Kandy’s cricket can improve with more support and facilities

by Hafiz Marikar in Kandy
Despite 10 schools playing top class cricket in Kandy, the town hasn’t been able to play in the Division I of the Premier Cricket Tournament of the country, the Sara Trophy. Instead, both teams only play in the Sara Trophy Segment "B" tournament.

According to the former President of Kandy D.C.A. and Vice President of the BCCSL, Mayor Harindra Dunuwille says that one of the main reasons for the drop in club cricketing standards is that the players don’t have a regular playground for practices and even for matches. All rivalry and no proper support for players have badly neglected the sport.

The two clubs, which are playing Division I cricket are Kandy Cricket Club and the Kandy Youth Sports Club, while several clubs play in Division II.

Kandy Cricket Club is one of the oldest clubs and in the earlier days it was Kandy SC who played cricket, and later due to BCCSL suspension, they formed the Kandy CC which has produced a galaxy of top players, such as Muthiah Muralitharen, Ruwan Kalpage and Kumar Sangakkara.

Kandy Youth SC is not an old club, but play good cricket but hasn’t risen to Division I level.

Over here in Kandy, clubs have to play a significant role as nurseries, but it is unfortunate that cricket, at grassroot level in clubs, is not as developed as it should be, mainly due to not having proper grounds for practices. Both clubs don’t even have club houses. Both clubs are run on a self help basis. They are lucky to have good presidents and committee members, who help to generate funds to keep the clubs alive and kicking.

The financial assistance they get from the BCCSL, is insufficient as whenever they go out they have to spend a lot on accommodation, food and transport. If this is not looked into by the BCCSL, the game will be in doldrums at club level. Several appeals made to the BCCSL have so far fallen on deaf ears.

In the meantime there is a growing list of young schoolboys and school-leavers being attracted by Colombo clubs.

Asgiriya International Stadium, is available whenever there is an international game played for a gate and the BCCSL spends a lot on development, prior to every game, and during the Indian Test the Board had to pay nearly 100 labourers. The Trinity authorities have always responded to the call of the national cricket body but not for Club cricket.

The Antonian turf wicket was given a face lift last season by the laying of new turf wickets. They too help Kandy CC now when they don’t have school matches.

The pint size lake view-matting wicket is used by Dharmaraja and Old Rajans SC while the Randle Hill ground is under development for the past many years.

The police grounds matting wicket is also used for matches. There too the charge is very high but the facilities are unsatisfactory.

It is the Campus wicket at Peradeniya, which helps cricket in a big way. The two clubs play there and schools like Kingswood, St. Sylvester’s, Sri Rahula and most of the Division III games too are played there.

During the BCCSL, presidency of the late Gamini Dissanayaka, there were ideas to erect another ground for cricket in Kandy. The officials had inspected a site at Watapuluwa and another site at Dharmaraja hills, but nothing came out of it.

The Mayor of Kandy, Harindra Dunuwille is keen in doing something for the ground at Watapuluwa which needs a big amount of money. They can dot this ground and put up two good club houses for the two clubs which will help in a big way.

Every one expected the Kandy District Sports Foundation to do a job of this nature but nothing has happened for cricket. In that sense, everyone wants to be in the committee just to keep a close relationship with the head of the committee.

With the lack of suitable ground for practice, Kandy’s club cricket has its limitations.