Manuka T20 between Australia and Sri Lanka poses a question to about 5000 Canberrans – by Isobel Cootes
About 5000 Canberrans have a hard decision to make on Tuesday, do they support Australia or Sri Lanka, and the Ramasundara family is one of them.
Manuka Oval is expecting a big turn out from cricket fans, and in particular Canberra’s Sri Lankan community for Australia’s T20 match this week.
“I was born in Sri Lanka and it was my granddad who got me into cricket. I came over here to study and set up the University of Canberra’s Cricket Club, and the first game that I ever watched was in Australia, against Sri Lanka,” he said.
“Everybody in my family absolutely loves cricket. My wife and my daughter will most likely go for Sri Lanka, but my son and I go for Australia. Because through umpiring, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing quite a lot of the current cricketers come up through the ranks.”
MORE IN CANBERRA SPORT
- Historic first ALW win for Phoenix ends Canberra’s finals hopes
- Canberra’s finals hopes decided on Friday
- United goalkeeper ruled out for the season, promoting 17-year-old to number-one spot
- ACT teenager beats men’s player, eyes junior grand slam berth
- James Slipper could shatter Wallabies’ Test cap record
Having been involved with the game at an elite level for almost 15 years, umpiring Prime Minister’s XI games, ODIs and most international teams, Ramasundara has rubbed shoulders with some of Australia’s stars taking to the field for the series including Mitch Starc and Glenn Maxwell.
Starc and Maxwell helped Australia to a 20-run win on Friday night at the SCG, to take a 1-0 lead in the five-game series.
The series remains at the SCG for game two on Sunday night before the third game in Canberra on Tuesday night.
The umpire turned junior coach said he expected a few thousand Canberrans with Sri Lankan heritage would be at Manuka.
“I did see quite a lot of them have also travelled to Sydney to see the game [on Friday], and obviously they will be here for the home game, and few people who will travel from interstate too to be in Canberra for the game as well,” Ramasundara said.
“It’s the perfect opportunity for Canberrans to see international teams in action. We were lucky with the women’s Ashes, they did such a good job here and to see quality cricket, and now to get Sri Lanka is really, really good.”
Fans get the opportunity to watch the two teams in action before the Men’s T20 World Cup in October and November, where Australia will look to defend their title on home soil.