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July 20, 2007
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has launched a major development drive to upgrade media facilities at all international venues in time for England's tour in October and the 2011 World Cup.
The P. Saravanamuttu Stadium, which hosted Sri Lanka's inaugural Test match against England in February 1982, has been the first stadium to be upgraded just days after the local and foreign media lambasted its facilities during the second Test against Bangladesh.
The media centre was first contracted in 2001 with basic facilities on the understanding that it would be developed into a complete unit with time. However, the promised renovations did not materialise and end result was the stadium being starved of international cricket.
However, the stinging public criticism of facilities during the second Test encouraged the ground's owners, the Tamil Union, to take swift action. With two weeks the box was transformed from an empty corrugated-roofed space with electrical problems to a modern air-conditioned centre equipped with comfortable seating, power points and Wi-Fi.
The total cost to Tamil Union for the upliftment of the media centre was Rs. 1.8 million. But Sri Lanka Cricket secretary K. Mathivanan stated that SLC would reimburse 50% of the cost. "Tamil Union has done a grand job on the media centre and they deserve all the credit as much as the flak they received prior to the refurbishment. We are in the process of upgrading all the media centres at major international venues," Mathivanan said.
"The media centres at the R. Premadasa Stadium, Galle and Dambulla will be upgraded by SLC to whom the venues have been leased out. The SSC will be informed shortly that their media centre also needs to be upgraded before the England series. We will follow the same procedures with them as we have for Tamil Union."
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