T20 WC: Lanka unhappy with gruelling schedule

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | June 04, 2024 IST

Maheesh Theekshana

New York, June 4: Sri Lanka have lost their opening encounter against South Africa in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2024. But soon after losing the match Lanka spinner Maheesh Theekshana slammed the gruelling T20 World Cup schedule.

Theekshana stated that his team has been put through a tough schedule. He said it was 'unfair' for the island nation as they will have to play their four group stage matches in four different venues.

Sri Lanka are being led by Wanindu Hasaranga.

Elaborating their hectic schedule, Theekshana stated that the team hotel, where they kicked off their campaign against South Africa on June 3, was an hour and 40 minutes away from the venue. Meanwhile, he also mentioned that they had to cope with delayed flights and long hours spent at airports.

"So unfair for us, we have to leave every day (after the match) because we are playing at four different venues. It's unfair. The flight we took from Florida, from Miami, we had to wait like eight hours in the airport to get the flight. And we came around. We were supposed to leave at 8pm but we got the flight at 5am. It's really unfair for us, but it doesn't matter when you play (on the field)," said Theekshana after Sri Lanka's loss to South Africa in their opening fixture.

Sri Lanka is the only second team after the Netherlands who have to lay their four group stage matches at four different venues. After their opener against South Africa in New York, the Asian side will travel to Dallas for their second match on June 8 (IST) against Bangladesh.

Their third group D stage match against Nepal is scheduled to take place in Florida on June 12, followed by a match against the Netherlands on June 17 in St. Lucia.

"I can't say the names of the teams that have got the opportunity to stay in the same place but their hotel is only 14 minutes to the ground. Ours was like one hour and 40 minutes," he added, before admitting that Sri Lanka cancelled one of their training sessions because of fatigue from travel and the distance they had to cover to practice.

"Because even from the hotel, it's one hour and 40 minutes. Even today (match day), we had to wake up around 5am to come here. All four games in four venues. It's hard. We didn't know (anything about the conditions here). This was our first game in New York. Next game in Dallas, we don't know [anything about the conditions there]. The next game is in Florida where we played two games, that's the only plus point we have," Theekshana added.

However, Sri Lanka's opponent in the opener - South Africa are playing their next two games in New York before heading to St. Vincent for their last group stage encounter.

India, who begin their campaign against Ireland on June 5, will also play three matches at the same venue -- Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, New York -- before travelling to Florida for their last group stage game.

"I can't say the(names of the) teams that are playing in the same venue, so they know what the conditions are like. They're playing practice games at the same venue. No one will get that. We played the practice games in Florida, and our third game's in Florida," said the Sri Lanka spinner.

Theekshana further revealed how the Sri Lankan team has had to wake up early, pack up quickly and leave after they've just played a match.

"There's some things that I think that everyone will rethink about next year because I know that this year, nothing will change. Our management is trying to fix today's flight also because we are playing, we have to pack everything and [leave]. We woke up around 5.30 to come here, and (it plays on the mind, what) if we miss something here (while packing in a hurry)," he concluded.

But Lanka reacting about their schedule after losing badly to South Africa in their opening match did evoke a mixed response among fans. While some criticised the tough schedule, others pointed out why did not the Lankans react about their tough schedule before. The timing of the reaction was bit strange, they felt. (With IANS support)

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