‘They deserve it fully’ – Siraj donates Asia Cup final prize money to groundspersons

Sri Lanka

Rain was a constant in the Sri Lanka leg of matches at the Asia Cup, and the groundspersons in Pallekele and Colombo put in a heroic effort to ensure more cricket was played than might have been thought possible. From the winning India side, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli, at different points in the tournament, thanked the groundspersons for their work, and Mohammed Siraj went one step further after the final, donating his Player-of-the-Match prize money to the team of workers.

“This cash prize [US $5000] goes to the groundsmen. They deserve it fully. This tournament wouldn’t have been possible without them,” Siraj said after putting in a spectacular spell – 6 for 21 – which turned the title clash into a no-contest, India winning in 21.3 overs of cricket.

Earlier in the day, the Asian Cricket Council had announced an award of US $50,000 for the team of groundspersons as well.

Images of the groundspersons reacting to approaching clouds, at the ready with the covers, was a regular during the broadcasts, and the alacrity and expertise with which they protected the pitch and then the outfield impressed all and sundry.

Despite all the rain around in Sri Lanka, only one match ended in a no-result, the group-stage contest between Pakistan and India. The Super Four game between the same opponents went into the reserve day (it was the only Super Four game to have one), while the India vs Nepal and Pakistan vs Sri Lanka games were curtailed.

The final, too, was affected mildly by rain. It came down soon after the toss, and the start of the game was delayed by ten minutes.

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