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World Cup attracts blessings and fans

Cricket fever grips hosts Sri Lanka, Bangladesh as showcase event nears

Ajantha Mendis (right) celebrates after taking a wicket during a match Ajantha Mendis (right) celebrates after taking a wicket during a match
  • ucanews.com reporters, Colombo and Dhaka
  • February 14, 2011
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Sri Lanka's national cricket team has received divine blessings ahead of the upcoming cricket world cup to be held in South Asia.

The country’s two most senior Buddhist monks, Venerable Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala Mahanayake thero and Udugama Sri Buddharakkhitha Mahanyake thero gave the team their blessings when Sri Lanka all-rounder Thilakaranthne Dilshan visited them recently.

“They blessed the whole team,” Thilakaranthne Dilshan said.

“It’s raised our confidence. We can play well, but their blessing is very important to us,” he added.

The Cricket World Cup organized by the International Cricket Council will be held February 19 to April 2, with India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as the host nations.

“I usually visit Kandy temple [Dalada Maligawa] before a tournament, but this one is very special which is why I went to the see the monks,” Dilshan said.

The national cricket team, like the country, is a mixture of Buddhists, Hindus and Christians.

Several Catholic cricketers preparing for the tournament are also looking beyond hard training and practice in the quest for success.

Spin bowler, Ajantha Mendis, says he is looking for God’s guidance and blessings during the tournament.

Meanwhile, the upcoming event is providing a little extra excitement at a Christian cricket tournament in Bangladesh.

Nine teams from various Catholic parishes in Bangladesh are competing in the 7th Christian Cricket Tournament organized by the Episcopal Commission for Youth (ECY).

Much of the talk at the February 5-18 competition at Notre Dame College in Dhaka is about the cricketing showcase.

“World Cup cricket has a massive influence on youths who are very passionate fans,” said one competitor Suren D’Costa.

“People are thronging to get tickets and I’m sure the Tigers [Bangladesh’s national ream] will put in great performances as they are playing at home and make us proud,” he added.

Father Patrick Simon Gomes, ECY secretary told ucanews.com said the world competition has added zest to this year’s local tournament for Christian youths which is becoming more popular and teaching the spirit of cricket.

He also applauded the world cup fever that’s gripped the country.

“It’s great to have World Cup Cricket in Bangladesh. We pray and wish the best of luck to our cricket team. Our young cricketers can learn a lot from renowned and popular cricketers from various countries,” he added.

Bangladesh will host eight matches at the World Cup including two quarter finals.

Related reports
Sri Lanka cricket icon pays tribute to Church
All faiths go in to bat for national cricket team
Catholics pray for Sri Lankan cricketers following attack
Pushing the boundaries with Christian cricket

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