Galle stadium to be rebuilt

The cricket stadium at Galle in Sri Lanka, one of the most picturesque in the world, will be rebuilt after last December’s tsunami disaster caused plenitude of damage.

Despite initial thoughts about abandoning the stadium for a new project, ground manager Jayanatha Warnaweera has confirmed that they will be working on rebuilding the current one, with the help of the funds they have been receiving ever since the disaster. The renovation as per the preliminary budget would cost up to US$500,000, however the final total cost may come out to be as high as US$2m.

Warnaweera said, “If the stadium is not restored the entire Galle public will turn against us. There have been accusing fingers pointed at us for not starting work already. Hopefully, we will start in about six month’s time.” He also said that three to four inches of the top soil on the center pitches will have to be removed and re-laid, and the entire drainage system will have to be replaced.

The stadium, against the backdrop of a picturesque Dutch-built fort, has hosted 11 Tests to date starting 1998. Cricket greats such as Shane Warne and Ian Botham have visited the ground in the past couple of months to pledge support for the rebuilding of the stadium.

However, despite the renovation plans, Galle’s future as an international venue still remains in a doubt, with the plan to build a new stadium in Habaraduwaa still being considered. Thilanga Sumathipala, the president of the national cricket board, told Reuters, “No final decision has been made with regard to the [proposed] international ground at Habaraduwaa. But we will definitely play first-class and provincial cricket in Galle.”

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