Australia men's team donate tour prize money to crisis-hit Sri Lanka children

The donation made by Australia men's cricketers will go towards UNICEF's programs to support nutrition, healthcare, safe drinking water, education, and mental health services of Lankan children.
Australia's cricket captain Pat Cummins. (Photo | AP)
Australia's cricket captain Pat Cummins. (Photo | AP)

MELBOURNE: Australia's men's cricket team have donated their prize money from their recent tour of Sri Lanka for purpose of supporting children and families which have been affected by the nation's worst economic crisis in decades.

Led by Pat Cummins, a United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Australia ambassador, the team will donate USD 45,000 to the organisation's Sri Lanka appeal.

Australia cricketers had witnessed the crisis first-hand during their all-format tour to the Island nation in June-July this year. Long lines at petrol stations, cries of thousands of peaceful protestors around Galle International Cricket Ground were common sites throughout the tour. Similar demonstrations in the country's capital Colombo forced the resignation of the country's president and prime minister.

Food prices have skyrocketed by 80 per cent and over two-thirds of households have reduced food consumption. The school has been limited to three days a week as travel is hindered by fuel shortages. Long queues for medicines, health services have become common and there is a shortage of clean drinking water.

The funds revealed by Australian players will go towards programmes by UNICEF that support nutrition, healthcare, safe drinking water, education, and mental health services for 1.7 million vulnerable in-need children in the country.

"It was very clear to us how much day-to-day life for Sri Lankans is being impacted. When the team saw what was happening it was an easy decision to donate our prize money to UNICEF, who have been in Sri Lanka for more than 50 years supporting the needs of children and families," quoted Cummins as saying.

Aaron Finch stated that the Sri Lankan public warmly welcomed the team in the series and hoped that the tour "helped lift their spirits in some small way"

Previously, Cummins and Cricket Australia had helped India during the COVID-19 crisis in 2021, donating USD 50,000 for oxygen supplies. Indian Premier League 2021 was postponed due to this crisis.

"Last year Australian cricketers got behind India in its time of crisis during the peak of the COVID-19 Delta wave and we thank them for again giving generously to help Sri Lankans impacted by the current crisis. Australia has a strong bond with Sri Lanka that goes beyond the match days and this donation is gratefully received to support the long-term wellbeing of Sri Lanka's families," said UNICEF Australia CEO Tony Stuart.

Sri Lanka hosted Australia for an all-format series in June-July. The series saw some fantastic cricket from both sides. Australia captured the T20I series 2-1, while Sri Lanka took the ODI series 3-2. The two-Test series, also called the Warne-Muralitharan Trophy, was shared by both 1-1

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