Former Test Players in High Profile Tour of Sri Lanka

By Walter Jayawardhana

Former New Zealand bowler Danny Morrison and Pakistan opener Aamir Sohail are taking part in the inaugural tour of Sri Lanka by the English nomadic side Stoics Crusaders, starting on February 3, a co-manager of Stoics, Chris Heron said..

Founded 134 years ago, the Stoics - the word means "making virtue the highest good" - have 205 members and this will be their first tour abroad. Raman Subba Row, who managed the first England tour of Sri Lanka in 1982, and Dave Whatmore,former Sri Lankan coach who led the team to a world cup victory are members of Stoics, he said.

The tour was launched on January 24 at The Sri Lankan High Commission in Hyde Park, London when Kshenuka Senewiratne, the Sri Lankan High Commissioner, told the thirty strong party "cricket is a great bridge builder in our country and it will be a wonderful experience for you."

Gavin Scovell who has produced and directed scores of Test matches for Channel 4, Sky and ESPN around the world, planned the tour along with co-manager Chris Heron. He thanked the Commissioner for her support and explained the origins of the declaration in cricket.

"I know the Sri Lankans like limited overs matches but we prefer the more gentlemanly way of playing one day games," he said. "A.E. Stoddart, who captained England at both cricket and rugby and was known as 'My dear victorious Stod', came up with the idea of the declaration after he scored a then world record 485 for the Stoics against Hampstead in 1886. His later years saw his hopes and health decline and he shot himself through the head in 1915."

Gerald Plumbly, the Queen's former veterinary surgeon, is the President of The Stoics at the age of 93 but unfortunately he won't be in Sri Lanka. There will be five matches, all played at Test grounds, at Dambulla, Kandy, Galle and the Sinhalese Sports Club. The party will be staying at the Cinnamon Lodge in Habarana, the Earls Regency Hotel in Kandy, Beach Villas in Galle and the Mount Lavinia in Colombia.

The tour, which has been organised by Reddot Tours, will conclude with a three day stopover in the Maldives, arriving back in London on February 24.

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