Australia’s tour on schedule, says SLC Secretary

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The worsening economic and political situation in Sri Lanka has cast doubts over Australia’s tour to the country next month, although both Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and Cricket Australia (CA) are maintaining that the month-long series will go ahead.

“At present the tour will go on as planned. We will be looking at the developments in the next couple of days and decide what to do,” Mohan de Silva, the Secretary of SLC, told Cricbuzz on Wednesday (4 May).

Australia are to play three T20Is, five ODIs and two Tests from 7 June to 12 July.

The uncertainty, which even the SLC official is conceding, is because of the situation at ground zero. There has been an acute shortage of essentials, fuel, food stocks; the people are having to experience long hours of power outage. There was a 12-hour power cut last month but the condition has seemingly improved with a fluctuating scenario of three hours, give or take. There was no power cut on May Day.

In that backdrop, there were questions if the SLC should have the day-night games in the first place with a few stakeholders of the SLC of the view that the white-ball games could be converted into day games. De Silva said a call will be taken on that soon, but an SLC official said the Board is not dependent on the national grid.

“We have our own generators and we don’t depend on the Government’s power. It will be a different case if there is a fuel shortage,” said Charith Senanayake, a former manager of the Sri Lanka national team. “The political situation has no bearing on the game and SLC is always apolitical.”

SLC is also planning to start its full-fledged domestic season on 22 May.

“Whether day or day-night game is up to the host nation,” said a spokesman of CA, confirming that the tour will take place. “There is no change to the status of the tour. Our head of security confirms that there are no concerns about the tour proceeding as scheduled from either side. The squad will arrive (in Sri Lanka) in June.”

The option of moving the series out of Sri Lanka was considered, but UAE is not the right place for cricket in June-July because of extreme heat.