Work is in progress at the Khettarama (left) and Sooriyawewa (right) Stadiums captured by our cameraman Shantha Ratnayake during the West Indian tour.
If rains continue to go on a pillage or not, the SLC authorities are more than confident that the three 2011 venues could be completed on schedule nineteen days hence.
The SLC authorities made a valiant effort to make the three grounds at Hambantota, Kandy and Colombo more familiar to the Lankan cricketers by playing the international games against the West Indies, but the continuous rains that prevailed over the whole island saw the second phase of the tour hitting a watery end and led to a postponement of the matches.
The second Test at the R. Premadasa Stadium was akin to a match in progress in a pigs sty. Though the playing area was unhindered, the rest of the location was knee deep in a puddle. One could not just risk wearing a clean garb and keep it for more than a few seconds. While reports said about dry taps in Hambantota.
SLC Interim Committee secretary Nishantha Ranatunga is unperturbed by the uproar. He is certain that the deadlines would be met by the two state institutions which have undertaken the task of completing the job, for which the ICC gave a grant of a staggering US$ 750 million.
The State Engineering Corporation and the Ports Authority are the two institutions that have been entrusted with this task.
Explaining matters to the Sunday Times Ranatunga said, “The prevailing weather is no hamper to the situation and the work is in progress without a break, and they have taken this up as a national challenge. The State Engineering Corporation and the Ports Authority are going pell-mell towards their goal and are confident that the venues could be completed by the end of the month.”
However the original cut-of date given by the ICC for the completion of the three grounds was November 30, 2010.“We are sure that the main structures could be completed by the end of the month and to do the final touches, we still have time till the 15th of January, by which time the ICC authorities would be here to take over the facilities”. When asked if there are fall-back plans if things happen to go wrong, Ranatunga said “Yes, we have earmarked the Dambulla Stadium, the SSC, and the Saravanamuttu Oval as the fall-back venues, but still we are very confident such a situation may not occur”.
Meanwhile, in response to the question of the SLC having to pay compensation as a result of the postponement of the ODI series against the West Indies, the Director of Cricket Operations SLC Ashley de Silva said, “We have an agreement with the TV providers that there would be no compensation involved as a result of the postponement and there is a clause in the agreement with regard to that. We went through all those hurdles before we took the final decision to postpone the series”.
Meanwhile the selection of the final squad of thirty players was still not completed. The squad of thirty has to be handed over to the ICC by December 19.
It is learned that a squad of 34 has been prepared and the list includes the names of veterans Chaminda Vaas and Sanath Jayasuriya, but the selectors who met on Tuesday could not prune it down to the required 30 and are hoping to do so by tomorrow.
(Please read Musing )