London: Complaining of step-motherly treatment meted out to them in the ongoing World Cup, an exasperated Sri Lanka have expressed dissatisfaction at the types of pitches provided, inadequate training and transport facilities apart from the below-par accommodation.
Sri Lanka team manager Ashantha de Mel has written to the ICC, stating that Sri Lanka were made to play on two green decks in Cardiff, where they lost to New Zealand before defeating Afghanistan, whereas other teams who played on same venue were provided high-scoring pitches.
De Mel said another green track awaits Sri Lanka ahead of their match against Australia, Saturday. “This is a World Cup where the top 10 countries are taking part and I feel that all the participants should be treated equally,” De Mel has been quoted as saying by the Sri Lankan newspaper ‘Daily News’.
“What we have found out is that for the four matches we have played so far at Cardiff and Bristol the ICC has prepared a green pitch, and at the same venues where the other countries have played the pitches are brown and favourable for high scoring,” De Mel added.
The match between England and Bangladesh at Cardiff saw 666 runs being scored (England 386/6 and Bangladesh 280), while game between Australia and India at the Oval witnessed a total 668 runs on a flat brown track.
“The pitch being prepared for our match Saturday against Australia here at the Oval is green. It is not (a case of) sour grapes that we are complaining but it is very unfair on the part of the ICC that they prepare one type of wicket for certain teams and another type for others,” informed De Mel.
De Mel also complained that the bus, which has been assigned to the 1996 World Cup winners, is small with less seating capacity, as compared to Pakistan who have been given a spacious double-decker bus. He also had a lot to talk about the practice facilities.
“Even the practice facilities provided at Cardiff were unsatisfactory. Instead of three nets they (ICC) gave us only two and the hotel we were put up at Bristol did not have a swimming pool, which is very essential for every team and for the fast bowlers especially to relax their muscles after practice,” the manager pointed out. “The hotels that Pakistan and Bangladesh were put up at Bristol had swimming pools,” he further rued.
Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne also expressed disappointment at the green surfaces they have been given to play.
“I have already said that people expect entertainment from ODIs. They want 100-over games. If you take today’s game – between England and West Indies – it is a flat wicket, it is white in colour. If you take this Oval wicket, it is green. These are the things we weren’t expecting. Every wicket should be white-top. We want fair wickets. That’s all we want,” Karunaratne asserted.
The ICC, on its part, has given an official response to Sri Lanka’s allegations. It said that the pitches are overseen by an independent advisor.
“We employ an independent pitch advisor to work with the host curators at all ICC events and the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 is no different,” an event spokesperson was quoted as saying by a cricket-specific website. “We are happy with the wickets that have been produced across the event so far in English conditions.”