By Amlan Chakraborty
MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – The Sri Lanka team have complained to organisers of the World Cup about the pitches rolled out for their games and are also unhappy with the quality of their accommodation.
Although their two most-recent matches were washed out in Bristol, Sri Lanka began their campaign on two bowler-friendly pitches in Cardiff, where they lost to New Zealand and clinched a narrow win over Afghanistan.
Heading into Saturday’s match against Australia at The Oval, Lankan team manager Ashantha de Mel believes they will face another green track which will aid their opponents.
“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,” he told Daily News.
“At the same venues, the other countries have played on pitches are brown and favourable for high scoring.
“The pitch being prepared for our match against Australia on Saturday here at The Oval is green. It is not sour grapes that we are complaining.
“But it is very unfair on the part of the ICC (International Cricket Council) that they prepare one type of wicket for certain teams and another type for others.”
The Sri Lankan camp were also disappointed with the standard of training facilities and accommodation, according to de Mel, who said the concerns were officially brought to the ICC’s notice.
“Even the practice facilities provided at Cardiff were unsatisfactory,” he added.
“Instead of three nets they 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 – for the fast bowlers, especially, to relax their muscles after practice.
“The hotels that Pakistan and Bangladesh were put up at Bristol had swimming pools.”
The ICC confirmed they received the complaint but dismissed allegations about pitch and unfair treatment.
“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,” the governing body said in a statement.
“We are happy with the wickets that have been produced across the event so far in English conditions.
“At the heart of our planning is the philosophy that all 10 teams are treated equally to enable them to have the best possible preparation for the event,” it added.
“As part of the four year planning process to deliver this event, we have liaised with all teams to ensure they are happy with their set up and are available to work with them should any issues arise that have not been previously anticipated.”
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in Manchester and Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; editing by Pritha Sarkar)