A group of up-and-coming cricketers had the experience of a lifetime when they were coached by Sri Lanka and Surrey legend Kumar Sangakkara, thanks to Surrey’s long-term partner Kia.
On a sunny day in south London, 33 youngsters between the ages of 11-16 were offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by Kia, the Club’s headline partner, to be coached and inspired by Sangakkara alongside coaches from the Surrey Cricket Foundation. The group also got the golden chance to take the field and play a competitive game on the central wicket at the ground!
The event began with the morning practice session, where the young cricketers had a hit in the nets, participated in cricket-related games and fielding practice, as well as picked Sangakkara’s brain about everything cricket before breaking for lunch.
The wicket-keeper batter electrified fans with his stunning stroke-making in his three years at Surrey. The silky, Sri Lankan left-hander scored just under 3,500 First-Class runs at an average of over 60, including 14 tons, during his time in south London.
Prior to heading out into the middle for the cricket matches in the afternoon, the group was also taken on an insightful tour of The Kia Oval. They were entertained with famous stories about the Club’s and the ground’s history and were provided behind-the-scenes access to many iconic locations at The Kia Oval.
To make the day even more memorable for youngsters, each participant received a certificate from Sangakkara as well.
Kumar Sangakkara, one of the greatest cricketers of all time and a fan favourite in Kennington, said: “Grassroots day at the Kia Oval is our chance to give back to the game we love. It’s about teaching young players how to move, developing good technique, and building confidence on and off the field, but most of all, it’s about inspiring passion for the game.
“My own journey in cricket began at school in Sri Lanka, and choosing which sport to focus on was tricky. It was the advice of my college principal that inspired me to stick with cricket. His words came just at the right time and helped put me on the path to a wonderful career in cricket.
“I hope we can create moments like that for the kids here today because with the right inspiration and the right time who knows what they can go on to achieve!”