Carter Cricket Academy – South Africa, Ace Cricket Academy – UAE, Pathway Cricket School – India, Lakshya Cricket Academy – India, and Foundation Of Goodness Academy – Sri Lanka
The 15-member squad of the Foundation of Goodness Academy consisted of players from several rural schools in Seenigama. In an effort to support their cricket aspirations, we offer free of charge cricket coaching ensuring that they can continue to hone their skills and compete at the highest level and bring pride to Sri Lanka.
The 15-member squad was accompanied by Anura De Silva, Team Manager and Director of Sports – Foundation of Goodness and Team Coach Dinesh Premaratne.
FoG Academy played 10 matches (four T20 games and six 50 over games) including the final. The team progressed confidently throughout the tournament despite facing many challenges including getting accustomed to different playing conditions.
Here’s a breakdown of the matches played by FoGA Sri Lanka in the tournament.
– Pathway College was 16 all out in 15.1 overs
– In reply, FoGA scored 20 for no loss in 3 overs
– FoGA won by 10 wickets
– Player of the match: Seniru Induwara
– FoGA scored 104 all out in 19.1 overs
– In reply, CCA was 44 all out in 14.3 overs
– FoGA won by 60 runs
– Player of the match: Chamathka Kavishan
– FoGA scored 104 all out in 16.1 overs
– In reply, Lakshya CA scored 108/3 in 18.5 overs
– Lakshya CA won by 07 wickets
– FoGA scored 248/8 in 50 overs
– In reply, CCA was 109 all out in 34.1 overs
– FoGA won by 139 runs
– Player of the match: Jithira Sansika
– FoGA scored 420/04 in 50 overs
– In reply, Ace Cricket School was 140 all out in 46 overs
– FoGA won by 280 runs
– Player of the Match: Vinod Danushka
– ECA scored 171 all out in 44.1 overs
– In reply, FoGA scored 174/6 in 33.4 overs
– FoGA won by 04 wickets
– Player of the Match: Seniru Induwara
– FoGA Sri Lanka scored 233/9 in 40 overs [match reduced by 10 overs due to late arrival of CCA (SA) last evening from excursion to Agra, which the FoGA team did not attend]
– In reply, CCA (SA) scored 129/9 in 40 overs
– FoGA won by 104 runs
– Player of the match: Dasun Chamod
– FoGA scored 162/9 in 50 overs
– In reply, HCA scored 164/4 in 34.1 overs
– HCA Won by 06 wickets
– CCA scored 118/9 in 20 overs
– In reply, FoGA scored 119/3 in 13.1 overs
– FoGA won by 07 wickets
– Player of the match: Malith de Silva
*With this win Foundation of Goodness Academy qualified for the finals against Lakshya Cricket Academy
In the final against India’s Lakshya Cricket Academy, Sri Lanka’s FoG Cricket Academy won the toss and elected to field. Lakshya Cricket Academy was 218 all out in 48.4 overs. They were 163 for 03 at one stage off 27 overs before the FoG U17 spinners put the breaks on. Chasing a target of 219, the Foundation of Goodness Sri Lanka scored 221 with 03 wickets down in just 46.1 overs after being 62 for 3 at one stage. Dharshaka Sandeep was awarded the Player of the Match award.
“This victory shows the courage these boys have to fight their way back. They were 63 for 3 and chasing a total of 218 is not easy against an attack like Lakshya Indian Academy. But these two boys, the Captain and Vice Captain, came to the party and finished the job. That was the most important thing. I was so happy that they concentrated well and finished the job for the Foundation of Goodness,” said Anura De Silva, Team Manager and FoG’s Director of Sports, celebrating the team’s victory following the final match.
Captain Dharshaka Sandeep (Devapathiraja College – Rathgama) contributed with 75 not out and Vice Captain Dasun Chamod (Vidyaloka College – Galle) with 78 not out putting on an unbroken 159-run partnership to finish the game with 3.5 overs left.
“The main thing that I had in mind is to win the game although our condition was quite bad. As we lost the T20 Game to Lakshaya here, we knew we had to win this for the Foundation of Goodness. So we mustered up our courage and with the help of Dasun we were able to achieve the target,” Captain Dharshaka Sandeep shared his thoughts on their final victory.
As the tournament drew to a close, two of our players managed to secure two major awards. Dasun Chamod took home the Player of the Tournament award, while Seniru Ninduwara secured the Bowler of the Tournament award.
Bowler of the Tournament – Seniru Ninduwara
Among other milestones achieved by the Foundation of Goodness Academy during the ICAL 2023 tournament is the mammoth total of 420 runs the team put up against Ace Cricket School from the United Arab Emirates, in their 5th match. It was the highest total by any academy at the tournament. FoGA scored 420/4 in 50 overs with Vinod Danushka top scoring at 112 runs, while Dasun Chamod and Dharshaka Sandeep (not out) contributed with 153 and 76 respectively. In reply, Ace Cricket School was bowled out for just 140 runs in 46 overs. Vinod Danushkwa was adjudged Player of the Match.
While the Foundation of Goodness Academy emerged victorious in the tournament, their journey towards success was characterized by camaraderie, strength, positive attitudes, and sportsmanship among team members as well as with their opponents.
“I sincerely hope that all these boys from Australia, South Africa, India, Nepal, UAE, who came here for this tournament will take something back. The experience you have gained by playing in a different country, on different surfaces, not so accustomed to what you have back home and the experience of mixing up with other cultures, that is what I always tell my boys, who come from very poor backgrounds. Their performance in this tournament had many ups and downs because some were sick; At one point, I had only 11 players for two games but we still got through. This showed their mental toughness and physical fitness. So it is an example for all the others around here to show the resilience of these boys who have gone through a lot of hardships in life back in Sri Lanka, but they have risen to the occasion and brought glory to the Foundation of Goodness and also to Sri Lanka,” Anura De Silva said in his concluding remarks at the ICAL 2023 closing ceremony.
The ICAL 2023 tournament was a memorable experience for all the young players from Cricket Academies across the world. It provided them with an opportunity to play against their peers at an international level, exposing them to a multitude of lessons in the spirit of cricket.
“Not only just the results, but we saw a lot of kids learning along the way, not just as cricketers but as people, different life experiences; for example, the teams that come from Australia they don’t get exposed to these cultures of Sri Lanka and India and all these different teams. Even for the Sri Lankan team, they got to experience how to play in different climates, when things are hard, how to manage, and how to get through the struggles. So I think there were a lot of benefits for the kids, not only in terms of cricket, but also in terms of life skills,” stressed Kevin Tyler.
Our talented young players from rural Sri Lanka showed incredible skill and determination, competing against seven other academies from across the globe in challenging conditions throughout the competition. We are truly proud of our very own cricket champions!
“The overall performance from the Foundation of Goodness was nothing but class across all three facets. They played the game in brilliant spirit and managed to keep their standards high throughout the entire tournament. Well deserved champions of ICAL India 01,” the International Cricket Academy League notes on its official website.
We extend our heartiest congratulations to Foundation of Goodness Academy boys led by Dharshaka Sandeep (C) and Dasun Chamod (VC) for a well-deserved victory. We are confident that these rising stars of the cricketing world will one day bring immense pride to our nation in the game of cricket!