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Sri Lanka World Cup venues on track - ICC

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

December 14, 2009

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A view of the Pallekele Stadium, November 27, 2009
A lot of work has already been completed at the Pallekele Stadium © ESPNcricinfo Ltd
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An ICC delegation in Sri Lanka has expressed satisfaction at the work being done at the three venues which will host the twelve 2011 World Cup matches. Sri Lanka is due to host matches at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, and at two new venues which are currently under construction at Hambantota, down South, and at Pallekele, near Kandy in the Central Province.

"At the moment, we are content with the timelines in place and we fully expect all three venues to be ready by the first day of the tournament," James Fitzgerald, the ICC's communications officer, said. "It's an update we are receiving and getting a personal view of the progress being made. Work is in progress and a lot needs to be done.

"We need to visit some venues more often than others. We will have one or two more venue inspections before the end of next year. Over the next 12 months or so we will be finalising all the details."

Regarding Pallekele, he said the playing surface had already been tested. "The playing area is complete, they played some Under-19 matches there recently and the construction of the building, stands and all other necessary structures is underway. A lot of work has already been done and a lot of work needs to be done."

The new media centre will be the only new addition to the R Premadasa Stadium: "It's no stranger to international cricket and I am sure it will live upto it's very high standards," Fitzgerald said. "There is a brand new state-of-the-art media centre being put in place for the World Cup, construction of which will start very shortly. The previous media box will not be used."

The Hambantota venue is expected to be completed by August 2010. "The playing area has been levelled off and it's a huge playing area, the biggest in Sri Lanka," Fitzgerald said. "Construction has begun on the outside building and the stands and all the various other necessities that go along in making it a world-class venue. This is an initial venue inspection there will be more in the future."

Fitzgerald said the venue inspection tour formed part of a normal routine procedure which the ICC follows at every major and minor ICC event. "We go into the countries involved and have a look at the venues and make a report back and advice the local organising committee as to the best way to proceed, whether it's to do with media facilities, commercial aspects and any issues around the pitch in the playing area. There are various aspects we talk about as we inspect on the way. This is very much a part of that routine, a part of that procedure."

The delegation also visited the four other venues which will be used for training and practice during the tournament - the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC), Nondescripts Cricket Club (NCC) and Colombo Cricket Club (all in Colombo) and Asgiriya Stadium in Kandy.

"All the training grounds I looked at are fine," Andy Atkinson, the ICC's pitch consultant who was also part of the delegation, said. "Overall, it's a nice outlook at the moment. We are going to keep up-to-date by liaising with the people in charge of the World Cup in Sri Lanka."

Having been involved in the construction of the Rangiri Dambulla Stadium eight years ago, Atkinson expected the new stadium in Hambantota to be completed on time.

"They built the Dambulla Stadium in about 4-5 months. Having been involved in the construction, I know what the capabilities are in Sri Lanka regarding building stadiums very quickly," he said. "I am fairly comfortable with the way things are going at the moment. It's not a real concern."

The ICC delegation left for India on Monday to assess two other venues, at Chennai and Bangalore.

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