April 9, 2007
One of the oldest Buddhist schools in Sri Lanka, Dharmaraja College in Kandy, is building a new international cricket stadium at Lake View. Sri Lanka Cricket are helping out: they have already funded them Rs. 750,000 for the preparation of five centre pitches.
SLC also promised two sightscreens and a scoreboard, they are not forthcoming, according to Yasas Chandrasekera, the vice-president of the Dharmaraja Old Boys Association and secretary of the Lake View Development Project under whose aegis the stadium is being built. "We have been told that it is not possible because SLC does not have the funds," he said. "We will have to look elsewhere."
He was, however, very enthusiastic about the work that is taking place. The soil has been excavated three metres and the ground lowered so as to expand it and bring the boundary lines to international standards to a radius of 65 metres. He said the drainage system has been completed and work on the sprinkler system was in progress.
They all served Kingswood’s rugby with dedication for over 15 years and there was a period that the Randles Hill School was never without a Ibrahim in the side.
Chandrasekera also stated that with the help of SLC director of pitches Anuruddha Polonowita the construction of the centre wickets was in progress, as was the building of the pump house and sump. A chain link right round the ground is considered essential to protect it from wild boars which were quite rampant in the area.
"The school is really happy that they were able to produce a national cricketer in the calibre of Chamara Kapugedera with the limited facilities we had with our present ground, which when completed will be up to international standards," said Chandrasekera. "With the development of the ground and its infrastructure we will be able to produce many Kapugederas in the future."
Chandraskera revealed that the main purpose of uplifting the grounds was because Central Province did not have a cricket ground of international standing apart from the Asgiriya Stadium which was not always available. "We will allow SLC to make use of the ground to host A team and Under-19 matches without disturbing our school cricket."
The project at the 120-year-old school is the brainchild of Jagath Samarasinghe, the president of the Dharmaraja OBA who has the full backing of the principal of Dharmaraja College, S.M. Keerthiratne.
The estimated cost of the project which was initiated in October 2003 is Rs. 25 million. Chandrasekera said the OBA had so far spent Rs. 15 million and required a further Rs. 10 million to complete the ground work. "We hope to tap several old boys who have not yet contributed towards the project and raise half the required cost. The other half we hope to raise by organising musical shows and carnivals."
Chandrasekera also said that the Education Minister Susil Premajayanth, who was chief guest at their prize-giving, had promised Rs. 10 million, half the cost of putting up the stadium which is the next major plan the OBA have in mind once the ground is completed five months from now.
With SLC also constructing an international stadium at Pallakelle, Lake View will also become a future venue for international matches in Kandy.