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Cricket World Cup: ICC admits Sri Lanka venues delay

By Saroj Pathirana
BBC Sinhala Service

The Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Hambantota
Heavy rain forced Sri Lanka to delay the one-day series

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has admitted that some work still needs to be completed at the World Cup venues in Sri Lanka.

The ICC has raised concerns at the progress of construction of the venues.

The World Cup, co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, begins on 19 February after a week of warm-up games.

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said on Wednesday that the venues for the upcoming one-day series against the West Indies have been changed.

ICC media and communications manager James Fitzgerald told the BBC Sinhala Service it wanted Sri Lanka to shift the venues for the series against the West Indies as "there is still some work required to be carried out."

SRI LANKA'S WORLD CUP VENUES
R Premadasa Stadium (Colombo) - 5 group matches, 1 quarter-final, 1 semi-final
Pallekele Stadium (Kandy) - 3 group matches
Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium (Hambantota) - 2 group matches

The three one-day internationals against the Windies were originally scheduled for early December, but were postponed until late January and early February because of persistent monsoon rains.

The rearranged matches were initially set to be played at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Hambantota and R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, Colombo, on 3 and 6 February.

All three games will now be played at another Colombo venue, the Sinhalese Sports Club.

"SLC wishes to announce that in view of a directive issued by the ICC to the effect that no games should be played at any of the World Cup venues, SLC is compelled to make the above changes," the board said in a statement.

Fitzgerald admitted there is an "exclusivity period" whereby no non-event-related activities can take place on the ground 21 days prior to the first tournament match or 14 days prior to the first warm-up game.

"The ICC insisted on this exclusivity period due to the fact that there is still some work required to be carried out on the venues, so clearly it's what's best for the tournament. We informed SLC of this in the first week of January," he told the BBC.

The ICC insisted on this exclusivity period due to the fact that there is still some work required to be carried out on the venues so clearly it's what's best for the tournament

ICC media and communications manager James Fitzgerald

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror reported that senior Sri Lanka players, including former captain Mahela Jayawardene, raised concerns over the condition of the pitch at the R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.

But SLC chairman DS de Silva, who only last week told the BBC that venues will be handed over to the ICC on 20 January, categorically denied the reports.

"There is no truth in these reports," he told BBC Sinhala Service.

"There was no accusation whatsoever from the players. In both R Premadasa Stadium and Hambantota International Stadium, the pitch is ready, wicket is ready, grandstand is in very good condition and media room is ready."

He said all three venues will be handed over to the ICC on 28 January.



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see also
Sri Lanka board chief slams media
21 Jan 11 |  Sri Lanka
Muralitharan sets retirement date
21 Jan 11 |  Sri Lanka
Vaas ponders Sri Lanka retirement
11 Jan 11 |  Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka postpone one-day series
09 Dec 10 |  Sri Lanka
Cricket World Cup 2011
09 Mar 11 |  Cricket
West Indies in Sri Lanka 2010-11
19 Nov 10 |  Cricket


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