In the past unavoidable circumstances such as political unrest, inclement weather, under-prepared wickets have forced authorities to shift games elsewhere. But the second Test between Sri Lanka and England could be shifted from Pallekele to Colombo for one of the strangest reasons – lack of rooms in Kandy.
The second Test is scheduled from the 14th to 18th of November at Pallekele, but now SLC is seriously contemplating to move the game to RPS in Colombo after the Tour Organizing Committee of the governing body failed to secure around 80 rooms in Kandy.
Generally when cricket contests take place in Kandy both teams and match officials stay at a five star hotel – a stone’s throw from the Pallekele International Stadium. The Tour Organizing Committee had taken for granted that the hotel would reserve their quota of rooms for the second Test. However, when the request was made to reserve the rooms, SLC officials were in for a rude shock when they were informed that there was no vacancy at the hotel with all rooms been sold out for premium prices.
The hotel authorities had sensed a kill with the high demand for rooms as Kandy has just a couple of five star hotels. Companies that were selling tour packages for visiting supporters had bought rooms in advance in the bulk for England’s first Test match in the hill capital in more than a decade.
Sources told The Island that the hotel had sold room at exorbitant prices for fans. At one point rooms were even sold at 300 Sterling Pounds a night (Rs. 67,000 approximately) although the normal rate at the said hotel is US$ 140 (Rs. 24,000 approximately).
Observers were wondering weather the Kandy hotel had killed the goose that lays golden eggs.
With not even four star accommodation available in Kandy due to the high demand by fans, SLC had looked at the possibility of accommodating the teams in Matale. However, the England team management had ruled out the possibility due to the one and half hour drive from the ground to Matale.
With all options exhausted, SLC has now been left with Hosbon’s choice. The only option left is shifting the game to Colombo.
“We are trying to see whether we could speak to travel agents and release some rooms, but 80 rooms is too much you see. At this moment we are looking strongly at moving the game to Colombo,” an official from SLC told The Island.
The Sri Lankan team would love the prospect of playing in Colombo as back to back games in the scorching heat of Galle and Colombo will be a killer for the tourists.
It will be however, a massive hit for tourism in Kandy with several no shows and cancellations.