September 19, 2001

Cricket Board changes venues to end Kandy hoodoo

The Sri Lankan cricket board has taken action to stop the much talked about Kandy "hoodoo" from striking again during the West Indies tour of Sri Lanka later this year.

Kandy has hosted the second Test of the past three Test series against South Africa, England and India, and on all occasions, Sri Lanka had ended up losing. This was after they had made a winning start to the series at Galle.

In an effort to change the losing pattern, the Cricket Board has, while drawing up the itinerary for West Indies and Zimbabwe tours here in November-January, has relegated Kandy to host the third and final Test of the two series.

West Indies will start the three-Test series at Galle and play the second Test at the SSC before coming to Kandy for the third and final Test.

Zimbabwe begin their three-Test series in Colombo at the SSC, after which they will travel to Galle for the second Test and then to Kandy for the third.

"There have been many opinions expressed with regard to the national's team' s losses in Kandy after making winning starts at Galle, and we thought a change of venues will bring about a change of results," said BCCSL interim committee co-ordinating secretary Kushil Gunasekera.

Sri Lanka's overall track record in Kandy is not all that good - seven defeats against two wins from 12 Tests. The last three Tests played there have ended in defeats, more recently against India by seven wickets last month.

However, Kandy have been granted two matches of the seven-match one-day international series involving hosts Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe. Kandy are scheduled to host Zimbabwe's matches against Sri Lanka on December 8 and West Indies on December 9.

Both touring sides will also play a practice one-day match against a Sri Lanka `A' team (prior to the one-day international series) at St. Anthony's College grounds in Katugastota, the school of champion off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and many others.

Gunasekera said that West Indies team manager Ricky Skirrit was in Sri Lanka early this month checking out on all the venues and hotels the team will be playing at and staying, and said that he was quite happy with what he had seen.

Gunasekera said that Matara who have been given a three-day side game against the tourists have to improve on their infrastructure and facilities before the match is played there.

"In fact, Skirrit has indicated that he would come again to check out the facilities at Matara closer to the start of the tour," said Gunasekera.

West Indies are due to arrive on November 2 and commence their 40-day tour with a three-day game against a Sri Lanka `A' side on November 4 in Colombo. The venue has yet to be decided but may finally be the NCC.

They play two side games before commencing the Test series, after which they stay back for one-day international triangular with Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe which will be worked off from December 6-20.

Zimbabwe will commence their 50-day tour of Sri Lanka with a one-day practice match against a Sri Lanka `A' team in Colombo before moving to Kandy.

They commence their Test leg of the tour with a four-day practice match against a Sri Lanka `A' side at a venue yet to be decided.

Gunasekera said that the Cricket Board would appoint a permanent venue co-ordinator to make periodic checks on cricket venues staging international matches.

WEST INDIES TOUR OF SRI LANKA
Nov. 4-6: v Sri Lanka `A' at Colombo
Nov. 9-11: v Sri Lanka `A' at Matara
Nov. 14-18: 1st Test at Galle International Stadium
Nov. 22-26: 2nd Test at SSC
Nov. 30-Dec. 4: 3rd Test at Asgiriya International Stadium

PRACTICE MATCHES
Dec. 2: Zimbabwe v Sri Lanka `A' at Colombo
Dec. 5: Zimbabwe v Sri Lanka `A' at SACK grounds, Kandy
Dec. 6: West Indies v Sri Lanka `A' at SACK grounds, Kandy

ONE-DAY INTERNATIONAL TRIANGULAR SERIES
Dec. 8: Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at Asgiriya International Stadium
Dec. 9: Zimbabwe v West Indies at Asgiriya International Stadium
Dec. 12: Sri Lanka v West Indies at R. Premadasa Stadium (d/n)
Dec. 13: Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe at R. Premadasa Stadium (d/n)
Dec. 15: Sri Lanka v West Indies at SSC
Dec. 16: West Indies v Zimbabwe at SSC
Dec. 19: Final at R. Premadasa Stadium (d/n)
Dec. 20: Reserve day.

ZIMBABWE TOUR OF SRI LANKA
Dec. 21-24: v Sri Lanka `A' at venue to be decided
Dec. 27-31: 1st Test at SSC
Jan. 4-8: 2nd Test at Galle International Stadium
Jan. 12-16: 3rd Test at Asgiriya International Stadium.

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