ICC officials very pleased with proceedings

ICC communication cum spokesperson, James Fitzgerald and ICC chief Curator Andy Atkinson held a press briefing this morning to explain to the local media, their views on the three venues earmarked by Sri Lanka to host world cup 2011.

Sri Lanka as co- hosts of world cup 2011, alongside India and Bangladesh will play host to 12 world cup games, inclusive of a semi final. Two new venues are being constructed by Sri Lanka cricket, while well seasoned R.Premadasa Stadium is being refurbished to a state of the Art venue with a brand new media box.

The two new venues, now under construction, namely Pallekele and Sooriyawewa will be second to none in the world. The former is in the hill capitol just 20 minutes from down town in Kandy, while the latter is deep down south in Hambantota .  It is envisaged that both Sooriyawewa and Pallekele will be world class venues, with state of the Art facilities to host day night games very similar to the venue in Colombo.

Pallekela is up and running with matches already being played on the newly constructed 12 center pitch venue, which boasts of an outfield that’s lush green  and lighting fast. Sooriyawewa will consist of 10 center pitches.

Sooriyawewa international stadium constructed on a 47 acre land has the capacity to host 33,000 spectators and parking facilities are for 1200 vehicles. Pallekele constructed on an 18 acre land has a 27,000 spectator capacity with a parking facility for 700 automobiles. James Fitzgerald who addressed the media paid tribute to Suraj Dandeniya, world cup Director for the tireless efforts put in so far by his team. He told the media that all three venues now being constructed will leave a legacy for future generation based on the fact that all three venues will be world class, in terms of player, spectator, media and most importantly playing conditions.

Andy Atkinson stated that periodic visits by the ICC is inevitable and  that he has faith in Suraj Dandeniya and his team to complete the work on time, as per the corporate standards envisaged by the ruling body. He further mentioned of his satisfaction in terms of the length and breath of all three venues and was overawed by the fact that the stadium in Hambantota was 200 meters; he defined the grounds as “REAL BIG ONE”.

Speaking to the media during a brain storming Q & A session, Andy stated in world cup competitions the batsman should have 70 percent to show off their skill levels, while the bowler 30 percent.

The ICC curator who will be a frequent visitor to Sri Lanka with the world cup in view, made mention of at least a minimum of 4 games to be played at Hambantota prior to the world cup.   Pallekele is playing host to 3 games. Andy stated that at least 4 matches must be played at this venue before the world cup. He also added that the newly laid grass on all three venues must be looked after like a new borne, since nurturing  is of paramount importance, based on the fact that it needs protection due to its new seeding.

James Fitzgerald was full of Praise for Sri Lanka cricket for the hospitality they enjoyed during their short stay, and made a statement that he is very happy with the hotel facilities that are available for players in Hambantota.