Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Monday said the country needs to build a new stadium to strengthen its bid to host ICC events in the 2023 to 2031 cycle.
The SLC faced intense criticism after the board announced on Sunday that it had inspected a site at Homagama, a suburb on the city's eastern side, to build a 40,000 seat capacity international stadium.
Mahela Jayawardene, the former Sri Lanka captain, had also expressed surprise at the decision, arguing that when Sri Lanka was not playing enough international or domestic cricket there was no need for another stadium.
However, the SLC, which has often battled severe faced financial hardships in recent years, maintained that in view of the increasing demand due to the popularity of the short forms of the game, there is a need to build a larger stadium in an urban area.
The board asserted that "this project will be an absolute and private investment of SLC and no government funds will be utilised and or will be sought at any stage of the construction".
The SLC ran into high debt following the upgrading of the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo and the Hambanthota Stadium in the south before the 2011 World Cup.
It had asked for a government bailout amid severe financial hardships post the 2011 showpiece, which the country jointly hosted with India and Bangladesh.
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