Sri Lankan Cricket Captain Kumar Sangakarra took time off to speak to children about the importance of good nutrition, sanitation and girls education at the Dambulla stadium.

Colombo, Wednesday 23 June – As India and Sri Lanka prepare for the Micromax Asia Cup final - Captain of the Sri Lankan team Kumar Sangakkara and bowler Muttiah Muralitharan took time off to speak to children from Matale, about good nutrition, sanitation and girls' education.

"We are very excited to lend our voices to this noble effort and create awareness about what is happening to our children because we don't just care about cricket, we are fathers, we are husbands, we are brothers and we really care about our communities. This for us is the ultimate Hat Trick - it goes beyond everything,” said Sangakkara.

Last week at a joint press conference held by the Asian Cricket Council and UNICEF, the captains of the four nations competing for the Micromax Asia Cup, endorsed the Healthy Hat-Trick: invest in good nutrition, sanitation and girls’ education – three critical interventions to save children’s lives.

UNICEF Sri Lanka Representative, Philippe Duamelle, said: “It was great to see Sri Lanka’s Farveez Maharoof take the first Hat-Trick of the tournament. When it comes to the Healthy Hat-Trick for children, Sri Lanka has made great progress - investing in girls' education and sanitation, however, challenges in nutrition still remain.”

The ACC and UNICEF called on governments and communities to join the cricketers and commit themselves to take bold action for children. “Cricketers are not just sportsmen. They are champions, champions for children, champions for change,” said ACC Chief Executive Syed Ashraful Huq.

Three million children under the age of five die in South Asia each year from malnutrition and diseases related to poor sanitation. While educating girls is crucial to the survival and health of children and families.

Sri Lankan Spinner Muttiah Muralitharan speaks to children about the importance of good nutrition, sanitation and girls education at the Dambulla stadium.

ACC Captains Unite for UNICEF's Healthy Hat-Trick

Photos by UNICEF/SL/Suzanne Davey

Filed June 23rd, 2010