Test Cricket provides the opportunity to sit back, relax and absorb and enjoy all the aspects of the game. Not just for viewers but also for the media. It also provides the opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas on this wonderfully scientify, yet complex sport. Not so during One Dayers and T20 when it’s all a hectic rush.
During the India – Sri Lanka test series TV commentators had the time to discuss the progress of the game, particularly among test playing nations. Australia and England lead the way by virtue of their association from day one. Unfortunately, Bangladesh and the West Indies lag behind somewhat. Pakistan are unfronted with different hurdles to clear, day-in-day-out. The rest strive to reach the top mug nations.
It was the view of all that Sri Lanka has taken giant steps since 1996 in promoting and fostering the game. Most significantly in the last couple of years. Peace in the island with the ending of the civil war has opened the doors wide open. Foremost of the action taken has been in SLC now offering contracts to up to one hundred players. That is a huge step in the correct direction. In addition to the top rung players and those in the “A” squad, many aspiring young cricketers are in the net. There is also an opportunity provide for a number of talented school leaves. Many need this assistance to stay in the game rather than look for employment which then hampers their progress freedom of mind to concentrate on cricket has been provided.
Another area which requires constant attention is coaching. Talking of what is available in Sri Lanka suggests that they are at the top. Much has been done in recent times to improve overall conditions for the coaches. Many former Sri Lankan players, “A” team and first class players have joined the ranks. Coaching seminars are spreading to many parts and facilities being provided to the North and East as well. Modern methods available to coaches are being regularly updated by the coaching department. All signs of the game heading in the right direction.
It was the view of that more grounds must be made available for school and club cricket as playing in Colombo is now getting saturated. Here too SLC has begun or completed developing many grounds, especially school grounds in the regions. I reckon that Indoor facilities, swimming pools and gymnasiums must become the next addition for further development of the game.
At present the major development work in progress is the construction work going on at the R.Premadasa stadium, the Pallekelle stadium and the new stadium in Hambantota. Once completed they will be as good as any in the world. Also, the central and southern provinces will possess an International facility of their own.
Sri Lanka cricket led by a former captain D.S. de Silva must be congratulated for the commitment and effort they are putting in, with every support from those employed to drive towards achieving excellence. Their efforts will surely be rewarded.