The mooting of Sri Lanka Cricket’s Centre of Excellence project, a far sighted vision during the presidency of Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala, is viewed as a big leap forward in the furtherance of the country’s cricket.
The ambitious project envisaging the setting up of four centers of excellence in Sri Lanka found fruition with the first of its kind being established at Pallekelle in Kandy. It has been a boon to cricketers in further fine honing their skills. Under this project, steps have been taken to set up centers of excellence in Dambulla, Galle and Colombo as well in the near future as earmarked by Mr. Sumathipala during his tenure as SLC president.
A centre of excellence is an indoor complex covering the entire gamut of technical equipment and facilities. Equipped with side wickets for night practice, the center primarily covers dormitory and physical training player facilities. It is regarded as an impetus in facilitating player training at national level for major international tournaments. Accordingly, the Centre of Excellence based at Pallekelle has served as a cog in the wheel for national teams. It comes handy mainly in the final phase of preparatory workouts of Sri Lanka teams. In whatever format from Test cricket to ODIs and T20 tournaments, the Centre of Excellence at Pallekelle has enabled countless players to thereby maximize their skills.
Under Sri Lanka Cricket’s concentrated drive in setting up more centers of excellence in Dambulla, Galle and Colombo it is expected to be a big shot in the arm for cricket in the country. It will enable teams at different levels to avail themselves of this hi-tech facility. It is regarded as one of the several sophisticated development projects that was identified by Mr. Thilanga Sumathipala aimed at taking national cricket to the next level. The completion of the remaining three centers would therein double up facilitating players as and when required for big stage tournaments. The project has already reaped results through just the one Centre of Excellence at Pallekelle at the moment. It is in fact benefitting the Sri Lanka squad to the 2019 ICC World Cup in so much as in-house training.
Mr. Sumathipala is also credited with having set up the Brain Centre at SLC as well as the Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium among the hi-tech projects implemented by him for the greater good of cricket in the country.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-