Sri Lanka Cricket team manager and Chief Selector Ashantha de Mel has formally complained to ICC about the facilities the team has been provided during the World Cup in England.
He revealed in an interview published on the Daily News (14th June) that he has written to the ICC about the mistreatment towards the Sri Lanka team on and off the field and asked that the Sport’s governing body, treat every team equal.
“This is a World Cup where the top ten countries are taking part and I feel that all the participants should be treated equally,” De Mel was quoted as saying on the Daily News.
Sri Lanka played 2 World Cup matches in Cardiff versus New Zealand and Afghanistan, losing the former by 10 wickets while winning the latter by 34 runs. Their two scheduled matches vs Pakistan and Bangladesh in Bristol were washed out without a ball being bowled. De Mel has pointed out the displeasing facilities at these grounds (Cardiff and Bristol).
“Facilities provided at Cardiff were unsatisfactory. 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”
He has shown his indignation on the traveling arrangements too as the bus designated to transport the Sri Lanka team was small while Pakistan has been given a spacious double-decker bus.
De Mel has further commented on the pitches allocated for matches involving Sri Lanka so far in the tournament as well. For the previous 4 matches in Cardiff and Bristol, the pitches carried a cover of grass and it seems the Oval pitch where Sri Lanka is scheduled to play against Australia will be the same.
“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,” He said.
Three matches have been played at Sophia Gardens in the 2019 World Cup thus far, a couple involving Sri Lanka and another one with hosts England making an appearance. Interestingly, the England vs Bangladesh encounter recorded a match total of 666 runs while the other four innings-combined could only muster 626 runs.
“The pitch being prepared for our match against Australia on Saturday 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,” De Mel added.
Last time Sri Lanka played in Kennington Oval, India were defeated by 7 wickets while both teams amassed more than 640 runs.
De Mel has also made remarks on the scheduling of the tournament, referencing the bad weather in the early summer in England and the fact that there have been 4 washouts in 18 matches, making this the wettest World Cup ever.
“What they should have done is played the Ashes series first and then held the World Cup in the latter part of the summer which is generally dry. It seems like the Ashes has more clout than a World Cup. We will continue to write to them until we get a reply,”
Sri Lanka will play their 5th match in the World Cup against Australia today (15) and currently sit at 5th position with 4 points in 4 games.