Sri Lanka Cricket's (SLC) interim committee took a decision last week to upgrade ten cricket venues to international standards. According to SLC sources, these venues are being upgraded with the expertise extended by the ICC.
The ICC, it is reliably learnt, has shown a keen interest in using Sri Lanka as the venue for its future tournaments, and want to upgrade the grounds to achieve this. The ICC has so far hosted three of their tournaments in Sri Lanka with success - the under-19 World Cup in 2000 and 2006 and the Champions Trophy in 2002.
Certain guidelines, which the ICC has laid out for international cricket venues, is being strictly adhered to in the improvements that are to be made at the ten identified venues: Colombo Cricket Club Ground, Nondescripts Cricket Club Ground, Asgiriya Stadium, Radella, Galle, Matara, Kurunegala, Colts, P.Sara Stadium, Colombo University grounds and SSC.
Some of the requirements are: a minimum of 60 yards from pitch to boundary, seven yards between the boundary line and advertising boards, giant screen and electronic scoreboard, international media facilities for electronic and print, pavilion and dinning room with latest technology, modern gymnasium, a minimum of six centre turf pitches, car park, stadium to hold a minimum of 10,000 spectators etc.
An interim committee source said that the entire development would cost around US$10 million and that work would start next year and finish within a period of six months to one year. "We intend playing the two Tests between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh next July at two of the venues," the source said.
Sri Lanka are also due to host two ICC events: the 2011 World Cup with India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and either the Twenty20 World Championship or the Champions Trophy in 2012.
When the ICC awarded these tournaments to Sri Lanka at its board meeting in Dubai in April, interim committee chairman Jayantha Dharmadasa said: "We will have two new grounds by then with one near Kandy and the newly renovated stadium in Galle. That means we would have a total of seven excellent world-class venues to use."