Sri Lanka’s batting legend Mahela Jayawardene has pleaded concerned authorities and government to reconsider the decision to demolish Galle International Cricket Stadium.
“This is sad! Galle cricket ground has a unique place in international test cricket history for its location. Also one of the most successful venues for the national team. I would like to plead and humbly request authorities and SL government to reconsider this” he posted on his twitter handle.
Few days ago, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Home Affairs, Vajira Abeywardena stated that there is a risk of leaving Galle to be listed as World Heritage City because of irregular structures in the Galle Fort and the surrounding areas. The minister also said that several improperly constructed buildings in Galle Fort and its surrounding area will be removed as the UNESCO has been notified to the government on several occasions. The buildings surrounding the Galle International Stadium are also to be removed accordingly. With the removal of such buildings, the stadium will not be maintained as an international cricket ground.
The minister said that the Bill would be allocated for the use of students in schools in the future. Minister Wignera Abeywardena told the media that plans have been made to build a new international cricket stadium in Pinnaduwa, Galle. The minister further stated that an area of 50 Acres has already been allocated for this purpose.
Yesterday, Sri Lanka’s renowned journalist Aazam Ameen also posted on his twitter handle that Test against England in November could be last international match at Galle.
“November Test match against England could be the last Test played in Sri Lanka’s most iconic Test venue Galle Int Cricket Stadium, if Govt goes ahead with plans to move the stadium due to issues related to Galle Fort’s UNESCO world heritage status & Galle City expansion project” he wrote.
Sri Lanka’s greatest ever captain Arjuna Ranatunga has also raised his cincern about the staduim. ‘Accountability of the protection of the Galle International ground vest on the Minister of Sports and the Cricket board, Ranataunga stated on yesterday. He also stated that crisis of Galle cricket ground arose due to weakness of the cricket management and the previous regime. He further stated that this crisis arose because of Former President Mahinda Rajapaksha named an illegal construction as a Galle ground.
“Everyone knows that Galle is a world heritage town. We can’t lose both it and the ground. There should be a proper procedure to protect the ground. As I know, Minister of Sports and the Cricket board have to establish a procedure to protect the ground” Minister stated.
“Several issues arose about Galle ground when I was the Chairman of the cricket board. There was a risk that Galle town might be removed from the World heritage list, because of installing a light system to play night matches. We have stopped it. Sri Lanka can easily win test matches in the Galle ground. Sri Lanka has won the recent test match against South Africa in the Galle ground” Minister Ranatunga added.
“This area has banned to construct buildings since Galle was a world heritage town. But during the previous regime, they have constructed an illegal construction in this area and they named it as Mahinda Rajapaksha pavilion. They have not removed the construction because of that name. As I think, If we remove this illegal construction by way of discussions, it won’t affect the ground. Galle ground doesn’t require permanent large pavilion. I don’t know whether there is a hidden power to stop to reach a better solution. This ground is good for skippers. Galle ground and Moratuwa ground are the best grounds play. No one in the cricket management is not in need to establish a proper procedure to save the ground” Minister Ranatunga added further.