By Dinouk Colombage
The countdown to the Cricket World Cup has reached its final week, and as the teams arrive and prepare for the event the Sri Lankan public anxiously awaits news on the three ‘home’ stadiums.
After months and weeks of speculation due to the incomplete nature of the grounds, the ICC has approved all three Sri Lankan venues for the World Cup. The Sunday Leader visited the R. Premadasa Stadium last week and was given a tour of the stadium and its facilities. Srinath Silva, the ground manager, explained the layout and the new facilities available at the stadium. With a maximum capacity of 30,000 Silva was confident that each game at this refurbished stadium would be a sell-out.
The grandstand, situated about the players changing room, gives a panoramic view alongside the pitch. It was well ventilated and the seating was comfortable.
Running at intervals along the ground are air-conditioned VIP boxes. A new addition to the ground, the corporate boxes look to accommodate players’ families along with the VIPs who will be attending the games.
Silva described the players’ room as being one of the larger and more comfortable player changing rooms available today. Outfitted with all the latest facilities Silva was confident that there would be no complaints from the players.
Taken out on to the grounds we were allowed to inspect the field of play. The outfield looked lush whilst workers were out manicuring the pitch. Unlike the previous R. Premadasa Stadium outfield, this outfield seemed much more conducive for acrobatic diving.
The media center is expected to accommodate over 200 media personnel. It has been outfitted with Wi-Fi and other essential items including TVs showing live action.
The rest of the stands have a feel of renewed life about them, sporting new, comfortable seats painted in the Sri Lankan team colours. Spectators can look forward to not having to sit on the old plastic chairs.
The stands are also well ventilated ensuring that they can enjoy the action in the middle in relative comfort.
A large scoreboard has been erected, yet it maintains the old feel. Fashioned on the scoreboards of old it relies on scorers manually changing the score. Alongside the scoreboard is a large screen which will be used for replays and umpire decisions.
Outside of the stadium are two separate players practice nets. Each consisting of several turf pitches, this allows two teams to use the facilities at the same time prior to a match.