ICC Shifts Warm-up Matches from Pallekele

Bangalore, Feb 10 (IANS) Heavy rains at Pallekele in Sri Lanka, have forced the International Cricket Council (ICC) to shift two warm-up matches to a different venue.

The decision was taken by local and ICC officials following a recommendation by ICC pitch consultant Andy Atkinson after he inspected the venue Wednesday.

The matches between Sri Lanka and the Netherlands slated for Saturday and the February 15 match between Kenya and the Netherlands will be moved elsewhere, with the location for those matches to be announced shortly. This does not affect the three tournament fixtures scheduled to take place at that venue in March.

"It's a common-sense decision following an extremely high volume of rainfall. The ground staff at Pallekele have had to contend with an extremely high volume of rainfall over a number of weeks, far in excess of what is normal for this time of year. This has proved to be a significant handicap in their efforts to produce pitches for the forthcoming warm-up matches," said tournament director Ratnakar Shetty.

"The decision to switch the warm-up matches away from Pallekele is common sense and is one that is fully supported by all stakeholders as it will allow the ground staff the time they need, following those recent heavy rains, to produce excellent pitches for the tournament matches that will take place there.

"At the same time, the switch will also ensure that the teams involved in the warm-up matches get a high level of quality preparation ahead of tournament matches," he added.

Pallekele will host three matches in the World Cup, starting with the clash between New Zealand and Pakistan (March 8), followed by Sri Lanka's match with Zimbabwe (March 10) and concluding with the Pakistan-Zimbabwe fixture (March 12).


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