Warne's pledge for the tsunami-hit
by Cricket Archive Staff Reporter

Ground:Galle International Stadium
Player:SK Warne, GD McGrath

DateLine: 29th December 2006


Test cricket's leading wicket-taker Shane Warne has committed his charitable foundation to donate 20,000 dollars (15,600 USD) to tsunami reconstruction efforts in Sri Lanka, reports said Thursday.


The move, announced at a breakfast event in Melbourne on December 26, followed reports that the foundation had failed to deliver a promised 50,000 dollars (39,000 USD) for repair of the devastated cricket ground in the Sri Lankan town of Galle.


Galle is where Warne took his 500th Test wicket in March 2004.


The Sydney Morning Herald said Warne told the celebrity breakfast - attended by Australia's richest man James Packer and Warne's fellow retiring cricketer Glenn McGrath - that a promotion at last year's Boxing Day Test for the sale of wristbands had failed to attract much support. Only 5,000 of the three-dollar wristbands had been sold, he reportedly said. That information was conveyed to Galle International Cricket Club this year but more than five months after the foundation had promised in an email that the fund-raiser would net 50,000 dollars for the reconstruction of the ground, the newspaper said.


The foundation's then chief executive Brad Grapsas told the director of the Galle club, Jayananda Warnaweera, that the cost of the promotion was greater than the amount collected and there would be no money forthcoming.


Warne told this week's breakfast he had been greatly moved by a visit he made to Galle a month after the 2004 tsunami devastated the coastal town and swamped its picturesque cricket ground. He handed out food, cricket kit and toys to children orphaned in the tsunami, which killed an estimated 31,000 people in Sri Lanka.


Sri Lanka Cricket told AFP this week that work had got underway at the ground and there were plans to hold a Test match during the England tour planned for late October-November 2007.


"I can say we're giving the Sri Lankan Cricket Club 20,000 dollars today, which goes towards helping build some cricket grounds," Warne told the function, according to the Herald.


Warne became the first bowler to pass 700 Test wickets during the fourth Ashes Test against England in Melbourne on Boxing Day. The 37-year-old leg-spinner will play his final Test in Sydney next week after announcing his retirement from Test cricket.


Meanwhile, Galle cricket official Warnaweera welcomed Warne's offer.


"It is nice on Shane's part to offer the money and it is for a very worthy cause," Warnaweera, also a former Sri Lankan Test spinner, told AFP. "On behalf of the whole of southern Sri Lanka's cricket fans, I wish to express my thanks to him. We will have a totally new Galle Stadium when the work is completed and Shane could be proud of his contribution."


Sri Lanka have won six out of the 11 Tests played at the venue.