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Cricket marvel at Sooriyawewa

The Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium at Sooriyawewa is situated in the remote area of Meegahajandura off Sooriyawewa, approximately 8 kilometres from the emerging commercial hub in Hambantota and now boasts a marvelous cricket ground set in a natural rural setting


The sri lanka - canada match in progress at the imposing mahinda rajapaksa international cricket stadium in sooriyawewa. Picture by Saman Mendis

The World witnessed the inauguration of a brand new cricket stadium in Sri Lanka on February 20, 2011, that hosted the second game of the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, which was aptly won by the host nation - Sri Lanka.

The Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium at Sooriyawewa is situated in the remote area of Meegahajandura off Sooriyawewa, approximately 8 kilometres from the emerging commercial hub in Hambantota and now boasts a marvelous cricket ground set in a natural rural setting. It has been the brainchild of ‘Tharunayata Hetak’ youth movement headed by its President Namal Rajapaksa, the Hambantota parliamentarian.

The effort to bring this stadium live to host the 2011 World Cup game has been none other than phenomenal. To build an international standard cricket stadium in mere 9 months requires a lot of support and dedication.

The Support and guidance that was provided by President Mahinda Rajapaksa throughout this project has been truly inspirational. In the face of adverse media coverage led by certain newspapers in the country, the key stakeholders of this vision still believed that it could be delivered and today they have been fully vindicated in their decision to stick by their judgement and persevere.


President Mahinda Rajapaksa

The comments received by the ICC, International Media and the players alike on the facilities provided by Sooriyawewa has been extremely encouraging. There is no doubt that Sooriyawewa Mahinda Rajapakse Stadium will hold its place in world’s fantastic Cricket Stadiums for many decades to come.

SLC led by the Chairman D S De Silva just as the visionary President of Sri Lanka, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and MP Namal Rajapaksa were fully committed to the delivery of this magnificent architectural masterpiece, to provide the citizens of outskirts of Sri Lanka an opportunity to witness an international event in their ‘backyard’.

Of the approximate 30,000 odd spectators who witnessed this game, over 70% had seen a floodlit or an international event for the first time in their lives. What an amazing achievement to bring international cricket to the outskirts of Sri Lanka.

When SLC Chairman was appointed to head the SLC Interim committee, one of his many visions were to take cricket to all parts of Sri Lanka and not to limit it to the privileged few in main towns.

He wanted to pave the way to find the next ‘Jayasuria of Sri Lanka Cricket’ or the next ‘Muralitharan of Sri Lanka Cricket’ from anywhere in our small country of 20 million people.

By creating Cricket stadiums in these towns and providing cricketing infrastructure in the schools in these towns & villages he is starting to set the ‘Groundwork’ to realise that dream some day.

Similar to the country, Sri Lanka Cricket today is in capable hands of a custodian who has a passion and the vision to take Cricket in this country to the next level. For too many years and eras we have been a cricketing nation that shows brilliance on occasions and mediocrity the next.


 MP Namal Rajapaksa

To make a lasting difference in our Cricketing prowess, and build the next generation of our cricketing heroes that will make Sri Lanka proud fundamental, infrastructural changes need to take place that opens Cricket to all cities and villages of Sri Lanka.

With the current SLC administration, this is already on the move.


D S De Silva

In addition to Sooriyawewa, Pallekalle International Stadium will be showcased to the world in a few weeks. The proposed developments are already taking place with the development of Walasmulla district school cricket ground, development of St Johns school cricket ground in Panadura and the completion of Indoor cricket nets at Badulla.

Future locations have already been identified with plans currently in motion of a proposed development of turf wicket ground at St Patrick’s College Jaffna & a development ground at Ambalangoda where Sri Lanka historically have produced many international cricketers in the past.

Sri Lanka Cricket in the past has had many leaders of great credentials.

But the effort led by our current Chairman has undoubtedly surpassed them all not just in terms of the effort that he has invested to take our cricket forward to the next level but in terms of his sheer passion for the game too.

There is no doubt that the right man has been chosen for the job and Sri Lanka Cricket just like our Country is in great hands at present.

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