Giving every outstanding cricketer a “just and fair” opportunity to represent Sri Lanka is the underlying theme of Sri Lanka Cricket’s ambitious National Development Plan for 2017. To achieve this, the current SLC administration strongly believes that the development of the provincial cricket infrastructure and proper stadium facilities will uplift the standards of the school and local club cricket. This had been ignored by the authorities for many years and a carefully designed plan is underway to remedy these challenges in a professional manner. Out of the two ear-marked projects for this year, special attention is given for the proposed Jaffna International Cricket Stadium.
SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala along with the SLC officials embarked on a visit to Jaffna Peninsula, this past weekend. They were accompanied by government officials, provincial and District Cricket Association members, technical support staff and Jaffna Police during the site inspection tour. It was heartening to note the warm cooperation extended by the officials of the Chief Minister of the Northern Province Hon: C.V. Wigneswaran as he was out of the country. The identified two plots of land for this venture would be scrutinized by a qualified technical evaluation team to ascertain the quality of the basic requirements such as water, soil, power, environmental impact, road access etc.
The SLC President stressed the importance of selecting the most suitable and viable location with other important facilities to the players and general public such as easy access to the location, welfare, safety, facilities. He explained the unseen difficulties of maintaining the green grass and playing strips throughout the year and the recurrent expenditure involved for maintenance.
Later on Saturday a meeting was held in Jaffna with the provincial administrators of cricket, district coaches and support staff along with all the club officials. The President of SLC explained the new National Development Plan and his vision to see more young talented cricketers joining the main stream as they will be given a fair opportunity with the best of facilities.
Commenting further on this national project SLC President added that Jaffna has historically produced exceptionally talented cricketers and that this could be the first step in bringing back the past glory not only to this beautiful Peninsula but also to the whole of Northern Province. The cricket administrators of the North gave a rousing applause for SLC President’s comments and accepted the challenge to groom and nurture their youngsters into the national pool.
Cricket in Sri Lanka has always been beyond a sport and more than just a game. It’s a source of national pride, a force that unifies this nation under a common cause, cutting across ethnicities, religions and social status. This is very appropriate with the vision of SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala’s theme of “equal distribution of opportunities to all and justice for underprivileged by enhancing assistance”. SLC has decided to set aside a budget of Rs 100 million to initiate this project in 2017 which would be completed by August 2022 will serve as a common goal for One Team One Nation.