World Cup: Sri Lanka venues 'yet to be ready'

The International Cricket Council (ICC)has admitted that some work still wants to be completed at Cricket World Cup venues in Sri Lanka.The ICC has raised concerns at the development of construction of the venues. The World Cup, co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, begins on 19 February after a week of warm-up games.Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said on Wednesday that the venues for the upcoming series against the West Indies have been changed.ICC media and communications manager James Fitzgerald told it wanted Sri Lanka to shift the venues for the series against the West Indies as "there is still some work necessary to be carried out."

The matches were initially scheduled to be played at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium, Hambantota and R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, Colombo, on 3 and 6 February. "However, SLC wishes to announce that in view of a instruction issued by the ICC to the effect that no games should be played at any of the World Cup venues, SLC is bound to make the above changes," it said in a statement. Fitzgerald admitted there is an "exclusivity period" whereby no non-event-related activities can take place on the ground 21 days prior to the first tournament match or 14 days prior to the first warm-up game.

"The ICC insisted on this exclusivity period due to the fact that there is still some work required to be carried out on the venues, so clearly it's what's best for the tournament. We informed SLC of this in the first week of January," he told the BBC. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's Daily Mirror reported that senior Sri Lanka players, including Mahela Jayawardene, raised concerns over the condition of the pitch in R Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.

But SLC chairman DS de Silva, who only last week told the BBC that venues will be handed over to the ICC on 20 January, categorically denied the reports."There is no truth in these reports," he told."There was no accusation whatsoever from the players. In both R Premadasa Stadium and Hambantota International Stadium, the pitch is ready, wicket is ready, grandstand is in very good condition and media room is ready."He said all three venues will be handed over to the ICC on 28 January.


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