President of the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) board Thilanga Sumathipala and members of the Executive Committee today (21) undertook an inspection of the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium (MRICS) in Sooriyawewa, Hambanthota.
The stadium which had fallen into a state of disrepair is to be renovated ahead of the Zimbabwe tour of Sri Lanka at the end of June this year, and will host 3 of five One Day International matches of the tour.
A comprehensive assessment of the Stadium and its facilities was undertaken by M/s Design Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, whose report was tabled at the Executive Committee of SLC.
In careful consideration of the contents therein, SLC has decided to invest in the renovation of MRICS with a view to utilize the venue as a provincial centre hosting school and domestic matches for the remainder of the year.
The remoteness of MRICS has resulted in teams declining the use of the stadium regularly and MRICS currently receives no income whilst costing SLC approximately Rs. 18 Million annually for basic maintenance and utilities.
The re-purposing of the venue is hoped to bring in an annual income that would enable the stadium to function independently without cost to SLC. To this end, SLC today also announced the establishment of a 40 bed dormitory facility at Hambanthota, to cater to the residential and basic recreational needs of visiting teams.
The Zimbabwe tour of Sri Lanka is scheduled to get underway on the 27th of June this year, and the playing of 3 ODI games as day games, is expected to give SLC a saving of approximately Rs. 10 Million (Cost of playing under lights, ) which amount will be invested into the MRICS renovations.
The 3rd, 4th and 5th ODI’s scheduled to be played on the 6th, 8th and 10th of July respectively will mark the re-opening of MRICS as a functional international cricketing venue. Sri Lanka Cricket believes that a strategic renovation and investment into the facilities at MRICS would benefit the game of cricket with the provision of a first class venue in the Southern Province.