The Murali Harmony Cup is a unique reconciliation tournament conceptualised to develop school cricket in Sri Lanka’s rural areas, especially in the war-affected north and east, as well as promoting community-building, the development of cross-cultural friendships, and the creation of goodwill and harmony within Sri Lankan society.
The tournament, developed and managed by the Foundation of Goodness and Red Dot Tours, was first staged in July 2011 in Seenigama. The tournament was a great success, providing a diverse mix of children from different backgrounds with a rich and memorable experience and highlighting the enormous positive potential of such an event.
The following year, in 2012, Sri Lanka was hosting the ICC World Twenty20 and this presented a unique opportunity to change the focus of the tournament towards domestic schools. Cricket legends Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena, both trustees of the Foundation of Goodness, argued that the best way to develop cricket in the North and East was by inviting teams from all corners of Sri Lanka to play in towns like Kilinochchi, Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya and Mankulam. It would encourage and inspire talented cricketers as well as providing a unique opportunity for cricketers from the south to gain a life-enriching experience.
The invitation tournament includes Sri Lanka’s leading Under 19’s schoolboy teams from all regions of Sri Lanka, including Central Province, Western Province, Southern Province, Uva, Wayamba and North Central Province. The teams are invited each year by the tournament committee in recognition of their performances in the preceding year.
These schools will compete with combined schools’ squads from the Northern and Eastern Provinces. These teams are combined to ensure fair competition given the relatively poor cricketing infrastructure in these regions and also to help ensure that the most talented cricketers in this region gain a valuable opportunity to develop and showcase their talents.
To reflect the ICC World Twenty20 model, and in recognition and support of the rapid development of the world women’s game, the event also includes eight Under 23 women’s clubs.
All matches are played at post-conflict school venues across Sri Lanka’s northern regions of Mankulam, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mullaitivu.