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SLC commits to building new stadium in Colombo

Sri Lanka Cricket is intent on constructing a new 40,000-capacity stadium in Colombo in addition to the existing R Premadasa Stadium in Khettarama.Primarily, the board appears to be interested the highest-capacity sports venue in the country in order to strengthen bids on major ICC events in the next rights cycle. This, despite calls by players for Khettarama’s existing training facilities to be enhanced.SLC has ordered a feasibility study on the new ground, and according to the board CEO has been “allocated” 26 acres of land by the Sri Lankan government, east of the city, in Homagama. On Sunday, SLC president Shammi Silva appeared in a photo-opportunity with government minister Bandula Gunawardana at the proposed site. While a public commitment to building the stadium has been made, many of the details are yet to take shape.For now, board CEO Ashley de Silva has said that while the government – and by extension the taxpayer – will provide land, the cost of the stadium’s construction “will have to be borne by SLC”. This would be the second stadium SLC has committed to building in the last few years. The board had also announced in 2017 that it would build a stadium in the northern city of Jaffna, but has failed to begin work on that ground. De Silva confirmed that a feasibility study on the Jaffna venue has not been completed yet.”Discussions are going on about the stadium at a high level about the ground in Colombo, which the board’s executive has been made aware of,” de Silva told ESPNcricinfo. “We are looking at it very positively for now and we have got the process started. The details will have to be worked out.”The ground at Khettarama, which currently hosts the majority of limited-overs matches played in Colombo, is now believed by the board to be insufficient in light of the board’s desire to bid on two major tournaments in particular.”We’re making bids for World Cups, and you would need five stadiums in order to host a big event of that nature,” de Silva said. “Tournaments like this bring money into the country.”The Khettarama ground only has maximum capacity of around 25,000 and we would need another floodlit ground in Colombo for day-night matches. Khettarama is also being used as a training venue for all our squads.”The ICC, however, does not appear to have stipulated a certain number of venues in a potential host country, nor required those venues to have a certain capacity, in order to make successful World Cup bids. These factors do come into play when the ICC assesses a potential host nation’s suitability, but general practice is that upgrades to existing facilities or construction of new stadiums occurs only after tournament hosting rights have been secured.In a normal year, the Khettarama ground is frequently filled to capacity for T20 matches, but almost always has seating to spare during ODI games. Tests in Colombo are usually played at either the P Sara Oval or the Sinhalese Sports Club ground, neither of which have floodlights. Capacity is not a concern for the longest format, in any case.Although SLC is expressing significant interest in building a stadium, it has not addressed long-standing calls to upgrade the existing training facilities at Khettarama. High-profile players have called for a swimming pool to be built at Khettarama to assist with low-impact rehabilitation work, but five years after a pool’s construction was put in motion, council approval has not yet been obtained for the structure.There is also no indoor nets facility at Khettarama, which has proved a challenge not only to Sri Lanka’s own players, but to visiting teams, who must train indoors at the Nondescripts Cricket Club across town.It is unclear whether the ICC has ever indicated that Sri Lanka must have a certain number of stadiums of a certain capacity in order to make a successful bid for hosting rights. The 2012 World T20 was held successfully across three venues – Khettarama, Hambantota and Pallekele – while the Dambulla ground has also come back into use for day-night cricket. The SSC, P Sara and Galle grounds also remain viable options for day games, though it does not appear as if any of those grounds will get floodlights installed anytime soon.In the early parts of this year, Khettarama underwent renovations. According to de Silva, SLC has not yet worked out how much the new stadium in Homagama would cost.

Originaly Published on 2020-05-19 16:40:48 by

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