Sri Lankans can watch movies not cricket as SLC officials pass the buck | Sunday Observer

Sri Lankans can watch movies not cricket as SLC officials pass the buck

3 January, 2021

Unable to find a solution to allow the team’s adoring cricket fans to witness this month’s Test series against England in Galle, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has passed the buck accusing health authorities of suppressing spectator attendance.

The blockade of spectators come at a time Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered cinemas to be opened to patrons from January 1.

Vice president of Sri Lanka Cricket Ravin Wickremaratne revealed that they had also wanted to allow at least 10,000 of the 30,000 seating capacity crowd to witness last month’s LPL matches in Hambantota that was also blocked by health officials.

“Before the start of the LPL we discussed the matter and decided to allow a third of the capacity that can be accommodated at Hambantota to witness the matches.

“We discussed (at SLC) permitting entry for at least 500 spectators to witness the upcoming England Test series in Galle and on both occasions health officials did not show any favourable interest,” Wickremaratne told the Ada Derena television talk-show titled “Straight Drive” when its host Roshan Abeysinghe asked why Sri Lankan fans continue to be deprived of witnessing their team in action.

Sri Lanka’s attitude over spectator attendance at cricket matches is in total contrast to the fan turn-outs in New Zealand for a tri-nation rugby series in November-December 2019 and the current Test series featuring India in Australia. Packed stadiums in New Zealand witnessed their team play against Australia during the rugby matches while thousands of cricket fans from India in Australia saw their team play a T20 series.

The concluded two Test matches in Adelaide and Melbourne were witnessed by thousands of spectators which is far more than the numbers associated with Test cricket in Sri Lanka.

Some analysts say that health officials unable to formulate a system to allow spectator attendance at the England-Sri Lanka Test series in Galle were “taking the easy way out” and laying the blame on the coronavirus.

The England tour party is scheduled to arrive at the Mattala airport in Hambantota today.