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2011 World Cup news

ICC happy with state of progress of Sri Lanka venues

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

February 13, 2010

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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

The ICC is happy with the progress made at the three Sri Lankan venues for the ICC World Cup in 2011, since its previous inspection in December. Sri Lanka is set to host 12 World Cup matches in Colombo (R Premadasa Stadium), Pallekele and Hambantota.

"When we came here for the first visit in December, Sri Lanka Cricket gave us deadlines for the construction. We went to the venues yesterday (Friday) and it was very heartening to see that they were ahead of the times they had given us. I don't see any issues at all with any of the facilities in Sri Lanka," said Dhiraj Malhotra, the ICC World Cup coordinator.

"Yesterday was really an eye opener to see how much they've progressed. Realistically we weren't expecting them to progress the way they have, that was very heartening for us. Everything else looks like as scheduled and everything is in place," Malhotra said.

Pallakele has already hosted an Under-19 match, during the tri-series in late 2009, and hence the ICC delegation - comprising Malhotra, Andy Atkinson the ICC pitch consultant, and Eugene van Vuuren the ICC structural engineer - concentrated their energies on the work in progress at the other two venues. Hambantota passed the scrutiny with flying colours.

"Pallekele was already under control it was really Hambantota because when we went there in December we were only given plans. We wanted to see if they were up to the given plans or not. They achieved more than what they promised," said Malhotra.

Atkinson was happy with the status of the pitch, but noted that it still had some way to go before it could be deemed match-fit. "The square is looking very nice but there is still a little progress to do. It's still a very young square and I've advised them not to play there for a couple of more months to allow the grass to settle and for the soil to get compact, the roots and everything so that when they start playing they won't make any damage to the square."

Atkinson was however a little concerned that the R Premadasa Stadium was running behind schedule. "The only thing that concerns me slightly is the R Premadasa Stadium because they are basically doing the work and haven't completed anything yet on the field of play. We are a little bit behind schedule. In Hambantota and in Pallakele where they are basically playing cricket that's not an issue."

The delegation is set to make another inspection in May to assess the situation. "We'll keep monitoring Hambantota and R Premadasa Stadium till a certain time. When we come again in May we will have a clearer picture whether it will meet the deadline of October 31. As per current work it looks like it will," Atkinson said.

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