SLC to develop cricket facilities in North
By Anjana Kaluarachchi
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) officials visited Jaffna yesterday and visited a number of sites, and based on their visit have initiated a number of plans to develop cricket in the Jaffna peninsula, which has long been neglected by the country’s cricket authorities.
SLC President Shammi Silva stated they will construct a cricket stadium in Mallakam with a turf wicket to play domestic cricket, and the investment will be in the region of Rs 20-25 million.
SLC also visited some of the schools in Jaffna to inspect the available facilities and improve the infrastructure.
Silva stated that they are going to provide turf wickets for Hindu College Jaffna, St. John’s College Jaffna and Central College Jaffna, while developing the overall ground conditions of St. Patrick’s College Jaffna, which already has a turf wicket.
In 2016 SLC stated they would be building two cricket stadiums: one in Jaffna and one in Polonnaruwa, and allocated Rs 200 million budget for the purpose.
Former SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala even visited Jaffna and inspected a 50-acre plot of land in Mandathiv, but the project never got off the ground. Incumbent SLC officials have also visited Mandathiv area to inspect present conditions.
According to Silva, work will immediately start on the four schools and the Mallakam City ground, and they hope to complete the projects within a few months.
Earlier, SLC’s grandiose plan to build Sri Lanka’s biggest international cricket stadium in Homagama had to be shelved after several cricket legends criticised the project, which compelled Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to step in and order the suspension of the project following a meeting with the ex-cricketers and officials.
During this meeting former skipper Kumar Sangakkara was very vocal about lack of facilities and attention paid to school cricket, especially in the Northern District.