‘High costs a hindrance for school cricket progress’ | Sunday Observer

‘High costs a hindrance for school cricket progress’

JAKS Indrajith
JAKS Indrajith

The Under 19 inter school cricket competition commenced one and half months ago and has attracted over 160 teams from all parts of the country.

They will be competing in three divisions as Division One, Two and Three according to the Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association tournament secretary JAKS Indrajith speaking to the Sunday Observer.

“With the introduction of the Observer School Cricketer way back in the year 1979 more and more schools took to the sport even in rural areas which paved the way for cricketers from outstations to get to higher levels including the national level,” said Indrajith.

According to him the tournament comprise of well over 500 matches to be played throughout the island. The Division One consists of 36 teams while the Division Two and Three has a total of 189 teams which is divided into two sections.

He further said that at present many schools have taken to the game but with many hardships these schools continue to play as most of the young cricketers are keen to come up with their best.

“Though the interest is with the players, schools are unable to provide the most needed facilities for cricket due to high costs. School cricket has a main sponsor in Singer, but school cricket is facing major difficulties,” said Indrajith.

At present the SLSCA is hoping to get the support of Mobitel Telecom Lanka in the future.

Indrajith said that last year in a grand gesture Sri Lanka Cricket donated 16 bowling machines for schools playing in the Division One and this year too SLC has promised to donate a further 20 bowling machines which will be given to the rest of the 20 schools playing in Division One.

“SLC has also spent Rs. 70 million on school cricket which will be used to pay scorers and other needs in conducting matches. At the moment umpires fees have gone up to Rs.3000 per day while the ground fees too have reached high rates which some schools are unable to bear,” said Indrajith.

“Ground fees pose another problem the school authorities face as the cost for a day has risen to over Rs. 35,000. The monies that the SLSCA get from SLC are not sufficient to meet these costs,” added Indrajith.

SLC and the Ministry of Sports have consented help redevelop pitches that are not in good condition by providing matting pitches other equipment needed for rural schools.

“To remedy this situation we need to get the support from sponsors to bring these grounds to a good condition,” said Indrajith.

The players this season have come up with good bowling figures but to say the truth these figures are gained not by playing on good wickets.

Indrajith said these bowlers have to be given the opportunity to play on good wickets to come up with their best bowling performances and do justice to their talents.

The Sri Lanka Schools Cricket Association too has helped the organizers of the Observer-Mobitel School Cricket contest in the past and continues to do the same in the future as it has become a must for SLSCA to be involved with.