Sri Lanka is known as tourist destination solely for it's rich history and serenity through nature. One such structure which has been an epitomy of both is the Galle Cricket stadium. The stadium is surrounded by a lifelike fort, which is arguabely the most attractive stadiums in the world. The ground has hooked a large number of locals to visit and enjoy a game of cricket on historcial engineering, by the sides of the Idian ocean.
But the 17th century structure has put the stadium under danger of getting demolished because it threatens the heritage status of the fort as stated by Sri Lanka's cultural affairs minister Wijeyadasa Rakapakshe.
A 500-seater pavilion, built in 2008 as part of the reconstruction following the 2004 tsunami, is a matter of contention as it blocks the view of the fort from the main Galle road. It is suggested that UNESCO is not against matches being held at the ground, but wants this structure cleared.
The ground has indeed proved to be a "fortress" for the Sri Lankan team as well, who have registerd 18 wins with just 7 losses over the years.
If a decision is taken against cricket at Galle, the sports minsiter has stated that they will be looking to build a new stadium in the city, though it is an unpopular option.
Sri Lankan cricketing legends Mahela Jayawardane and Arjuna Ranatunga also came to the defence of the stadium.
“Galle cricket ground has a unique place in international Test cricket history for its location. Also one of the most successful venues for the national team. I would like to plead and humbly request authorities and SL government to reconsider this decision,” Jayawardane tweeted.
While the 1996 World cup winning captain-Ranatunga had his say on the matter.
“We need to keep both the heritage status for the fort and at the same time play international matches at Galle.”
But as per reports, the match between Sri Lanka and England at the iconic stadium might just be the last, which is to be held in November this year.
About the Author
Comes from the United Arab Emirates, is a sports junkie and a journalist, who has been following cricket as well as football since childhood. Played cricket in academies, school, and university levels. A fanatic follower of one of Europe's biggest ever football clubs - Manchester United.