Sri Lanka Cricket is investing in the development of cricket in parts of the country less exposed to the game by earmarking funds for the construction of two new cricket stadiums in the Northern and North Central Provinces.
The executive committee of SLC has given its approval for the two projects to go ahead. The projects, on which work is due to begin in the near future, are expected to cost Sri Lankan Rs 200 million (approximately 1.38 million USD).
"We have allocated Rs 100 million each for the construction of a cricket stadium at Polonnaruwa and one at Jaffna," Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Mohan de Silva, said. "The projects are due to begin very soon."
De Silva said plans for the Polonnaruwa stadium have been finalised and that work would commence soon. The stadium would be part of a larger sports complex that is being constructed in the area. In the case of Jaffna, SLC is still searching for a suitable site close to the main road so that people would have easy access to the stadium.
"There is tremendous enthusiasm generated by the Tamil diaspora for a cricket stadium in the north," de Silva said. "The Jaffna District Cricket Association is taking all steps to make it a reality.
"We will initially construct the two stadiums as first-class cricket venues and later develop them into hosting international cricket matches. We want to develop cricket in the north and east and enhance the quality of the game in those areas."
Cricket in the north was hit very badly by the 30-year civil war between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government. Since the end of the war, seven years ago, there has been large-scale development in the region, with sports being one of the key areas.