Dambulla is below par – Ranatunga
All day-night international cricket matches played at Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium had been conducted under conditions that were appallingly below International Cricket Council (ICC) recommended ideal standards, divulged Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Secretary Nishantha Ranatunga
he stadium, one of the biggest international venues of the country will not be used for the forthcoming ODI and T20 Series against India and has not hosted an international fixture for two years. It has hosted 43 One Day Internationals, most of them on a day/night format.
“Matches were not played under ideal conditions. There were reports to this nature,” Ranatunga told “Daily Mirror” referring to the belowstandard light conditions at the venue and the complaints from the teams that played there.“We have an issue with the lights. The required lux level is 2500. Dambulla has only 800” explained RanatungaThe lux is the standard unit of measuring illuminance and luminous emittance, measuring luminous flux per unit area.Ranatunga said SLC has understood the value of the venue as a strategic location for the moneyspinning shorter forms of the game, but pointed out taking international cricket to Dambulla may not happen in the near future due to financial constraints faced by SLC.
“We are looking at improving lights because that is the ideal location for T20 and ODI cricket. So, we are in the process of trying to work something out. But due to financial challenges we need to be careful” Ranatunga said adding, “It is like investing to set up new lights in Dambulla”.The poor lights have effectively eliminated chances for Dambulla to host any form of international cricket as SLC would not consider it as a potential Test venue either.“We can play Test cricket in Dam
bulla. But we have a negative aspect looking at crowds because crowds won’t come to watch Test cricket at Dambulla. Galle, Colomb and Kandy attracts crowds (for Tests),” he said. Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told parliament on March 6 that Dambulla Stadium would be used for this year’s Pakistan and India tour matches.
However no matches of the recently concluded Pakistan series
were played at Dambulla while none of the matches for the India series which started yesterday have been scheduled there.
Aluthgamage told parliament that Dambulla has not been dropped as an international venue though it will not host the day/night matches when he was responding to an opposition query. Aluthgamage said the venue was not considered for the Twenty20 World Cup to be hosted by Sri Lanka this September but the reason he gave was not the poor lights. "The ICC ruled that it cannot be used due to the lack of a training venue within 45 minutes traveeling range of the stadium," said Aluthgamage.
The Triangular Series final in which Sri Lanka beat India by 74 runs on August 28 in 2010 was the last match played at Dambulla.
Stadium’s floodlights were upgraded prior to that tri-series.
"All the lamps have been replaced and the illumination levels have been increased," Ashley de Silva, Sri Lanka Cricket's head of cricket operations, told cricket website Cricinfo during the series.
Dambulla lights had come under heavy fire from both local and foreign players during the Asia Cup played two months prior to the Tri Series. Dambulla has eight floodlight
towers, each of which has 21 bulbs. In the Asia Cup, each of those bulbs had been in the 1000-1100 watts range and were replaced with those rated between 1300 and 1400 watts for the tri-series, Cricinfo reported. Dambulla Stadium was commissioned in 2001 to tackle the weather issues that constantly hampered matches in Sri Lanka. It is situated in the north central province dry zone which traditionally records minimal annual rainfall.
After the first match, no international cricket was played at Dambulla for more than two years due to an ownership issue and resumed only in 2003 when Floodlights were established.
By Channaka De Silva