Rain threatens Sri Lanka’s Cricket World Cup preparations

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Pallekele International Cricket Stadium
Schoolchildren shelter under an umbrella as they look at the covered playing area of The Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Pallekele on December 3, 2010, during a downpour which interrupted the Test match between West Indies and Sri Lanka. AFP PHOTO/Lakruwan WANNIARACHCHI.

December 04, 2010 (Island Cricket): While the Sri Lankan selectors banked heavily on the upcoming ODI series against the West Indies to finalise their ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 squad, the officials at Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) banked equally heavily on the last few weeks and days ahead of the ICC’s deadline for World Cup venue completion to complete construction at the venues slated to host next year’s World Cup. But inclement weather conditions threaten to get in the way.

The series in Australia last month and this ongoing West Indies tour to the island, which were both crucial towards Sri Lanka’s World Cup preparations, have been affected by rain. In Australia, a tour match against New South Wales was abandoned and another against the same opposition, along with the second ODI of the three match series, were reduced to Duckworth and Lewis affairs.

But the rain interruptions on the tour of Australia pales in comparison to the ongoing series against the West Indies where all three Test matches have been marred by some of the heaviest rain fall the island has experienced in years. Sri Lanka were also hoping to gain valuable match practise at the new World Cup venues.

With heavy rains predicted throughout the island, the forecast for the crucial ODI series against the West Indies starting December 9 doesn’t look promising either. The five ODIs and a T20 match against the West Indies will be Sri Lanka’s last before their World Cup warm up match against the Netherlands on February 12, 2011.

The weather conditions have proven to be even more disastrous for SLC officials who are in a race against time to complete construction at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, Pallekele Stadium in Kandy and the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Hambantota. Rain continues to hamper the progress of construction of these World Cup venues just weeks ahead of the ICC deadline of December 31.

© Island Cricket

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